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Grandpa said he regretted taking photographs of his children with a Polaroid because now they were warping, fading. There was a photograph that he referenced every time we brought up pictures—his father on a bridge in Minnesota, I think, dressed in his military uniform on his way to the first world war. He always spoke about how sharp it was. He asked about the film in every camera I brought, perhaps wondering if it could make them as permanent as that photograph of his father. I think we both were.
I was fixated on his death long before it happened and felt guilty. It seems almost fitting now that I have these photos of his dead body and feel guiltier. I justify the images to myself every time I look at them, anytime anyone else does: Gran asked me to take them.
Those photos are hidden in sad attempts to bring a house back in time, to recreate a childhood with someone else’s children. Something to distract from the age—mine, the house’s, its owners, maybe all of it.
Gran still hasn’t seen the photos.