A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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June 2009, vol 5 no 2

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Ludmila Balabanova


Solar Eclipse

This photo divides the family album in two. My mother, my sister and me. We are in the yard, in front of the house. My father is apparently behind the camera. My sister and I are around seven and nine years old. The difference in the age is almost invisible. We look very much alike. We are both blond and slender. I am a bit taller. She is a bit paler than me. We are wearing summer dresses and huge funny sunglasses. My mother is without glasses and her shining happy eyes illuminate the darkened garden.

A little earlier we watched the solar eclipse. It was the first eclipse for me and for my sister. We were given special glasses. I never forgot what I saw. A black shadow was creeping over the sun till it covered half of it. The sun was split in two. Only one half remained shining. The other was black with a beautiful halo of light.

I donít know yet that only in a week the doctors will find out that my sister has a serious heart problem. I donít know yet that she will spend many months in the hospital and that the struggle for her life will become more and more difficult. I donít know that this will be the last picture where we will be carefree and happy. I donít know that my motherís eyes will soon lose their light and will remain sad forever.

Milky Way . . .
children who never grew up
passing there

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