A friend of mine who was working at West Edmonton Mall found this photostrip in the winter of 2007 and was thoughtful enough to give it to me. This is what I see:
Mike’s first wife had paprika coloured hair and a laugh like a magpie. At 18, they wasted no time and got married a few weeks after high school graduation. They got their first apartment and a tabby who they called Maurice. They had only been married 14 months when Mike’s wife was struck by a car on her way home from grocery shopping. Mike spent the following years in self-inflicted solitude, haunted by the image of his young wife flat on the pavement, decorated by scattered produce. However, when his fortieth birthday came he recalibrated his approach to life and was determined to find a new life partner.
Sandy’s first husband had terracotta coloured skin and the temper of a boiling pot. Sandy was convinced that the rocky early years of their relationship could be remedied by bringing some beautiful babies into the world. When their children were 5 and 3 it had come to Sandy’s attention that her husband had been unfaithful to her and being too afraid to confront him directly she fled in the night with the children to her mother’s in the country. The divorce was simple and she dedicated the next fifteen years of her life to raising those beautiful babies.
Mike and Sandy’s eyes first locked at a speed dating night held at a local bar. They both enjoyed playing cribbage, fishing, and watching stand-up comedy. Sandy appreciated his sensitive side and Mike felt a new sense of importance as a role model to her children.
They had been dating steadily for three months and like most Friday nights they were headed to The Comic Strip in West Edmonton Mall when they spotted the black and white photobooth. Neither of them had used one in years, they felt like clumsy teenagers as they negotiated how to seat two people in a space built for one, giggling all the while. When the photos were all taken Sandy turned to Mike and pecked him on the lips.
Unbeknownst to Sandy, the photos fell out of her purse when she opened it to retrieve a tissue and minutes later caught the eye of a young mall employee.