Photographs in Words 9 – Second-hand

At the entrance of many second-hand bookstores are old photographs in cardboard boxes. Fifty kuruş, one lira, two liras each. They find their way there tucked  inside books or sold as lots or gathered from rubbish dumps. Most are black and white, with no names or dates. They don’t look related. Even if they once were, now they are mixed up, separated. They are bought by people who are curious about and have a fondness for old times and old places. Some customers, looking at photographs of  cheerful people, dream of happiness …

Although T had always been reluctant to look at the box of old photographs, this time he did, taking out six of them.

In the first one, a smiling baby boy was sitting on a lawn, pointing with his index finger to somewhere out of shot.

There was a girl in the second photograph. On the  reverse , was written, “ My dear friend N, thank you for giving a place to my photograph in the pages of your album. I hope you will also find a place for it in the pages of your lovely heart”. There was a signature, but it wasn’t  legible.

The third photograph was taken at a wedding. The bride and groom were in the middle of the back row. In the same row and in the two rows in front of them stood kids and relatives, friends, old and young.

The fourth was a photograph of an old woman feeding a cat in the small garden of a modest, three-storey house.

The fifth photograph was of a young man wearing a tie, sitting on a rock by the sea. He was looking down as if camera-shy.

In the last photograph, we are in the corner of a small room. A man and two women are seated  around a coffee table, cheerfully raising a toast.They are in their sixties. On the table, is a plate of fruit  and two bottles. On our left,  a pot of flowers. There are three candles on the television just behind them and six pictures on the two walls Three flower paintings, one landscape, one indistinct. The sixth is a photograph of a girl resembling the woman sitting in the middle.

Just as T was about to put the photographs back into the box, separately as he had taken them, he changed his mind. He asked the assistant for an envelope, put the photographs inside and  gently placed them in the box, close to the bottom.

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