The first image streaming across my Facebook page is one I remember from family photo albums. My father stands at the nurse’s station at the Veteran Administration Hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, making chicken scratch notes to a patient’s chart. A light glare interrupts the photo once more, yet the man in the photograph is unmistakably my father.
After all these years, why has history come calling? Who is the person making contact with me? How is a photograph I remember from my childhood in someone else’s possession halfway around the world?
I stare at the image, unable to pull my eyes away. Scrolling backward, I locate the haunting message.
“I write in the name of your cousin Yaroslava from Ukraine, your father, serhij niece.”
Still pondering the mysterious message, another photo filtered across my screen. My mother and I at Christmas in our tiny apartment at the Veterans Administration campus. The green shag carpet I once ran my toes through in summer, the line of Barbie dolls on the shelf of an end table, the squat artificial Christmas tree of all the years of my childhood, my mother.
I bite my lip, drawing a pinprick of blood, and reach for my cup of cold tea. Stunned, yes, but more curious than nervous, I wait for the next chapter of my history to materialize.
Absently, I click on an unrelated website link scanning the news headlines. For some reason staring at the stranger’s photographic evidence of my own life makes me feel like a voyeur.
Stones now turned, souls definitely not at rest.