Past Lives


The last three seconds of the tape, without audio, became an unexpected silent film.

My father, the son of an actor who was born three years before the invention of the talkie.

My sister, the daughter of a teacher who was born three years before the opening of the magic kingdom.

Each time I watch their turn, I think more deeply that she — born three years before our father first taught at our school — must be acting out a tender past life. She can’t possibly have ever been so young and yet look so intently and talk so observantly, whatever it was she was saying, lost but to our imaginary archive.