Monday, March 23, 2009

a long time without dad

It has been a goal of mine to form a collection of images from the Via bus, of the journey people take on their next destination in life. And where that life will take them, the destination is not always known.

While waiting for the Via to arrive, I noticed a woman beginning to change her toddler's diaper on the bench, right as the bus pulled around the corner. "We'll do this on the bus," she said. That was a reminder for me to take out the camera. I did this to look legit, to avoid whipping out my camera from the backpack and just start shooting on the bus, it would look like I take pictures everywhere, that this is what I do.

And it worked. As I sat down behind the woman and her children, a man to the right of me immediately asked, "are you a photographer?!?!"

Knowing the woman in-front of me would overhear, I told him I worked for the paper at San Antonio College, that I have loved meeting people and being let into their lives, and that the Via is especially great for that (he asked a few questions). He just nodded and I looked up at the woman as she began changing the diaper, exchanging smiles before I took the first shot. No awkwardness, it was great.

Great until I began asking her where she was coming from (as I often ask people), and to hear her reply, "actually, I'm on my way home from the court house. My husband got locked up for two years off a dope charge."

Shocked, I paused momentarily, shoving out a sighed ""

"yep," she said. "Two years."

At this point, her daughter was jumping up and down on the seats, yelling out the loudest screams after her mom told her to sit down. She handed Precious McGaritty over to her mother in-law in the mobile chair.

I would learn that all five of the children with this woman were her children. "They're a handful," she said, kissing her fifteen month-old Sapphire on the cheek.

"You have a lot of patience," I told her. "And you've got two boys there to help," this being the most I could say before she would pull the "stop request" cord. She looked at her sons and smiled, "yeah, I do."

"Is daddy going to be gone a long time?" her son asked anxiously. "Yes," she said while exiting the bus, "a long time, a long time."

Anita Davilla, 8, and fifteen months-old Sapphire gaze into the camera lens while riding the Via home with their mother (name withheld) on Monday, March 23. The family of five was returning home from the courthouse downtown, their father sentenced to two years in federal prison after a drug related felony.

1 comment:

Amy Strecker said...

What a great story Ty! You should really consider approaching Via with your collection of pictures from a year of bus riding. They might be interesting in working with you to sponsor a small show, or have you put together some sort of press pack for them.