SHE DOESN'T exactly pose—just stands still while he rasps her cheek with his mustache and tobacco breath. She turns away, laughing at how he planned it. How he knows the camera will catch his good side where the wrinkles at his eye form a tiny star and the ugly mole on his opposite temple is hidden in her hair, white for decades now, while his still gleams black.
There is the click of the camera and their granddaughter urges, “One more.”
This time they face the camera, and she knows the sun will dance on her thick lenses and make her eyes invisible. His arm is around her shoulder, like the famous painting of the grim farmer and his wife. Except that they are smiling for their granddaughter who is taking a photography class in college and making a family album that begins with them—a romantic story of immigrant love and survival.
Their granddaughter kisses them, hugs her camera like a baby, promises them a copy of the photo.
He goes back inside, the broken screen door bouncing shut. She takes the clippers from her apron and bends to snip some chamomile for the tea, decides to take a few half-unfurled roses as well. She carries the flowers all jumbled together in the checkered squares of her apron.
Later when she brings the tea to her husband, he doesn’t lift his eyes from the TV. She watches as he takes a sip. She pretends concern when he looks up, wounded, a thorn stuck in his lip.
Donna Miscolta is the author of the novel When the de la Cruz Family Danced (Signal 8 Press). Her stories appear most recently in Bluestem, Hawaii Pacific Review, Waxwing, and Lascaux Review, which awarded her the 2013 Lascaux Prize for Short Fiction. She is the recipient of a 2014 Artist Trust Fellowship as well as a grant from 4Culture. She blogs monthly at www.donnamiscolta.com.