Pictures

 

After work last night, Diana attended a visitation for a colleague’s husband, who, by all accounts, was a wonderful person and taken far too early. When she got home, she seemed subdued.

“You okay?”
“Yes. It was kind of sad and happy at the same time.”
“How so?”
“Well, during the visitation they ran a montage of pictures of them on a screen. They were smiling and just looked so happy together. You can tell they really loved each other.”
“Yeah.”
“And I got to thinking…”
(Oh, crap.)
“…You don’t ever smile in our pictures.”
“Sometimes I do.”
“Rarely… and only after I nag you to do it. And even then, it’s only a half-smile. And now I’m worried that I’ll be standing there at your visitation, with all these frowny pictures of you scrolling on a screen in the background, and everyone will think you were miserable with me.”

Over the years, I have learned that normally when Diana unburdens herself or brings some problem to my attention, she is not necessarily looking for a solution from me. Mostly because she is smarter than me and doesn’t need my help. No, usually, she just wants to sound the problem out. My job is to nod and reassure her, but not try to fix whatever is wrong (because then I get irritated when she doesn’t take my perfectly good advice). But her eyes were getting all teary, and I could tell, in this one instance, she was looking for a solution.

“Diana, I promise that will never, ever happen to you.”

She looked up and began to grin.

“Because you’re going to start smiling in our pictures?”
“No, because I plan on outliving you by at least three years.”

Well, that made her cry and laugh at the same time, which I suppose is better than just crying.

“Do you promise?”
“I promise.”
“Wait a second…”
(Oh, crap).
“… If it’s my visitation and people don’t see your smile in our pictures, how will they know we were in love and happy together?”
“Because they’ll see your smile in the pictures… and they’ll know.”

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