Departures 

Life moves on and Wisconsin, for me, sorted out to be a failed experiment. Most of my brief time there was spent helping my dad build a small house some miles out of town. This consumed most, if not all, of every day. It not being during the school term, there was little time or opportunity to acquire new friends or get accustomed to this new place. However, I gave it a couple of tries. Teen culture in Wisconsin was far removed from Boulder’s activist and revolutionary culture.

In Wisconsin, girls danced only with girls, as far as I could tell. Boys huddled in small groups on the sidelines, plotting which unaccompanied stray male to intimidate and threaten next. No one it seemed played chess or for-money games of gin rummy, but most were quick to point out my hair was too long and I dressed funny. As had been an acceptable concept in Boulder, I did try to dance with a girl, but the outcome was quick to manifest itself. A group of boys approached within seconds, the largest of whom announcing to me, “you’re dancing with my girl!” to which I replied, “ok?”. Apparently, he did not sense the level of contrition or terror he sought, so he hurled me into a wall for good measure, just to ensure the message was clear. His companions gathered around to make sure I stayed by the wall.

Apparently, this was the new normal I was required to adapt to. Having reached a manifest dissatisfaction with my life in general and realizing the fruitlessness of the “new normal,” I departed Wisconsin in the company of a greyhound dog painted on the side of a bus. The waters of the stream took me back to Colorado.