Here are some old recycled photos I took a while ago. The old Greyhound bus station in Iowa City.
Maybe it happened from watching too many movies or reading so many books - that thing I did, where I looked for signs. You know, like in a story where you know the one guy is going to die for sure, because he's too nice, or that something bad is going to happen because everyone is so damn content?
My friend Sara's screen door from her old house in Minneapolis.
Things seemed to be going really well right before my dad disappeared and we had to move. My mom worked and I remember my dad taking us to the movies and no one seemed quite so worried about money. It was the same thing when my mom died. I started 5th grade in a new classroom with nice kids and funny boys, I had my red, white and blue Liberty Bell bike with the banana seat and my brother and I would ride for hours past orange groves, and I just got a new kitten for my 10th birthday. I was happy. In junior high the pattern continued. Believe it or not, I was popular in junior high in Alsip, Illinois. I had tons of friends, and babysitting jobs, and I was excited about going to high school, and then my Uncle got transferred to Ottumwa, Iowa where I was miserable and isolated out in the middle of nowhere for the next four years.
What I found in the alley between Hotz Street and Rochester Ave. the morning after the tornado.
I wasn't even aware of it, but I made a connection between all of those events and decided that by being happy, I had just been asking for it. The forces that be must have decided I needed to be taken down a notch...Or 5,000 notches, and I was. The trick, it seemed to my fucked-up younger self, was to remain unhappy in general. If things were bad, maybe I could ward off the bigger catasrophes. Those unhealthy relationships were my way of taking control back then. Of course, I wasn't aware that I was doing that until later, when I got out on my own and tried to figure out what the hell I had been doing through much of my twenties and early thirties.
A cemetery off of Newport Road outside of Iowa City.
Once I looked very closely, that original theory proved false. I was with my abusive ex-husband when Coadster and I were in that horrible horse and buggy accident. I was dating the emotionally unavailable guy when Stinky got meningitis, so being unhappy wasn't keeping me safe from disaster. None of us can prevent bad circumstances. My house would have been hit by the tornado no matter how happy or miserable I was. It was in the way. In real life, there is no helpful foreshadowing. We all have both good and bad experiences and everybody dies before the story ends, not just the guys who are too nice for their own good. The true test comes in how we deal with those experiences and bounce back...Or not.
So, if that means I'm asking for it, I figure I might as well be happy and dance around like an idiot while I wait for whatever "it" is to hit.