Hashtag Throwback Thursday. This is not a photograph of me. It is a photograph of my Aunt Laura, the youngest sister of my grandmother. My aunt who lived above my other aunt, her sister Rose. My aunt who kept a yellow canary named Dickey who when he died, bought another yellow canary and named it Dickey. It seems like nothing, this photograph. An old woman is carrying groceries and a newspaper. Seems so ordinary. Look again. This is what I have been doing on Thursday. This is what I do in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep on Monday and Tuesday. This is what I do on Saturday and Sunday. I get up quietly so as not to wake the dogs. Not to wake my wife. I put on a dim light. I read a book or try to read a book but the sentences somehow turn to memories. I pull out a shoebox of photographs and flip through them to find myself again, or to see where I went wrong, to see what happened that made me end up here. I’m not sure what I am trying to say. I think what I am trying to say is that in my youth on the east side of Buffalo, New York I was surrounded daily by what I wrongly assumed to be the ordinary. There was the butcher and there the bakery. There was the flower shop with the black mynah bird that hopped around on the counter or stood staring out the window. We jingled the bell above the door and stood fascinated before it as it said hello in greeting. A bird said hello and it pleased us until it didn’t. There was the milk machine that coughed up dimes and there was my aunt walking down the street. It occurs to me sometimes in the middle of the night how little I know about her. The non-filtered Lucky Strikes she smoked or was it Pall Mall? The yellow canary. The candy dish of kisses. With new eyes I look again at my aunt walking, the ordinary pedestrian, and I see myself. I see myself in her conspiratorial smile as she hinted at her past in the ways we all do. Relaying bits and pieces the best way we can. She was the wild one. The one who snuck out through windows to go dancing and drinking in her own youth. The one who had a married lover who I only knew as the bookie. But it is more than this too, this photograph brings back that former me. The dumb one reading books, leafing through New Yorker magazines, wanting to get out and out and out, sick of the same sidewalks. The milk machine. The way the light slanted in winter and then left altogether. I looked and listened but failed to see or hear. In the middle of the night, in dim light, I turn the photograph to let the light catch it so I can see it better. So that I can see what I missed. What I missed was the extraordinariness of the ordinary. The light tilting. The weight of the bag, and yesterday’s news in a hand I once held.