January brewed herself some Cowboy Coffee, strong enough to hold up a horseshoe, and settled on the couch to watch the world be revealed as the sun burned off the fog. If it burns it off. She couldn’t even see the building across the street from hers.
Hell, she lived in Seattle. They didn’t see the sun for nine months out of the year, she didn’t think it would change today just because she wished it. She frowned as she rested her mug against her lips. She had a decision to make and the fog seemed to illustrate the part of her life she kept hidden.
Ray had offered her a choice. Either stay hidden in her gray little world where there was safety and the illusion of peace, like the fog outside. Or step out of her shell, out of the cold, “safe and peaceful” world she’d built, and find life, vibrancy, and love. He’d brushed aside all her fears about the differences in their skin colors, backgrounds, and job experience, and asked her a simple question.
“Can you see being with me in all your tomorrows?”
She hadn’t answered him, too afraid to take the chance or lose it. When she’d hesitated, he nodded and said, “Take your time. When you get the answer, you’ll know where to find me.” Then he’d left to return to Issaquah and his team in Ultimate Recon, Inc.
That had been four days ago, and she was no closer to the answer. She wanted Ray and all the joys he offered. He’d made her laugh, made her moan in pleasure, and even shared her unrelenting delight in Sudoku puzzles. But she was afraid of losing, and losing bigger than she’d ever lost before. One brother dead, the other in jail, one sister mad at her for never getting married, and the other mad at her for running away from home.
If I hadn’t gotten out, I’d have been married to a gangbanger or addicted to drugs. That might not be completely true because her younger sister May was neither of those things, but she had to see the results of both in the students she tried to teach each year. January had gotten out to try to find a better way, and instead had wrapped herself up in thick, gray cotton wool as muffling as the fog outside.
So, did I really get out or did I simply move the prison to Seattle?
The line from The Shawshank Redemption flared to life in her thoughts and she found herself facing the choice of what to get busy doing: Livin’ or dyin’. She reached for her phone and scrolled through the contacts to Ray’s name. Time to give him an answer, even if she didn’t know which it would be when he picked up the phone.
That's it for me. Check out the other authors and their flashfiction from the image prompt. Happy reading!