If you miss the train I'm on
You will know that I am gone
You can hear the whistle blow 100 miles
--Peter, Paul & Mary, 500 Miles
The daughter set the rest of the box of photos down.
"Mom? Who's this a picture of?"
The grayed woman reached with angular, hardened hands. "Let's see."
"It's just a guy by himself. Under a tree. Here."
The photo met fingertips.
No expression flickered on the woman's face. Her eyes didn't blink. Everything in the room suddenly felt heavy to the daughter. Nailed into place.
"Who is he?"
"Someone I used to know," the woman said.
"There's something different about him. I can't quite see his eyes in the shadows. Where was this taken?"
"I don't really remember. By a house, I think."
"What was his name?"
The woman stared at the photo.
"Do you remember it?"
"He was a boyfriend, wasn't he!"
"Oh my God, this is juicy. Before you met dad? Did he know?"
The woman turned the photo down in her lap. "No, there's no story to tell."
"Hey, are those pictures of you and your sister back in Minnesota?"
"You're not changing the subject!"
The woman's eyes dropped down to the folded hands in her lap.
Finally, her expression did change. Reflected light sparkled under her eyelashes.
The daughter's excitement evaporated. "Hey, you've got to see these." She grabbed back the box with a little too much eagerness. "Look, do you remember this one? I insisted on wearing my ballerina costume into the pool. You were ready to kill me that day."
The daughter managed to slip the other photo out of her mother's hands.
"I remember," the woman said, sounding far away.