IR Online is an international undergraduate literary journal produced by the Literary Editing and Publishing class at Indiana University, Bloomington. Issue 3 was planned and compiled by Emily Corwin’s class in Spring, 2018.
Across the street from our old home was another house. This is not phenomenal. We lived in a neighborhood in a big city and across the street from every house was another house. There was nothing particularly special about the structure of this house either. It was small, shabby, ranch-style; probably a two—maybe three—bedroom, one bath type thing. But nearly every house in the neighborhood was a small, shabby, ranch-style; our home too had two bedrooms, one bath.
It was set pretty far back in the lot, this house, which was a little unusual, and the entry path was flanked by two dogwoods, which was less unusual. Really the only thing distinctly unusual about this house, which sat across the street from our home, was the fact that an old woman had died in it, and that her son, who was trying to prepare the house for sale following his mother’s expiration, had been crushed when the basement he was attempting to renovate collapsed upon him. It had sat unoccupied ever since, that house.
I thus grew up regarding it affectionately as “the haunted house.”
At the end of the New Years party, after a few drinks,
the boy I went to high school with decided to leave with a joke:
“Hasta la vista, or whatever they say in your country.”
That night I was thinking: were his jokes always that bad?
“It’s possible that white boys use humor to talk about race
and culture,” I wrote in my journal, and also “people will result to humor
when they don’t understand something.” Actually, I meant resort,
people will resort to humor. What can I say, words are hard.
And I frequently make spelling mistakes in my journal,
where I often go back to my old thoughts, like I’m having them all over again.
I heard your memories change over time in your mind
so I like to write them down. To go back to them. re-read them.
First understand that you will not find an apartment. You will live in a cardboard box with your three roommates for a whole year and that will be fine.
Finding an apartment is not about what you want—it is about what the world is willing to give you. Discuss at length what you want and realize it will never happen. “I really want a back porch.” Tell Emily that’s a bit unrealistic, considering we can’t even find a place with a dishwasher. Rewrite your list of demands until you no longer have any sense of what you are looking for. “Did we like the one with the coin laundry?” You don’t remember.
Think about what kind of dog you would like after graduation. A French bulldog, maybe, if you live in the city, would be a good fit. But you probably also want a big dog, so maybe a mastiff. Think about all the shelter dogs in the world and how much they need love. Think about how cute purebreds are. Call it a wash. Consider the merits of living at home until you can find a full time job. Remember that your parents are nice people but they’re super boring and go to bed at ten. Forget completely about finding an apartment.