I have a picture of my mother that my grandmother doesn’t know about.
I found it in her closet one day while she was taking a nap. I was trying to be stealthy so that my grandmother, who lay sleeping on her bed a few feet from where I stood, wouldn’t wake up and see me. I inched open the closet door, wincing when it creaked noisily. My grandmother shifted once in her sleep but then resumed snoring. I exhaled and realized I’d been painfully holding my breath.
It was strange, my sudden compulsion to pry in my grandmother’s closet. I normally didn’t do such things. I wasn’t overtly curious by nature, not even by the fact that I had no mother or father, just an old grandmother with papery skin but a will made of granite. She would certainly beat me if she found me doing this. But I continued anyways, opening the closet door fully and entering the small space.
I found many colorful kimonos wrapped in paper. Unwrapping one kimono that was bright like a marigold, I discovered a photograph hidden in its folds.