A Poloroid photograph sits in a box, wrapped in crinkled tissue.
The picture is of a young, vibrant couple in their twenties, on a warm summer day, exchanging vows of marriage. They’re standing on a deck overlooking a lake, surrounded by pine trees. Her gown gently moved, here frozen, in the cooling breeze. A once-priest, their first communal father, joins their hands. A man sits nearby, Uilleann pipes at the ready to sing celebrations. It is an image of promise.
The picture is also the culmination of a decade-long relationship that began as two childhood friends became more, growing into young adulthood together. Discovering and overcoming the trials and tribulations of their 20’s as partners. Though young, they are seasoned old souls, and this event was simply a long-earned step in their intended course, towards their true North.
The picture is untainted by the nightmare that followed shortly after it was captured. It is unreflective of the lifetime of chaos for one after the other was abruptly taken from those who continue to carry love for her.
The snapshot hides – protected from dust, prying selfish eyes and little curious fingers – as a reminder to him of what was. A reinforcement that the moment captured then was real, tangible, that the vows they exchanged were said out loud before the universe as witness. Proof validating that they were here together, grew together. Evidence that there was something, someone, so beautiful and saturated with hope for their tomorrows to come. Incontrovertible truth that these two existed, individually and as a dynamic inseparable pair.
This hidden picture is the definitive answer that their love was something – everything – frozen perfectly in one moment. Not the whisper of dreams that have echoed down an empty corridor as it has seemed to him for over 7,600 days since.
It is for those days that the pipes did sing. Their song was mighty.