5 storytellers were given a daunting task—write a 250-word (or less) story explaining a random photograph. This is Photo Spark 1. This is story 2. This is Joe Boyd with “The Secret to 22 Years.”
Gretta Thomas sat quietly on the concrete floor staring down the second hand on a vintage Molson Beer clock that her husband, Roy, had proudly positioned next to his tool cabinet in their garage on 38 Livingston Street in Toronto.
In exactly 42 seconds it would be midnight. More importantly, it would be June 25th, 2012.
Gretta was no artist. She hadn’t painted anything since her art class at Seneca. She admired her sign with a long sigh. She had loved Roy since they met in the 10th grade. But he chose this.
Roy loved Gretta too. They’d been together a lifetime. As Roy would say, “These 22 years have been the best 15 of my life.” A not-too-subtle way of admitting that there have been tumultuous times. As he lay sleeping upstairs, Roy had no idea the tumult on the horizon.
Gretta lifted her makeshift sign as midnight struck. It had been six months. That’s more than enough time for a husband to complete the simplest of tasks.
Roy loved two things: Gretta and his boat. Gretta couldn’t bring herself to leave him. Not over something this trite. But she didn’t mind teaching him a lesson. How hard is it to take down Christmas lights? Seriously.
She leaned the sign against the pine tree. It wouldn’t stay there long. He’d move it into the garage in the morning, take down the lights and head out to the lake.
Gretta knows what she’s doing. That’s the secret to 22 years.
Photo (Flickr CC) by Brent Marshall