The Unilever Series: Dominique Gonzales Foerster - TH.2058


Photographs and Memories

By Alexis Herbert Townsend

I have all the photos of our days together on a photobook display. They change too quickly to run dry the well of memories they evoke, but too slowly to avoid the pain of remembering altogether.

This is us standing side by side at our graduation; me in blue and you in gold.

This is us at Michael’s wedding, dancing together just the way friends do.

These are us at protest marches: against the war in Iraq; against banning same-sex marriage (we went together, we told people we were going together, it was the most out we had ever been); against the African Blockade. This is us destroying the wall in Palestine, barely distinguishable in the crowd. Behind us your brother is cheering. He hadn’t yet told anyone that he had contracted the Red Plague.

This is us with our son the day he started school, finally, after waiting months for the quarantines to end. He was born the day the Moon Station opened. You were annoyed at having missed the live broadcast of the
ceremony, but you smiled whenever you told the story, proud to show off that he was ours.

This is the wilderness reserves with the last of the elephants and the children who asked us why we hadn’t stopped them dying.

This is you repairing our wind power generator; me cleaning the rainwater tanks. We were prepared when infrastructure collapsed, and were pleased to shelter those who weren’t.

Do you remember the parties drinking Michael’s gin and eating cousin Margaret’s home made pies?

This is us sitting in Memorial Park—after it had been the Park of the Republic, after it had been the field hospital for the victims of the bombings in 2033, after it had been Kensington Gardens. It was raining, but it was six years to the day since the Declaration of European Unity and the young couple walking their dogs were happy to take the photo for us.

It is the last photo I have you, just weeks before the cancer finally won. I am missing too many moments from the years we had. I should have taken a photo every minute of every day. How did you smile when our son sent his first postcard from the moon? How did you cry when they cured the disease that took your brother? How would you laugh at me now, maudlin over pixels blinking at me from a screen. I have the next seventy years to think about, you’d tell me.

The grandchildren are visiting tomorrow. I have baked them your favourite cake.

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