- Aperture: f/8
- Focal Length: 80mm
- ISO: 160
- Shutter: 1/200 sec
- Camera: NIKON D80
April 2009. A paper I love prints its last issue.
July 2009. A man I love packs his things and walks away.
February 2010. I lay two house keys on the kitchen counter, and I leave the city I’ve called home for 19 years. For lack of anything better to do, I head to New Orleans.
March 2010. It’s cold and the rain never seems to stop falling. I move back to Mobile.
March 2010. Oh, that’s why I lost everything I loved. I understand now, I think to myself.
May 2010. Somewhere in West Virginia, I realize I was wrong.
January 2011. I gain a client.
April 10, 2011. I lay one house key on the counter, and I leave Mobile.
April 11, 2011. I get a job in a new state. I move to a new apartment. I lose a client.
April 27, 2011. An F-5 tornado destroys most of Tuscaloosa.
May 2011. I gain a few friends. I lose a few friends. I buy a few things. I write.
June 2011. My mama calls me. I’m late for work, stressed and harried as I walk Cowboy. I think she’s calling to remind me to pay my speeding ticket. She tells me my grandpa is dead.
My world goes black.
“It’s understandable,” my ex says. “You’ve been through a lot of changes in the past two years.”
A song on the radio makes me cry: You must think I’m strong to give me what I’m going through. Well forgive me, forgive me if I’m wrong, but this looks like more than I can do on my own…
Yeah, I think. Yeah.
I should write something profound. My grandfather deserves that much. But I find myself mute. Another song that plays on the same radio station comes to mind: I lift mine eyes unto the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of Heaven and Earth…
Music — and Cowboy — are where I find comfort. I write, but there is no heart in my writing. I shoot, but there is no soul in my images.
I thought I would make a slideshow. Write down the flood of memories that my tears won’t seem to wash away. But no. Not yet. Maybe never.
It gets easier, people say. I want to ask when, but instead I say nothing.
I have no words.
Music: Praise You in this Storm by Casting Crowns (lyrics)
About the image
A shredded flag hangs on a street sign in Tuscaloosa following the F-4 tornado that ripped through the town on April 27, 2011, killing 44 people. (Photo by Carmen K. Sisson/Cloudybright)