“How’s the photography coming?”
Freyja hesitated. Should she tell Poppa about the demonstration? She needed to tell someone. It was like one of those alien creatures was growing inside her and at any moment it would split her open and burst out. Images, smells, sounds – she needed to download or she might crash.
“Poppa, I saw the shootings. I took pictures,” she whispered. Why did she whisper?
Here father closed his eyes. “Do you want to talk about it?”
“No.” Freyja laid her head on his chest. “I just happened to be in the right place at right time?” Why was it the right place, right time? She saw people dead and dying, shouldn’t it be the wrong place, wrong time? “It was like time stopped, Poppa.” Now, in the telling she could feel her heart begin to beat faster, her breath come quicker. “Like I wasn’t part of it, only watching it happen. But I was there, right in the middle of it.” Her hand went to her hairline. Her fingers traced the raw edge of open flesh. “I heard hurt people crying for help. I saw dead people, Poppa. I smelled their blood and guts.”
“It’s okay, Freyja. There was nothing you could do.”
“Maybe you’re right, Poppa. Maybe I couldn’t have helped, wouldn’t have made a difference, but the point is I didn’t want to. I wanted the shot.”
Freyja sat up. Her father’s eyes were open. He looked at her like he was seeing something new, something in her he’d never seen before. Maybe she’d revealed too much. These were feelings she didn’t even know she had until she just now articulated them. She realized she was holding her breath.
“To be a professional you must be objective,” Poppa said. “You were put there to photograph what happened not to care for the wounded.” He patted her hand. “Now the question is, what will you do with these pictures?”
“I’m not sure. I haven’t even looked at them. They might all be crap.”
Her father shook his head. He closed his eyes like what he’d heard had exhausted him. It probably had.
Freyja didn’t want to think about death and it’s consequences anymore. She’d unburdened herself. She felt better. It was her birthday dinner and death had no place at the table.
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