“You can see it, of course. Can’t you.”
“The anomaly with that photo.”
“The photo looks okay to me. Nothing out of the ordinary.”
“Look again. Look more closely.”
So I did. In the photo, there was a young man, probably early twenties, leaning on the ledge of a bridge, facing the camera. In the background, behind him, there was the outline of the distant horizon: mountainous, slightly bluish with distance. The sky depicted there was almost completely clear: only a few wisps of clouds were visible. The young man himself was wearing a checked shirt, and brown trousers.
And then I spotted the anomaly.
The young man’s face looked hazy. Out of focus. Which stood out, since everything else in the photo was in sharp focus. Right up to the buttons on his shirt. Even the knuckles of his right arm, resting against the top of the bridge’s ledge behind him, were all clearly defined. His left arm was in his trouser pocket.
“His face is out of focus.”
“Yes. Well, no. Technically, that’s the face of someone with less than two hours to live.”
Silence. I looked up from the photo, and stared at Rosemary. She didn’t seem to be joking. She shrugged slightly, and continued looking at me, across the table. So I sought more information.
“That’s my kid brother. Less than two hours after I took that photo, he simply collapsed and died”.
“After I took that photo, we continued on with our walk to the picnic site. There was no hurry. My brother looked jovial, as usual. We talked about all manner of things. I remember teasing him about his new girlfriend. He laughed, and teased me too, about you. But I noticed that every once in a while, an indescribable expression would flash across his face, before he transformed back to being jovial. This happened several times before we got to the picnic site.”
“Did you ask him about that expression?”
“I didn’t. Thought it was insignificant at that time. But a few meters to the actual site we were walking towards, he suddenly stopped on the path, looked at me in a strange way, and then his eyes rolled up, as he collapsed onto the ground. Dead.”
“That must have been terrifying.”
“I called my parents. They drove over, picked me up, together with my brother’s body, and we drove to the nearest hospital. Procedure was followed. Hospital. Post mortem. Mortuary. Funeral. Cause of death? Unknown. Only much later – weeks, actually – did I remember to develop the photographic film. And I discovered that hazy anomaly on his face.”
“What did your parents say about this photo?”
“Mom is… well, _spiritual_. More than dad, anyways. She told me that the face in that photo is invisible because my brother had already started to die, when I took the photo. That his soul had already left him.”
“Yeah. I don’t know what to think. But I also don’t have a better explanation.”