This is a new short story I wrote this week, but due to time constraints have only just been able to retype it into my posts.

 

The inspiration again falls back on the Writer’s Digest weekly writing prompts. This is however a prompt from months, maybe years, ago. I have a long list.

‘A picture on your mantle unexpectedly falls and crashes to the floor. As you go to pick it up, you notice a note hidden behind the picture. The message is from the future—and written by you. It instructs you to do something important. What does it say?’

 

Note From Behind the Picture

It was a sad day in our small hometown. A day I feared would come. A day I knew would come. But if you’d asked I would have requested it be put off. It was the day I had to sort through the belongings left at my parent’s home. A house I hadn’t lived in for over twenty years.

Perhaps I could now sit and be thankful I had helped clean out their house almost ten years ago, but I still had a daunting task ahead of me. A few years back, my husband and I had gone through the same ritual at his parent’s house. We had been realistic and rid ourselves of much of the items in the dwelling. Somehow, we’d left the house with two boxes of items and two big chairs. I wondered if we could do the same thing here.

I wondered if I could do the same thing here. The items in this house had more meaning. I’d grown up with so many of these things.

Taking a deep breath I knew the truth. I needed to leave with no more than we’d taken before. Silently I moved around the family room deciding to take on one room at a time. There was only one thing in the room that needed to be kept. My mother had taken a small child rocking chair from her mother’s house, hoping it would stay in the family and be passed down through the eldest daughters. It was my responsibility to continue the tradition.

I started to move around the space checking the furniture and decorative items. We were going to complete a house sale following the cleansing. I had to not only mark prices on items but ensure they were in good condition.

The candlesticks on the mantle were large and heavy but ornamental. I lifted the large picture that sat opposite them. I could still remember the day I’d gone with my mother to the auction. She’d fallen in love with the image of the lone bird flying between the mountain tops and over the tall pines. I contemplated keeping the image, understanding the beauty of the piece in the vision of soaring above the world.

As I checked the frame and glass, just in case it stayed, a small piece of paper stuck in the back of the frame caught my eye. I pulled the paper from its hiding spot.

The last thing I expected to find were words written by me, by a future me. The introductory paragraph confirmed the identity by exposing a long held secret. But it was the words that followed that made me sit on the chocolate leather loveseat and nod my head knowing my future self was telling me something I needed to hear. My life was cyclical and I kept ignoring the simple truths in the note.

The message was simple.

Follow you dreams. Love with all your heart. Chase the ghosts in your closet. The skeletons are dead, but the ghosts need closure.

You will meet some wonderful people along the way. People who will become friends for life, but nothing more. They will serve a purpose as they did on those days when they took up residency.

Know that your life would never have been as fulfilling as it is on this course you are following. Your bucket list is far from compete, add those deep dreams you pretend to ignore and go check them off. No one will think any differently of you for ignoring what you see as responsibilities, remember you are the only one who looks at them that way.

Let life and fate carry you forward. Destiny will come to you whether you force the issue or sit back and enjoy the ride. Let me tell you the journey is the better part of the whole experience.

Oh and tell them the truth. They will not laugh but be honored that they were so much a part of your life. Tell them you loved them for a time.

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Notes from the Future (orig. May 10/12)

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