A/N: This is a short story, written for MsKathy’s Haiti compilation.
I hope you enjoy it. Thank you so much to all of you who continue to read my stories.
SorceressCirce beta’d for me. She’s awesome like that.
As usual, I do not own Twilight.
Jasper, however, wanted to share something with you.
Buildings in ruins.
Cars that have been crushed.
Dead bodies – some in coffins, others just exposed – lying in the street.
People walking around aimlessly, dazed.
People digging through the rubble for survivors.
I take pictures of it all, capturing the moment even as my heart is aching for the lives lost in this natural disaster, and for those left behind – hurting.
I snap shot after shot – as I have been doing ever since stepping foot in Port-au-Prince two days ago. The photos all contain the emotions that are thick in the air – anger, sorrow, despair, pain, helplessness, grief…it’s palpable to me. It’s so ever-present, so pervasive to my senses that I feel like I’m drowning in it – suffocating.
Everywhere I turn, I am faced with it – and I take the pictures that I am paid to take. Part of the reason why I am always able to take the money-making pictures – as my boss calls them – is that I am empathic to a degree. I always seem to capture the raw emotion of a situation.
I have been sent to disaster areas like Haiti before. I was there at Ground Zero, I was there after the Virginia Tech massacre, and I’ve been to Iraq, Israel, and many other places. It’s always the same thing for me. I take the pictures that show the world what they don’t want to see…but it’s what they need to see.
Though I take the shots that show the anguish around me, I’m always – always – looking for that one picture. And it’s one I end up getting every time. The shot that will speak to the hearts of people and bring the one message we all need to hear, especially in times like these.
After too many rolls of film and after almost two days, I find my shot. I happen to come across an Australian news crew right as they are breaking through a wall, and in between their blows, I hear it – a toddler, crying. I hurry over to them, intent on offering help, but right as I get close enough, they break through. I manage to raise my camera just in time to snap a picture of the little girl as she walks unsteadily from under the rubble to one of the news crew.
I smile and congratulate the men on rescuing her, and though I’m glad to have gotten the picture, I’m sad that I wasn’t in time to help them myself.
Not long after, I come to the palace, which has crumbled. There are people milling everywhere, but that isn’t what grabs my attention. It’s not the church close to it, which is half in ruins. It’s the orphanage that still stands – though the twelve-foot wall that surrounds the area has partially gone down.
As I get closer, I smile at the children who are there. Not one of them seems to be injured, and there are no bodies visible in the compound. I decide to talk to one of the sisters that is working with the children and find out that, miraculously, no one was injured or lost during the massive quake.
With permission, I snap a few pictures of the children as they are playing, making the best of the situation as it stands, because even without the injuries and loss of lives among them, they are still dealing with the aftermath. But they are able to do one thing that most adults have lost the ability to do…
They live in the moment.