The light splits

At home, North Vancouver 2018

At home, North Vancouver 2018


The sun moved east dipping low in the sky just beyond the front window.

There was a little more daylight now. Enough to make the relentless winter days feel that they were coming to an end; that brighter, warmer weather was on its way.

Monica was feeding the end of a roll of film into the spool of her old camera. She hadn’t used it in years and wasn’t even sure if it even worked as well as she remembered. She turned the wheel watching as the arrows appeared on the protective paper backing, watching until the words START appeared. She closed the back of the camera and wound the film further until there was a click and a number 1 appeared in the small round window.

In front of her sat her daughter bathed in the warm afternoon sunlight that was filtering in through the glass. Monica looked down at the camera she held at waist level and peered at the back-to-front picture that formed in the viewfinder. She held the camera with both hands enjoying the weight and the promise of a new picture.

She focused on her daughter’s body and then pushed a small lever, readying the shutter for exposure. She made some adjustments, hazarding a guess at aperture and shutter speed. Family conversation bubbled around her but her mind was elsewhere concentrating on the immediate image in front of her.

She steadied the camera and tripped the shutter. In a sixtieth of a second, light pierced through the camera lens splitting her daughter’s body into two. When Monica lifted her head, the world around her had faded into a glorious bright white glow that for a split second almost burnt her sight away.

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