Friday, January 4, 2008

Photo Album

I don’t remember the time or place. I went to a party at a couple’s house. I had never met the couple before. I went with a friend who was friends with one of their friends. I was hanging out in the living room, knocking back the free beer, when I noticed a photo album sitting on the coffee table.

“You can look at it if you want to,” the wife said.

She was sitting across from me on the couch. She was obviously very proud of the photo album and was waiting for me to look inside. I wasn’t interested in what was in the album. I was curious why the couple had left it out on the coffee table where anybody could spill their beer on it.

I didn’t want to be rude to my host, so I opened the photo album, expecting to see badly composed snapshots of elderly grandparents and babies with food smeared on their pudgy faces. Instead, there was page after page of naked women. Each page was a collage of photos had been cut out of men’s magazines. The photo album was like a shrine to the female form as envisioned by a horny teenage boy.

“I made it for my husband,” the wife said.

“Very nice,” I said. “Birthday gift?”

“No,” she said, “He was in jail. I made him this photo album to help him survive. Doing time can make a man feel so lost. I wanted him to have a daily reminder of what was waiting for him on the outside. I didn’t want him to give up hope.”

I looked at the naked women with new eyes. The wife beamed at me as I flipped through the pages. Her photo album was one of the purest expressions of love I had ever seen. She had ever reason to be proud.

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