by Bob Jacobs
One day after school, when I was six years old, my mother sat me on the sofa and told me, while staring at her fingernails, that my father had been killed that morning while driving to work. Within weeks his clothes and tools and books had all gone from the house, every reminder except for a photograph of him smiling, which my mother kept by her bedside for the next thirty years. The photo was the window through which I remembered him from that day on as he was erased from conversation and memory, cleansed from the world except for that single black and white smile in a cardboard frame. I resented my mother's silence, her refusal to discuss the man I never grew to know, a resentment that gnawed at me until her dying breath when she took all her knowledge of him with her. More than a year passed before I lifted the photo from the frame and discovered the envelope on which was written my mother's name in my father's hand, and inside the brief note that exposed every one of her lies. And with them her love for me.
Bob Jacobs, whose full catalog is here, lives in the south-east of England with his wife and kids and Sony Vaio. In his spare time he likes to lie motionless on his back, whistling and staring at clouds.