Words Worth A Thousand Pictures

Crushing the Cliche That A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Archive for the category “Relationships”


Childhood sweethearts, they had married in the spring of 1927. He looked deeply into her eyes and was happy.

On the train coming home from their honeymoon, a man with desperate eyes shoved a gun into their faces and demanded money. Without thinking, he pushed the gun aside and tackled the man, then pummeled him until the police arrived.

She told him he was a brave man.

After university he secured an excellent job as a factory manager. She bore him two children within three years.

They were content. He came home every evening to an immaculate home and was greeted by a warm smile and embrace.

By 1934, neighbors started looking at her differently. He overheard snippets of guiltily whispered conversations: “…black hair…nose…star…”

By 1936, she wondered why he no longer looked her in the eyes when they made love and why he resisted family outings.

In 1940 a friend in the Gestapo secretly handed him a note at a party. Hands shaking, he opened it in the bathroom. It read: “They know.”

When they got home that night, he told her to take the children to the park in the morning.

He kissed them goodbye that morning, then watched them leave through the window. As soon as they were out of site, he rushed to his bedroom to pack.

After finishing, he scoured the house for every document he could find that connected them. As he was feeding them into the fire, his eyes fell on her old diaries, from which their love letters protruded.

He lay down and began reading them. Lazy summer afternoons at the lake. Whispered promises under the stars. Nervous caresses. Shared dreams. First kiss and first realizations. Naive, heartfelt, authentic.

With a sigh, he dropped the last one into the flames, then went into the bathroom to wash his hands. He didn’t look up into the mirror.

He grabbed his bag and newly-prepared documents, took one last look behind him from the front door, taped the yellow star onto the door, and disappeared.



That was the happiest day of my life.

After making sure I was okay, my father surveyed the damage quietly. I shrunk inside my shaking boots, feeling more broken than the car looked. I started wondering about the dimensions of solitary cells and imagining how my beard would look after 20 years of isolation.

Then, he put his arm around my shoulder, looked deeply into my eyes and said softly, “Son, nothing you could do would ever make me love you less.”


I’ve fondled that picture so often through the years it’s curled and faded. It sits in my hand, a cold, stiff, lifeless tomb that cradles my memories.

But still my memories of her are warm, vibrant, euphoric. They leap from the paper and dance in my heart.

Color burns through the gray, revealing giggles and sighs. Smells of vanilla and fresh-cut hay waft through the creases. Secret glances across crowded rooms steal across the frozen image.

Remembering hands held lightly while meandering down dusty lanes helps me to forget, if only for the briefest of moments.

That was her idea, you know. A dare, really. That was her style. Walk thin lines on a whim, leave the broad and stable paths for the crowds.

I was content to follow her lead, though she depended on me to catch her when she fell — a balancing act that worked like a poet’s dream for 56 years.

But it was I who fell the day she stretched her wings, lifted from her throne, and disappeared into the clouds.

As I feel my fledgling wings form, I still follow her.

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