For several hours Marian meandered around town with the children. She went to the zoo, spending the money for Kelly’s new boots on fairy floss, soda and rides on the choo-choo-train while she sat by, contemplating the surrealness of the situation and avoiding conversation. The topic was on many people’s lips; she heard words like “disappear” and “disaster” and felt oddly exposed, as though things were being said directly about her, about her husband, as though she were the culprit in some conspiracy.
At the lion enclosure she watched the children point and scream as the lions, docile, well-fed lay like the vegetable elements of their surroundings. Sitting, she took the camera from her purse, studying it and its inscrutable components. She had heard that the Aborigines had an aversion to photography, because of its power to steal or syphon energy from a person’s immaterial aspect; the part of a person that, timeless, instructs and animates the visible, the tangible avatar, which is always passing away. She raised the camera to the children, getting a feel for the focus. Through the viewfinder their small and fragile forms contracted, spread; here the subject, now the obstruction, like little figments.
“Katy,” she called. Her daughter turned, her mouth open. Marian pressed, the shutter snapped, its portal yawning for a fraction of second to swallow what it saw, what there was. Katy laughed, unafraid of what lay behind, what there was to come.