There were two pictures of her that he kept inside the frame of his bedroom mirror. This was an affectation that you’d expect to see in a college student’s dorm room, but he’d gotten beyond caring about the way others would perceive such things. The two pictures were important to him, and it was the contrast that they brought that made them important.
In the top picture, she was eighteen. He hadn’t taken the picture, but the gift of it was significant, as it was a moment taken from time and presented to him without having asked for it. It said to him that even though she hadn’t known him at that age, she wished that she had. In the picture, she was wearing a light grey tanktop, and was making a face at the camera. Her eyes were the most important part of it, though. They were still bright and didn’t have the measured distrust and skepticism that they now had. In many ways, he could see that she was still quite immature, because of that lack of distrust and the eager openness that she displayed in the picture. She was still young, inexperienced and totally open to the world.
The second picture was one that he had taken himself, when they went to the lake last fall. She was wearing a white knit cap that showed off her stylishly messy hair, and his green jacket, because she had forgot hers in the car. She was sat on a large rock at the edge of the lake and had been looking out over it in thought when he asked to take her picture. She had her head cocked slightly to the left, with a crooked smile playing across her rosy lips, but again it was the eyes that were significant. They were more measured, and had experience behind them. They were still open and obviously filled with trust, but there was a little irony behind the way that she looked at him; measured expectations, something that said, “You may not be the one, but if you are, that suits me just fine.”
Looking at these pictures every day gave him a more full view of the woman that he was happy to know and fortunate to live with. He’d never know the complete person, the sum total of everything that there was about her, but in the contrast between the two very different pictures, he was able to see at least a shadow of that complete person.