Writing 101 Dark Clouds on the Horizon

“I need you to come over, we have some things we need to discuss.”

This was the wisp of conversation I heard, as I passed the young woman grounded to a stop in the aisle at the local grocery store. The voice was calm and strangely in control, considering the weight of those words. I quickly sped by trying not to intrude on a terribly personal moment. I didn’t want to get dragged into anyone’s drama. This is the reason I resent the incessant chatter of people on cell phones. I don’t need to hear their problems, complaints or hurtful gossip. My ears, like people who slow down to stare enthralled at gruesome accident scenes, tuned into tense words voiced towards clutched phones.

Two aisles over we pass again. “You have to come and pack up your stuff.”

The words stirred a memory. I had to look, was the speaker devastated, laid bare by these words? Did she have the blank stare and listless walk demonstrated by disaster survivors? We have all seen them on garishly flashed news stories. There could be no other reaction to those words, they were the harbinger of a shattering end. I would know. I was once the woman forced to pronounce them. There were not something I choose to say, rather they were words that took years to form. Years of heartbreak, crushed hope and finally acceptance.

I searched the aisles for the woman. I am not sure what I hoped to accomplish. Perhaps by just being nearby she would have been able to sense that my wounds had healed. In standing in silent solidarity, I would have been able to reveal that I was a survivor. I lived. In fact I had flourished. Just as she would.


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