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The house at the end of our street sits apart from its neighbors, isolated by large oak trees. The family that lived there for several years was forcibly removed when they could not make the mortgage and the father took his life shortly thereafter. A grieving mother and daughter were left behind and they found no charity in the homes of our small town. It's not certain where the mother went, but what is known is the daughter, R. Helena, for weeks was left to forage on her own. Their home lay abandoned, gone to weeds and disrepair, yet life could be seen in the upper window. The child would return and on rare nights as I passed I could see her motionless in the window, light emanating from a single candle. I knew she could not see into the darkness as I stood staring at her presence. We remained still for what seemed an eternity. As I turned to go, her hand came up to the glass, seeming to reach out to the night or to the family that was only a memory. I could no more help her than I could myself. The child was lost... I turned away.
Thirty odd years have passed and she can still be seen. Real or imagined, the child still exists in my mind.
That sounds way more interesting than me telling my daughter to go stand in the window so daddy can go outside and take her picture. :)
In the My Daughter, My Model photo essay.
Also by Mike Melnotte
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