***Disclaimer: this post mentions thoughts of suicide. If you or a loved one have suicidal thoughts or feel hopeless or lost please dial 988 or text HOME to 741741***
Ohio is a fine place.
I’m sure Cleveland is great–never been, though. I didn’t do the whole upper half of the state, although, it’s a shame, because I realized living up there, far away from my Ihops and my Waffle Houses, that we were pretty close to Niagra Falls.
We never went.
Cincinnati was nice. I kept calling it “Cinny” instead of “Cincy” and people would look at me sideways, wondering if I was joking or just really stupid, and maybe feel sorry for me for a minute.
We loved the big murals everywhere and that one park next to the Opera house. I’m sure the economic disparity was not so fun for the natives, but hey, we were just tourists having a good time.
Yellow Springs, also very cool. Hippy town. Super liberal. First Antioch college which then became the bigger one in California which is still accredited where the flagship, the one in Ohio, is not. But it still attracts adorable, rainblow-clad rich liberal kids who love organic lattes and T-shirts with local art printed on it.
Those days I felt happy. The sun was shining. There was some kind of art fair. We talked to some sweet young girls with a tongue-in-cheek liberal T-shirt stand. One had the Tea Party snakes twisted into the shape of a uterus and Fallopian tubes and said “Don’t Tread on Me.” Another had a big pair of lips with a tongue hanging out that said “Don’t tell me to smile.” I got that one. I always get comments on that T-shirt.
The city we lived in wasn’t too bad, either. There were cool restaurants. Fantastic donuts. I mean, if you want some good donuts, go to Ohio. And pizza on every corner. Donuts, pizza, and bars. The fucking stuff of life.
We could drive ten minutes to a cool bar with big, floppy reuben sandwiches, good music and delicious organic chocolate beer. It was called “Tanks.” We’d ask our hip young waitress:
“What is this place called?”
“You’re welcome!” I’m sure they thought it was funny every time.
Fifteen minutes to my favorite local grocery which included a cafe, where I joined a writing group which literally kept me alive. An hour to IKEA or C-I-N-C-Y or Columbus. Two hours to Indianapolis or Louisville. As long as we didn’t have to go the one place I really wanted to avoid–home.
Home, which was still full of boxes and furniture put in the wrong place. Home, where every night my husband made dinner and we went and sat in front of the TV in the basement. That futon was like a mother, holding me, an overbearing mother, simultaneously suffocating me, saying no, no, I can never let you go.
I’d lay on that futon during the night when I couldn’t sleep in the long winter months watching videos–anything with sunshine. People walking around in LA. People waking up to normal mornings getting normal coffee having normal conversations. Not wanting to kill themselves.
Home, where the squirrels scratched on the walls and the roof and the cats followed me, followed me, followed me, always meowing, pawing at me. Please, please, please, we don’t even know what we want. Just give us something.
Ohio is a fine place with lots of fine people. Great people, actually. People who friended me and saved my life every single day just by acknowledging that I existed. People I’ll never see again.
It’s a fine place. Just don’t ask me to go back.