I looked at the photograph, using all my senses to absorb it into my memory. The corners of it were worn thin and soft from the touches of greedy hands over the years, the image within its boundaries grainy and dulled by age. I pursed my lips and gently blew the filmy layer of dust off of it, revealing the image underneath. I ran my thumb over it, a part of me hoping that I could, somehow, touch her through the picture. I yearned to feel the softness of her skin again, run my hand through her hair, feel the warmth of her breath against me. The sepia colored girl stared blankly back at me, her beautiful, youthful face fixed forever in a broad smile.Her hair was eternally set in soft, delicate curls, in the style of that bygone era, and a darker shade of brown imitated the gentle, healthy flush of her cheeks. I turned the picture over; on the other side the words “June 23, 1949” were delicately written in faded blue ink. I turned the photograph back over and took one last look at the striking young woman in it. Slowly, tenderly, I laid the photograph down. It stood out against the bosom of the black dress. A hand was laid on my shoulder, and I turned around. A young man gave me a long, steady look, his eyes glistening with suppressed tears. He gave me a weak smile and patted my shoulder.
“It’s time, grandpa, ” he choked out. I nodded and looked back down. I kissed my hand and laid it on the woman’s cheek.
“I love you, Margaret, ” I whispered, “I’ll see you soon.”
And with that I left, knowing what I had said was true.