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It Happened Anyway

by Eric Chandler

We bought fire extinguishers.
We changed the 9-volt batteries in the smoke alarms.
We even bought a rope-ladder.
It happened anyway.

We ate lots of fruits and vegetables.
We exercised.
We ran marathons.
It happened anyway.

We told them not to talk to strangers.
We picked them up at school on time.
We helicoptered just like we were supposed to.
It happened anyway.

We always wore our seat belts.
We made sure they wore theirs.
We obeyed the speed limit.
It happened anyway.

We drank lots of green tea.
We did the crossword.
We challenged our minds.
It happened anyway.

We got a dog.
We made sure all the locks worked.
We installed an alarm system.
It happened anyway.

We taught them the meaning of truth.
We taught them to work hard.
To take responsibility. To be themselves.
It happened anyway.

I boiled the oil.
I barred the doors.
I begged.
And it happened anyway.

The editors at Sleet Magazine nominated Eric Chandler’s creative nonfiction story “Chemical Warfare” for a Pushcart Prize. Some of his nonfiction was included in the anthologies Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors (Volumes 2 and 3). He recently self-published a nonfiction e-book of his outdoor family adventures called Outside Duluth. He also self-published a short novel about a downed pilot in Afghanistan called Down In It. You can learn about his books and published fiction, nonfiction, and poetry at:

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