Two days before another ending, or the end, whichever it is, you send me photos of your parents’ wedding day. The frequently black and white world of the sixties brought to life from recently rediscovered colour slides. Your mother’s face as pale as the pastel shade of dress she wore. She’s beautiful, and had I known her in her early twenties, I might have been as drawn to her as I am to you. Your father’s face has character. He’s ruggedly handsome with a square-jawed strength befitting his line of work. I play the game of making your face from a composite of theirs, and yes, I do get you – his quizzical eyebrows, her ready warmth and delicate beauty. The breadth of your smile, a doubling of theirs.
There’s one of them on horseback together, the horse being steadied by a young girl in a riding hat whose horse it may well be. I want to know lots of things; things I never got the chance to ask. Did either of your mum and dad ride, or was this staged for the wedding? Where is the ivy covered building, and is it still covered in ivy? And what became of the young girl holding the bridle – is she a relative of yours?
Looking at what you’ve sent me, I’d like to return the favour, and send you my parents on their wedding day, albeit in black and white. But I don’t have any of the photographs with me here. On her big day my mother was I suspect a shade more innocent than yours, although my father was not yet on his way to becoming considerably more devilish than the man your mother married. The tone of the photographs is not dissimilar – the regulation cut of the dresses and coats worn by the women, just below the knee, the sense of the principals coming from the same class. There are photos of another family wedding just before or after my parents’ own, and those in which my mother appears were taken moments before she managed to fall backwards into the gaping hole of a dug grave in the churchyard. Fortunately she climbed out uninjured, and Death has not yet been sufficiently interested to attempt to claim her a second time.
Thinking of those special, formal days in black and white or Kodachrome – on that day two days before another ending, or the end, whichever it is – I couldn’t help wanting us to have an informal version of a day such as that, even though there might be no guests. A day just so we could look back upon it, a day which pronounced a beginning, even though we had long since begun. We might have needed to grab a witness off the street, or we could have simply dedicated a day without there being any cementing bureaucracy involved, creating our own rituals; but either way I wanted that day, want it still, with spontaneously self-snapped photographs of us looking as happy as your mother and father and mine. Forgetting for a time at least that at the back of our minds we both hold as a caution all the mistakes our parents made, and those we have made ourselves.
Two days before another ending, or the end, whichever it is, I didn’t believe we would need to try too hard.