Eighteen Photographs and Ten Minutes

A few days ago I received a package from Moica. She had sent, from San Francisco, mind you, a framed photograph taken earlier this year at graduation. From the look of it, you might guess without logical reproach that there’s a good chance Danny and I are still drunk. The night before has, as luck would have it, his twenty-first. The celebration’s motto: “a small horse,” which is short for “we are going to buy a pony and order it beer. Danny will have to match the pony drink for drink until it dies.” We didn’t have enough money for a pony, forcing us to estimate. We may’ve overestimated. During the champagne breakfast before morning ceremonies, Susannah, both co-masters Ann and Howard Georgi, and several other graduates-to-be asked us if we could use some help standing. Somehow Anna Franekova was the only other drunk before the champagne. Throughout the day, the Georgis, Catherine Shapiro, our senior tutor, and our fellowships tutor Judy Murciano each checked on us twice. Danny almost didn’t make it through the line of congratulatory and mandatory handshakes from the House tutor staff immediately after receiving his diploma from Howard who likes to be called and will from hereafter referred to as Chief.

The photo in question was taken several minutes after all the diplomas had been given out but before I had started on my box lunch. If I’m not mistaken, my dad took the picture with Monica’s camera. This makes sense since she is in the direct center of the frame; Danny is to her left in cap and gown; I am to her right in lay clothing, cap in hand, and ostensibly buzzed.

I thought a while about where to put the picture. It was already framed. However, I already had seventeen — perhaps eighteen — other photographs on display in my room, and none of them featured people. One of them shows two geese in the Charles. Most of them are landscapes from Scotland or England or Boston or Harvard. In fact, all of them are. I don’t tend to go anywhere else if possible. Where and why would I?

Anyway, now I have up two Perezes and one Reyes. Because of atypical nature of its subject, Moica’s picture immediately demands prominence upon entering my room. Tracy noticed it the first day. I preemptively spoke. “I know, it’s the only one with people and it’s hard to tell our relationship.” She was glad.

“I was thinking that, but I didn’t want to say anything,” Tracy replied. Ian didn’t mentioned anything about the picture the other day. Instead we talked about braneworlds and he offered me Wayne, his aloe plant, in case I grew especially hungry and desperate before September 10, the date of his return. Ian had cooked and sampled his aloe plant some time ago this summer. There’s a reason friends don’t eat friends — they taste bad.

But then today (Saturday and not Sunday morning)! I received a phone call from some unrecognizable number; unrecognizable because I don’t know the area codes in Georgia, certainly not the one for Fort Benning, though I should probably learn it. Talking on the phone to strangers may or may not be more fun than moving furniture, which was the task at hand — everything must move to its proper place before Dorm Crew trashes the unoccupied rooms on Monday — laziness got the best of me, so I took a break. I’m glad I did. Danny was on the other end. Today they allowed him ten minutes of talk time. He called Monica first; me, second. I tried really hard to catch him up on everything, on Alex’s and Nina’s recent trip to Costa Rica, about Ian’s missing his flight, about going to John Harvard’s with Abby, about everything. Danny is little over seven weeks into basic with just under seven to go. Once he gets to airborne he’ll have more time off. Sometime in October he and some friends of his are going to visit Boston.

I’ll have to get my thesis done before then, because Danny has no soul, I have no will, and the bars open at 11:30 am.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *