the Trigger-happy housewife

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Flashback Friday: “It’s okay, God…”

on August 23, 2013

Flashback Friday is a new feature where I will share old writing, I am not going to edit or change them. I may, however, comment on the writings. This is a post I wrote September 20, 2005, the day after we were allowed to go home for the first time since Katrina had hit. I am sharing it because I recently wrote about how my hanging my coffee mugs was a pretty big deal and thought it might give a little insight! I would like to point out that the “girl from the night out just before” is now my wife and that while it took YEARS for me to get to the place I am that the “somewhere inside of me was this domestically challenged girl who was really ready to try” girl not only got the courage to try again, but is getting it really right! Thank God.

I sat there and watched with my estranged aunt and an attractive older black man from Covington as it became clear that Katrina would in fact hit home. With only minute deviances from The Worst Case Scenario hurricane Katrina would shred New Orleans in a way that no person, however capable their imagination, could ever had conjured up in their mind. As Sunday crept away and Monday angrily arrived there was no longer the holding your breath and praying to God for a ‘bobble’ or ‘jump’ or ‘unexplainable 90 degree turn’ to save us as they had in the past. The thought in my head as people slowly woke up and joined us was simply, “It had to be our turn someday.” And as everyone complained about how unfair life was all I heard was how the secretly wanted others to suffer. The lobby was full and the beginning of the longest time in my life ~ a time not yet over ~ started to roll. I was homeless, jobless, possession less. I had no past and no reality. I looked at myself in the mirror, wearing the clothes I had been in for over twenty-four hours. The clothes that smelled like smoke and girl from the night out just before. I was wearing all I had brought with me and as the electric drugs of my last night out wore on I said a prayer.
“Please, God, four coffee mugs.”
It was a prayer that I had repeated again, and again. Art ~ lost. Writings ~ lost. Poems ~ Lost. Home ~ destroyed. Work ~ stolen. Friends ~ far away. Life ~ heart wrenchingly still wearing on, slow and ugly and so, so very sad.
After hearing the conditions, after talking to those who stayed, or some how went back the prayer changed.
“Please, God, one coffee mug.”

yesterday at 9:17 am
Slowly the truck rolled down my street, each home looking eerily normal. The knowledge that though this little town of mud covered homes looked as if it could be saved. Washed and painted and smiley-faced we could all come home, that was just so horrifically far from true. Each little home still and dead and then mine. Mine: twisted and taken from it’s foundation. Mine: broken, fundamentally. And I said a different prayer.
“It’s okay, God, they were just coffee mugs. I know.”
The front door wouldn’t open because the cedar block piers had come up through the floor right behind it. When the back door opened finally, hanging ~ perfect as the only proof that some where inside of me was this domestically challenged girl who was really ready to try ~ hanging still and beautiful in a way which would make Martha proud ~ my four coffee cups.

It’s okay, Sonya, they were just coffee mugs. I know.”

– A rainbow feather boa, a binder full of art sketches, the whole set of dishes to which the coffee mugs belonged, an Indian statue, jewelry, my clock (still telling the right time.) I walked away with more than most and more than I hoped.


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