Picture Perfect 104
Dan flipped through the rest of the album. He tried to make sense of the the collection.
“Mr. Dingwall, was this all from the same estate sale?” He asked.
“I … You know I don’t know. I just figured it was. Why?”
“The photos come from such different times I think it …”
“Was a job lot! Yes that could be right. The auction house just stuffed a bunch of random left-over photos inot the box & sold it as is. So I guess some of them don’t have provenance.”
“I’ll give you, say, a hundred for the lot.”
“I was going to donate them to the Society.”
“There must be something of value in there.”
“Okay.” Dan thought of what cash he had in his wallet. “Two hundred. Cash.”
“Sure! It’s a deal.”
Dan handed him the cash.
“Find something?” Stan walked over to him & glanced in the box.
“Uh … yeah …. some of my Dad’s work to add to our archives.”
“Cool.” Stan hefted the box. “Some weight to it. I’ll carry it back to the hotel for you.” He flexed his biceps.
“Thanks but I’ll a cab.” Dan grabbed his umbrella & followed him to the street.
“I’m just offering to help. Not coming on to you.” Stan said.
The rain had stopped.
Dan took a deep breath. “I love the smell after the rain.” Dan said as they walked to the to the hotel.
“Yeah. You know when we first met I figured you were like all those Toronto hot-to-trotters.”
“I suppose it is a bit isolated living here. There can’t be much if a gay scene.”
“There is one but, you know, small pond.”
They were on the street in front of La Promenade. Stan put the box on an end table in the lobby.
“Thanks. I’m not sure if I’ll be back this way again.” Dan said. “If I am I’ll give you a call.” He shook Stan’s hand.
“I’d like that.” Stan squeezed back. “I can take this up to your room if you’d like.”
“Thanks but I can manage the rest of the way. Thanks again.”
Once he was sure Stan was gone Dan went to the reception desk to get access to their office-away-from-home suite. He was grateful to see that it had some packaging supplies.He took all the looses photos & albums out of the box & repackaged them. Taking photos of the young women on the dock. Securely wrapped he went back to the reception desk to see how quickly he could have it couriered to Toronto. He laughed when he heard it would go out on the early plane in the morning. He’d forgotten this wasn’t Toronto where a courier would be at the his store within minutes to whisk things away.
In his room he fell asleep studying the picture of the young women on the dock.
In the morning started to packed his few things. There was just enough room in his carry on for the three cigar boxes he’d found in the bedroom closet of his old house. He wrapped undies around the marbles so they wouldn’t rattle during the flight.
None of his emails or texts required more than confirmations of his departure & arrival. Peter would meet him at the airport. He checked the time difference & made a video call to Peter.
“Hello stranger!” Peter answered.
“Not catching you at a bad time. Too early I mean?”
“I leave here in ten minutes. I don’t need pants on to go to work. Do I, sir?” He stepped back to give Dan a view of him in undies.
“I’ve been thinking.” Dan said. “Give notice at your apartment.”
“We can start moving you in during the week.”
“You mean that! Sir!”
“Yes. The worse than can happen is that it won’t …”
“Sir! It will be okay.”
“Right. My plane lands at five.” Dan sighed. “I have a stop over in Halifax for about an hour.”
“There is a direct flight, isn’t there.”
“It left at 5 a.m. That isn’t for me. Not after the week I’ve had.”
“You can tell me all about it tonight. I can’t get over how much I missed you, sir.”
“Same here. Now get your pants on.” He ended the connection.
Dan took the cookie tin out of his suitcase. Maybe delving in his past would dissipate the departure restlessness.
He set up the Lifend to record the contents as he looked through it. The tin was a dull brass colour embossed with a Christmas wreath on the top and four smaller ones on each of the sides.
“This tin was bight and shiny when my mother brought it home. There were three of them of different sizes. I was sure it was made of gold. But it isn’t. It didn’t take long for it to lose its shine. She never knew what became of this one. It just vanished one day.
“On the inside lid I used to have a piece of paper taped that said ‘My Retirement Fund’ because Dad was always saying if you save that toy or that comic book, you can retire on it when you get to be sixty. I was going to use this tin for my precious stuff.”
He took out the top envelope.
“This is as close as I came to that. Here we have some money given to me for various birthdays. It was supposed to be my college fund. A silver dollar for every year since I was born. This continued until I was twenty-one. Of course these are the ones I received while I was still living on the east coast.”
He spread them out for the camera. “Oh! Here are a couple of real silver ones. They must have been Linda’s, I remember now I wanted some real silver to go with my solid gold box. I wonder if she ever missed them.” He didn’t recall her accusing him of that in their many fights. “No, wait, she sold them to me! I had to give her some of my birthday twenties for them. I only wanted those silver ones. A quick check online tells me she got the better of me.”
He held up old report cards, class pictures, an article about his school hockey team winning something.
“The picture quality isn’t that good. It’s not one of my Dad’s. Did I have a crush on one of the guys on the teams.” He read the names aloud & stopped at one. “Cyril Mullins! Oh fuck I remember Cyril. I had asked then begged my Dad to take him along with us one summer. It never happened. What ever became of him?”
There was knock at his door.