Uncle Alberto in the Mist Above Como
It's hard to explain, and after all, we are not an explaining people. Explanations are always an embarrassment, usually reserved for those people who don't know which of the seven forks to use on the third course. It's much easier just to not invite such people to our dinner parties.
Our dinner parties are fewer these days, but they do still happen. We have come to enjoy most of them in silhouette. In the 1910s, in that brief idyll before The War, Uncle Alberto posed for a series of silhouettes cut furiously from ebony card stock by a Bulgarian artisan with tiny barber clippers. He captured every essence of Uncle Alberto, all of it in a silhouette darker than the pre-dawn sky. For a few lira he was captured for eternity, his soul carved from the abyss.
Cousin Cecile never understood why that portrait meant so much to him. Perhaps that's why she gave it to little cousin Ramona who thought it was the image of a sideshow attraction and placed it in her toy box where Uncle Alberto finally found solace hugged by a ceramic giraffe named Igberto and a felt horse named Alain.