His presence consumes me with ease, his vibration emitting an air of calm. The wise hue of his rectangular beard is emphasized by the depth of wrinkles that turn upward when he smiles or recollects old times. From his past he has developed hands dexterous and muscular with use, yet cracked with age. I love when he uses his hands to wrap me in a hug, surrounding me with peppermint. He’s addicted to Star Brite candies.
There’s an aging photo on his refrigerator, the man depicted having bright eyes and a straight smile. He’s wearing a Naval uniform. His hair is wavy, red, and short, face clean-shaven. The man he was is a contrast to the man he is today, not only in appearance.
Along with his looks, the years have shaped his personality, leaving him sensitive and afraid of conflict, though he’ll never leave when needed. From his past he carries a subconscious need to be surrounded, displayed tangibly through vast collections of nothing in particular.
He is reflected in 35mm through the camera he bought after high school—when he explored the world through the belly of a ship. Like the camera, he has the ability to separate beauty from distraction and focus on what he wants to see.
Grandpa is the epitome of kindness, his many layers revealing complexities that go unnoticed. But when I go through his Kodachrome slides kept in the upstairs closet, I see them, even if he doesn’t want me to.