• Mathura Hawley

reel

Updated: Aug 2, 2021


As we played the very last reel, the camera panned across the water as a beautiful woman in a white one piece bathing suit water-ski'd toward the shore, let go of the rope, and coasted gracefully onto the sand, throwing her hands up and smiling at the camera. It was my mother..."

A friend of my parents came to see my mother when she was in bed, sick with cancer, and unable to walk anymore, tumors on her hip bone and in her brain. They had left some old 8mm black and white rolls of movie film, taken in the early 1950's, in a big disorganized box along with a dusty old projector which we weren't even sure would work. I set it up, guessing how to spool the film, and we wondered if my parents would show up in any of the many piles of reels we were about to see. We watched a few of them, and she would occasionally recognize someone she knew back in the carefree time of her first few childless years of marriage, when there were so many spontaneous drives, weekend camping and boating trips in the Fingerlakes. I said I loved the old cars and fashion, and she laughed seeing the young faces of friends who had long since died or moved away. Reel by reel we watched, as she narrated the forgotten memories. As we played the very last reel, the camera panned across the water as a beautiful woman in a white one piece bathing suit water-ski'd toward the shore, let go of the rope, and coasted gracefully onto the sand, throwing her hands up and smiling at the camera. It was my mother, and I turned back to the bed to see a tear run down her cheek, as she took a last look at her real self, preparing to let go of this life.


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