There’s a picture that hangs in my living room, right above the lazy boy, across from my spot on our couch. The picture haunts me, staring at me almost mockingly for days on end. Who are these strangers smiling? There is a man, woman, young boy of maybe eight years, and a young girl around the age of four. The picture puzzles me, all the young faces so foreign, but familiar. I recognize the younger versions of my mother, father, and brother. They are all near a river as that strange girl is squatting in it, splashing at the glistening river blow. Who is this young girl so in control, with her curling blond pigtails, wearing a blue striped sailor dress sitting in a river with my family? Why is this stranger smiling as she splashes at the fish in the rushing brook? I once knew this girl. She is so far away, ensnared in her own innocence, ignorant of troubles to come and the ways of the world, simply happy. That little girl was me.
Blackburn, Avery, "A Picture “Perfect” Life (2012)" (2012). The Valpo Core Reader. 18.