When Evelyn returned, Dorothy was looking at the pictures on the wall. She recognized herself in one of them, but she had no idea who the other people were. She studied the photograph, willing a memory to pop back to no avail.
“Here,” Evelyn said. “I found these for you.”
Dorothy walked over to her, not sure what to expect. “Thank you,” she said, when she realized that they were photo albums and scrapbooks. It looked like many hours of devotion and love were poured into these art projects.
“And this,” Evelyn said, handing to Dorothy a small metal box that at one time could have been an old-school lunchbox.
She paused. “You’ll see.”
Evelyn started walking away, and Dorothy stopped her. “You’re not going to stay?”
“I think it’ll be better if you look at these yourself. Let me know what you think of them.”
Dorothy watched as Evelyn walked away and set the metal box aside, and she opened the scrapbook first. Bursts of colors and embellishments jumped out at her, and she was taken aback by how many pictures and captions there were. She flipped the pages, knowing that she was in the pictures but not feeling the connection with them. She scanned the captions: Dorothy, four years old; Dorothy, six years old; Dorothy, ten years old. There were pages and pages of pictures just like this. By time Dorothy finished going through all the photo albums and scrapbooks, she wondered if her parents had any baby pictures of her. Not that she would necessarily recognize herself, but she was curious.
She caught sight of the metal box, glinting from the light of the fireplace, and she reached to open it. In it were tiny figurines: ballet dancers, figure ice skaters; and jewelry. On the bottom was a sepia photograph, and the caption on the back said Evelyn Jones, 1961, Virginia.
Dorothy studied the photograph and stood up to go to a mirror. She looked between the photograph and her reflection, trying to find all the commonalities between them. Dorothy couldn’t find any and decided that she must resemble her father more than her mother.
She went back and put everything back where it belonged and set the albums carefully on the living room coffee table. She stood up, smoothing her jeans, and walked up the staircase to her room, where she flopped on the bed and began to cry silent tears of longing.