Write your photo memories down
When photos are lost but journal memories stick around
Writer’s note: This post was originally published on Medium’s “We Need to Talk” on February 21, 2020.
I was looking for a date. Not that kind of date. I was looking for a calendar date of the last time I sat on the porch with a childhood friend. He was murdered while I was in college, and he crossed my mind.
I wondered about my last time hanging out with him. I found the entry and laughed aloud at all of our banter while sitting on my front porch. We’d been doing this since we were six years old as neighbors, then friends, then frienemies and then friends again.
I only have two photographs of him even after 14 years of us knowing each other. You would think I would’ve snapped more photographs, especially considering the countless times we also sat in adjoining bedroom windows and talked about a bunch of nothing.
When he passed away while I was at an out-of-state school, his grandfather knocked on my parents’ door to return the one photograph he had of me. He’d asked for it before I left Chicago.
I looked at the photograph of myself, read what was on the back and shoved it into a letterbox. And then I opened my journal and looked for that date, the date when I gave him the photograph.
For me, the journal entry detailing how he asked me for the picture meant far more to me — although the only photograph I have of him has been framed in my living room through two apartments and two condos. Where I move, he moves with me.