If you missed last week’s episode, you missed a great one. You can watch the replay here.
As always, the ladies of the podcast created some great pieces of writing from this sprint prompt. Today’s Prompt: Changing of the seasons. We really enjoyed Jamie’s take on the prompt, and we think you will as well! Enjoy, and make sure you reach out to her to let her know you want her to finish this story!
“This is just a season of your life. It will be over before you know it, and it will seem just like any other memory from your past—a mere blip on the timeline of your life.”
I sighed and adjusted my grip on the phone, wishing the children weren’t home so that I could put the thing on speakerphone, or that I could find my headset. I was pretty sure one of the kids had absconded with it, having broken or forgotten to charge theirs. I toed a crispy leaf with the front of my purple croc. I thought about how there would be zillions more of these things back home up north right now, piling up and begging to be plunged into. This one was not quite a loner, about fifty or so of its companions had also floated their way down onto our lawn, but the sight was more distasteful somehow with so few of them present; they appeared more like litter strewn about than a sign of changing seasons.
“I guess you’re right,” I replied. “No, I know you’re right. I mean, I’ve endured hard things before, and I’ve always had the experience of those hard things seeming so much smaller, in retrospect. This time is different, though.”
“How so?” There was no challenge in the question, only a gentle, prodding curiosity and a desire for my well-being. I sent up the fifty-millionth silent thanksgiving to God for giving me such good friends as I simultaneously contemplated how best to respond.
“I think…” I began, then faltered. A wave of rage consumed me and in that moment I wanted to let loose a stream of expletives. I sucked in two breathfuls of what would have been crisp fall air back in the land of my nativity and was reminded that I was still in the swamp. Somehow, the deep breathing did its work, anyway, and I was able to come to a place of rational response.
“The truth is, I’m angry,” I said, and naming the feeling seemed to whisk away its power. “I’m angry, and I think I’m angry because I’m scared. It’s like you said, this is a season of my life, but in the world, in our 3-D reality, the seasons have a predictable pattern. Leaves fall and we expect colder weather to follow. This? This situation I find myself in? It’s unprecedented. I have a season ending, with no knowledge of what the next season is to come. Am I heading into winter? A deep freeze? Am I heading into spring, and a rebirth?”
“I think that might be up to you,” she said, and my spirit resonated with the truth so profoundly that I was rendered momentarily speechless.
“Are you still there?” She asked, then cursed her phone plan for what she perceived to be a bad connection.
“I’m here, I’m here. I’m just basking in that nugget of truth you just dropped on me.”
“Me? Nugget of truth? What do you know,” she chortled.
“Seriously, you’re right,” I said. “I guess the future is what I make of it. Or, at least, my attitude about the future can be positive and optimistic or bleak and gloomy.”
“Or both. Leave room for both,” she said.
“Balance,” I sighed. “I’ve never been quite good at that.”
“Exactly,” she replied. “Look, I hate to do this, but I have to go.”
“No, it’s okay. I’ve kept you long enough. Sorry, it’s just harder on the days I don’t work. I find it hard to fill the time.”
“That will get easier, as you rediscover you.”
I hung up and stood there, staring at the scattered leaves and imagining them pictures of my shattered dreams. I wondered if my perspective could change, even in that moment, and looked up to see the millions of leaves which had not fallen in this season of change, the ones who stubbornly refused to behave like their neighbors in the north. I thought these might be the fragments of my beautiful future, and I committed myself to continue to keep looking up.
The timer has not gone off but that’s all I’m going to write.
Jamie Hershberger enjoys writing shorts (short fiction) under the pen name, J. R. Nichols. She is the creator and curator of www.writingshorts.net and the editor of The Writing Shorts Newsletter. Her flash fiction has won several contests and has been featured in two anthologies.