Do you believe in an afterlife?

My brother Kurt and I, after childhood years of hating each other, ended up being best friends. When we had mutual periods of unemployment, we’d play cards and drink coffee and go on photo expeditions and generally hang out. I was playing with one of my father’s lenses that was threaded to fit a camera I had just bought, and taken a picture of Kurt, and printed it DARK AND FLAT just for him, because he was always criticizing me for my printing and I had to show him, and framed it and kept it where I would see it. There’s a Pretenders song that starts out “I saw a picture of you..” and I’d think of Kurt and those months where we’d just played.

My former sister-in-law is a crafter. She made a christmas tree, out of baby food jars and felt. I went crazy over it but my ex thought it was just junky trash so I took it to Kurt’s house where I knew it would be loved and respected. This would be the same winter I made my first and only gingerbread house for Kurt, for the same reason.

I’ve been going through boxes of things that have been in storage for a long, long time – mostly books. Some were packed up when we moved from Minneapolis, so 17 years. Some from when Kurt died, 15 years. Some from when I got divorced – a mere seven years. Old stuff, that had sat in boxes, losing their connections. I’d forgotten a lot. Some things meant nothing. Some things had deteriorated enough that there was obviously no sense in hanging on to them. Some things were amazing discoveries, like a document envelope with this picture.

I’d forgotten; Kurt had taken a picture of them and sent it to me for a late christmas card. It was wonderful to find this, wonderful to remember all those good things that came with it.

So, we had the guy from the bookstore come and buy what he wanted, and we had the garage sale and people bought some books, and we packed up the books that were left and stuck them back in the garage, and took a long, long nap, and then ate dinner and went to bed. The next morning Daughter started nagging me early to go to the co-op. We’d walked in, and I’d picked up a bunch of bananas, and this song started playing.

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