That was the night of the “Great Photo Massacre”. With the girls well asleep, I sat in the middle of my king-sized bed, surrounded by photo albums, and with the dexterous hands of a surgeon, armed with my steel bladed scissors I began the surgical removal of Mort.
I did make the decision not to violate the girls visual memories of him, choosing not to destroy the photos of him from when they were born. I thought that was crossing the line and might be something that would come back to bite me later. The way things were going these photos would be the only memory that they had of him and they could make their own decisions to keep or destroy when they got older. (*)
Anything pre-children however, that was my space, my relationship and my visual reminders.
Michelle called me in the middle of the operation and when I told her that I was chopping up old photos she said, “oh my god don’t do that, you looked fabulous.” I quickly reassured her, “Oh, don’t worry, I’m not cutting the whole photo up, I’m just chopping him out.”
At the end of the three-hour frenzy there lay one pile with hundreds of photos with neat little holes in them, in another pile were the amputated pieces of Mort. I swept up the body parts and put them in a plastic bag with the remnants of the kitty litter box. Tying up the bag the last thing I saw was hundreds of his severed little faces looking up while sitting on top of nuggets of cat shit. It was a true Kodak moment.
(*) I converted some VHS to DVD’s of when the girls were young. Watching the footage you can see in the early stages of the montage how Mort was holding the camera, but then over the years he just became a pair of pyjama pants that wandered through the background every now and then. He had amputated himself from his life.