Amid the named and captioned figures in the photo album, the blurred face of a girl gazes out at me. The face is distinctive and strangely familiar, and yet my memory draws a blank. The angles of her forehead, the shape of her black hair, the way her eyes taper at the outside edges — these all describe somebody unique, a girl who must have been part of the family constellation, but she can’t tell us who she is. Even so, her image appears, subsides, and resurfaces as I paint, and I gradually begin to recognize her.
I came across a photograph of a girl who existed before I was born. She is standing on the pedals of an adult’s bicycle, wheels stationary. One day she will be tall enough to balance and operate the bike. Then she will spin her wheels and travel the world.