I look at the pictures above, a 70’s colour scheme oranged with age. There I am in the garden of my family home standing with my brother in our dressing gowns and our haul. Early I bet, eager to pull Santa’s presents from our pantyhose stockings. A tradition from my grandmother and still used today with my own children. And there I am again, an earlier photo next to the Christmas tree, holding a nib ink pen from Santa, tie dyed balloons, a pottle of violet ink. Cropped out of sight is my uncle holding my unraveled skipping rope, and my aunt and Nana with exhausted complexions. I think I was disappointed with my ink set.
I have another photo of my father and grandfather, but I don’t want to show it and connect their memory to my shame. There is Poppa with a dual of drinks, a glass of whiskey and a glass of beer and a packet of cigarettes. I remember he used to ‘roll his own’, so I put a magnifying glass up to the picture so as not to be mistaken. Does he actually have a glass of coke with ice? Why am I so concerned about this? Next to him, Dad sits, smiling, his hand on his near empty glass of beer.
I reflect back on that young girl in the Christmas settings and think of who she is today. Sitting here now, a few days since Christmas has passed, and writing my way out of a hole.