Grand-père Jacques

“Who is that man in all the pictures, Mama?”

“He was your grandfather.” She grips her purse. “My father.”

“Your daddy?”

“Not exactly. He was with my mother for a while, when she was young.”

“Did I ever meet him?”

“No. He died before you were born.”

“But you knew him.”

“A little. He wasn’t around much.”

The boy glances about the gallery. Scuba gear, a model ship, a red wetsuit. A TV  plays a continuous loop of The Silent World, a man’s soft French voice narrating the wonders of the ocean.

“I wish I’d met him,”  said the boy.

 

Friday Fictioneers

A reporter from an anti-establishment newspaper in Seattle once asked a 67-year-old Jacques Cousteau if he had faith in anything. Cousteau gave a strange reply: “I believe in the instant.” Cousteau’s wholesome public image was at odds with his private conduct, which included a taste for fame, multiple mistresses, and at least two illegitimate children he refused to acknowledge.