Her grandmother stares down at the piles of mostly sepia-toned photographs for a moment. A few older color photos stick out in the sea of brown and beige, and her grandmother picks up one of these to present to her.
“Look at this one. Your uncle Calvin,” she hums, as Mira takes a moment to examine it. A man in his early-to-mid-twenties with pitch-dark slicked back hair, leaned up against a Chevy pick-up truck. The truck has reddish brown rust starting to form around the tire rims, but otherwise looks like it’s just been washed. Mira had heard the name—Calvin—before, but only in the sort of hushed half-whisper that mom’s half of her family reserved for its members that didn’t come around anymore. Mira has never seen him before, only recognizes him as a relative with her grandmother’s introduction. She wants to ask why she’s never met him, but something stops her.
“Dark hair,” she mumbles. The rest of her mother’s relatives, at least all that she’d ever met, were blond.
Her grandmother doesn’t respond, instead she continues going through the box and announcing what every image depicts. A sort of pattern starts to emerge, the shoe-box holds onto all the memories that her grandmother doesn’t want in the scrapbooks on her shelves. Calvin is far from the only estranged relative in the bunch.
As they’re nearing the end of the box, and just a few moments after her mother texts her and lets her know she’ll be back soon, Mira notices a mangled black and white photograph. Mira pulls it from the pile—the image is of her Grandmother at about her age standing next to a man. A jagged heart-shape has been cut out of the photograph where the man’s head and shoulders should be, leaving him unrecognizable.
“Who’s this?” she asks.
To be continued.