Wednesday, March 16, 2016

the waiting room, by mlb 7/12/12


It is one of those nights when you sit waiting for a storm that isn’t coming.  

You watch the windows as the sun sets thinking surely it will rain, maybe even snow... but nothing.  

You wander out to roll up the car windows and bring in the cat just in case.  Peering at the sky convinced.  You build a fire to protect yourself from the pending chill, stack wood beside the hearth to keep it dry, and wait for the wind to blow open the garden gate...but still nothing.  

So you sit holding a book you aren’t reading watching the fire. Wondering why you are so sure this will happen when a rogue gust of wind blows down the chimney. 

The fire cringes then flares, a pile of loose papers stir, and the picture above the mantel falls.

You leave your chair to fetch the frame which is lying in splinters on the floor.  The painting free of its form rolls into itself and you notice there is writing on the back.  

Carefully you unroll the stiff canvas to find a note written to you in your own hand: Listen to him.  Not what he is saying but what he is doing.

You look around the room.  The cat, the book, the fire, and you say out loud, “But who is He?” 

You turn the painting over looking at the scene, paint cracking in protest.  It is a beautiful rendering of a stormy night in the countryside.  An aging barn, autumn fields bound in a corset of split rail fencing, and a man walking against the wind up a dusty road.  

Listen to him.  Not what he is saying but what he is doing.


You let the paper roll closed, place it on the mantel, and settle in for the coming storm. 

Today this space of mine is 1 year old.  Happy Birthday! 

On this occasion, as mothers do, I was nostalgically looking through the spaces that came before.  That is where I found this long forgotten piece of writing.  

It was based on writing prompt for a short story contest, the only one I have ever engaged in because I tend to view them as shallow.  It is no secret that I am a horrible judge of character; first impressions of writing prompt now included. 

Four years after I wrote it and forgot about it The Waiting Room holds more truth than fiction. So much so it is almost creepy. 
  

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