Wednesday, April 20, 2022

WEP April 2022: A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall


It's already time for another WEP Challenge in our Year of Music. This month's musical inspiration is "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall" by Bob Dylan. For more information or to join in on the fun, check out this post. If you need additional inspiration for this prompt, be sure to check out the Challenges 2022 page.

Here's my take on this month's prompt. I hope you enjoy.

Like a Waterfall

The sky looked identical to the wet concrete below. Water hemorrhaged from the sky, while the streetlights burned bright despite the mid-afternoon hour.

The weather report had warned a hard rain was going to fall, but no one in Rey’s little neighborhood had access to the most up-to-date reports anyway.

Rey pulled her frayed flannel shirt closer to her body as she huddled under an awning. It wouldn’t be so bad if it were a few degrees warmer, but the chill in the air sent the dampness radiating into her bones. Her teeth chattered, her limbs trembled. She closed her eyes and tried to envision bright skies and the gentle warmth of a summer breeze. The illusion was pleasant enough, but it couldn’t hold the cold at bay.

Ms. Dupree, hunched over her shopping cart with a tattered poncho pulled over her, trudged by. One of her tennis shoes had a hole so big her big toe poked through. Milo, who had to be nearly 80 years old, huddled across the alley, coughing into his white-knuckled fist. Up until recently, he’d still had his own home, but times got tough.

Nearly a dozen tents populated this little alleyway, shared amongst a current twenty-nine inhabitants. The number fluctuated from day to day. Some residents left one day never to return. Rey often wondered about them, especially little Ricky, who found his way to the alley at 15. His parents booted him from the house for being gay. She hoped that maybe his family had a change of heart, or maybe that he found a program willing to give him a leg up and out of this life. She hoped, but she knew the other dark possibilities that lurked on the edges of their daily lives.

The rumbling of her stomach interrupted her thoughts. She couldn’t recall the last time she’d been able to eat enough to feel full. At best, she could get her hands on enough food to take the edge off her hunger.

She dipped her hand into her damp jeans pocket and brushed her fingers against the change contained within. If she walked to the corner store, she might be able to buy herself a packet of peanut butter crackers. That had been one of her all-time favorite snacks as a child. Now those little crackers were tainted by the desperation of her situation.

The rain was falling too heavily to take the trip now. Hopefully it would abate soon.

Leaning back against the brick wall, she surrendered herself to thoughts that she generally tried to avoid. On days like this, it took too much energy to keep them buried.

The bright blue of Ethan’s eyes flashed before her eyes, and an aching pain flared in her chest. She’d only had him for a day in the hospital before the adoption papers were signed. Logic told her she couldn’t have been a good mother for him. She couldn’t even take care of herself most days. A pregnancy spent living on the streets had been risky enough. He deserved more than that. This knowledge didn’t stop the pain, though. He had to be two years old by now. Did he love peanut butter crackers? Was he allergic to anything? What made him smile?

These were answers she would never have.

She lingered awhile in the grief. It gnawed away at her insides, as persistent and potent as her hunger. She remembered the dreams she once had for herself. When she was young, she always imagined herself becoming a veterinarian. She could never stand to see an animal sick or suffering.

Now suffering was an integral part of her daily existence.

The rain persisted. Rey shoved herself away from the wall and began to walk. Why not? She was already half-soaked anyway, and she needed to eat something. Tears streaked her face, mixing in seamlessly with the pelting rain drops. It all ran like a waterfall down her cheeks. If she stayed in the driving rain long enough, perhaps it would wash her pain away.

Maybe the sun would eventually shine through and a rainbow would appear. Maybe, just maybe, there could be brighter days ahead.

Word Count: 702 words


Tagline: Rey attempts to find hope in a seemingly hopeless situation.

And there it is! Please read the other wonderful entries for the April Challenge!

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

The Insecure Writer's Support Group: April 2022


It's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means it's time to convene another meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group. Our esteemed leader Alex J.  Cavanaugh has assembled a great group of co-hosts for this month: Joylene Nowell Butler, Jemima Pett, Patricia Josephine, Louise - Fundy Blue, and Kim Lajevardi.

Be sure to check out the IWSG website for great writing tools and advice!

Today is a big day in my house. My oldest son is 13 today. I can't believe how fast the time has gone. He's almost my height, and it'll probably be mere months before he surpasses me. He likes to say that once he does, he doesn't have to listen to me anymore. Ha ha! We both know that isn't true.

It's a pivotal time in my home in a lot of ways. In a few days, it'll be one year since we purchased the home we're living in now. Due to various reasons, it felt like we'd be renting forever. Finally being able to own our home gave us a sense of pride. We did it. Our house isn't perfect (it's 114 years old, so it's bound to have its imperfections), but it's solid and spacious enough for our family. I love it.

My other son is about to finish 5th grade. That means he's starting middle school next school year. I have a daughter starting Kindergarten in the fall. And my youngest daughter is starting preschool at the same time. My husband is successful in his career. I've lost 35 pounds and remain committed to my fitness journey.

So many great things. Yet, when it comes to my writing, my confidence is low. One issue is that I have a lot of demands on my time. I need to keep up with exercise and housework. I cook daily. Someone always needs help with their homework. These are all important things, and it's easy to use them as excuses.

One thing I've had to learn is that it's important to take care of myself. It's so easy to put myself on the back burner when so many others need me. My health started to suffer because of that. Now I'm trying to do better. But health isn't just about physical health. It's also about mental health. It's about doing the things for yourself that bring you joy. One of the things that brings me joy is writing, but I haven't devoted enough time to my writing lately. I've decided to carve out time to write and submit a couple of short stories in the next month or two. While I may not have a ton of free time, surely I can make enough time to accomplish this small goal.

Remember to take care of yourselves. What small things bring you joy?