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Day Twelve: Dark Clouds on the (Virtual) Horizon

Today’s Prompt: Write a post inspired by a real-world conversation.

We don’t write in a bubble — we write in the world, and what we say is influenced by our experiences. Today, take a cue from something you’ve overheard and write a post inspired by a real-life conversation. Revisit a time when you wish you’d spoken up, reminisce about an important conversation that will always stick with you, or tune in to a conversation happening around you right now and write your reaction.

Take time to listen — to what you hear around you, or what your memories stir up.

Today’s twist: include an element of foreshadowing in the beginning of your post.

This is an actual conversation I had on Sunday… The names have been changed, just so you know.

* * * * *


dark clouds on the horizon


I could see she was upset. It was the second week in a row she’d been in tears after church. But when I’d spoken to her last week, she’d poo-pooed it saying she had allergies. I doubted that was the case. These tears came fast and furious. I pulled out a chair at the table and she sat down. She had a tissue and kept daubing at her eyes. I put my hand over hers on the table.

“What’s wrong, Dee?”

“I’m just not ready for this, I guess.”

She looked so miserable. Forlorn. I was drawing a blank. Obviously it’s been too long since my kids were in high school.

“Not ready for what, hon?”

“Kirby graduates on the 20th and he’s leaving two days later for Scott Air Force Base in Illinois.”

I was surprised. In truth I had no idea how old Kirby, their only child, was beyond teenager, and certainly no inkling he had designs on joining the Air Force, though his dad had been in the military.

“I’m just not ready for that whole empty nest thing.”

Dee dropped the tissue on an empty paper plate on the table and pulled a new one out of her purse. Her sniffling increased.

“How’s Rick taking it?”

I didn’t know Rick very well. I’d asked him for help once with sound problems in our adult Sunday School class, but he’d never followed through on researching what could be done. I didn’t know what he did for a living. Funny how you can know someone for a dozen years and still not know them.

Dee, on the other hand, was an occasional drinking buddy. Of Starbucks coffee, that is. We could sit and yap over one cup of cold coffee for three hours — or more. I tried to catch up with her during school holidays. She was always up for a mini-vacation at Starbucks. A third-grade teacher, she’d been transferred from the school she’d taught at for years to a new one out by the base. She wasn’t happy about it. It had been a long year for her. Thankfully it was nearly over.

“He doesn’t say much about it one way or the other. It’s almost like he doesn’t care if Kirby gets sent overseas.”

She broke down then and started sobbing. And I wondered what, exactly, it was Dee was crying about; Kirby going into the service, or being alone with Rick.

“Is he looking forward to having time alone with you?”

She looked at me with this disgusted, scrunched up face.

“Oh sure. All he talks about is Naked Tuesdays!”

The mist was starting to clear but it wasn’t the time nor the place to go there. She pulled another couple tissues from her purse.

“What are you doing for your allergies. Must be hard for you to get any sleep.”

“Just taking over-the-counter meds. They’ll go away eventually. I sleep on the couch anyway.”

I might have pursued the last comment further, but just then we were interrupted by the head of the fellowship committee. She apologized for needing to steal Dee away from me. I frowned as they walked into the kitchen and felt a coffee date coming on.