In the photograph, I’m smiling.
My hair is a frenzy of dark curls that my father had pinned two white bows in on either side, just as mother used to before she died.
I remember that day well: we went to the beach just as we always did on mother’s birthday. We liked to walk in the water, halfway up our shins, and I remember the water was ice cold. Mother used to love the beach, and I think going there made my father feel better. Like he had a piece of her he could hold onto.
In the photograph, I’m wearing navy, though you wouldn’t know it by looking. But as I said, I remember that day well, and I remember my swimming garment was navy. In fact, my sister had nearly the same one.
There’s something peculiar about the picture, though. Something to this day I don’t understand. I’m walking with my sister, just as I remember, but my mother is holding my hand.