By the time I was old enough to notice anything beyond whether my parents loved me,
the library ruled the longest wall of our small apartment.
My father had drawn it originally on a napkin, rows of shelves of different heights and the huge door framing the oil painting he finished the year before my brother was born, from a still frame from the movie Hiroshima Mon Amour.
On the canvas the man’s hand cupped the woman’s face.
He looked at her but she looked away. Her grief glowed.
Long before he ever thought appropriate to tell me of the tragedies of Hiroshima and being in love, the man and the woman on the painting became part of my life.
It took years to realize that the day they dropped the bomb the world defrauded itself, that couple, and my father, whose silence grew larger than an atomic cloud.
Every time we moved from one small apartment to another the couple came with us.
Now I regret I lost track of what happened to the painting after my parents died, so much still to learn about all four of them.
When I walk into a small room even today, I wonder if she still looks away the way she used to and cup my hand.