where the writers are
Red Sky At Morning

It is nine days before Christmas. You wake up to see from your bed a gorgeous pink sky. You know it will rain today; your speech therapist Miss Neill used to say "Red Sky at Morning, Sailor warning. Red Sky at night, sailor delight." You get an invitation from an old friend inviting you to Chuck E. Cheese for her son's birthday party. Although you would love to see this friend and brave Chuck E. Cheese, you have plans this weekend to see another friend then go to an early Christmas party. You write her back, asking if  you two can do coffee the next couple of days.

You have a lot to do today; Christmas shopping, plus your mother bought a bookshelf at the Goodwill and you need to help her get it home. You need to find those missing in action DVD's from the library. You need to pay Comcast. You need to get things done. You procrastinate a lot. You know this. You need to work on this issue. It's a good resolution for 2013.

You drink white hot chocolate and eat a bagel. You are forty years old; hair was trimmed last week and you are losing weight. You also need to go through your closet and get rid of your extra large clothes. You need to get a lot of things done, you think again as you eat and drink. It will all get done. After you watch some old Hee Haw clips.

You go on facebook and see that there's a shooting in Connecticut at an elementary school. Bad words are floating in your head. If you said them aloud, you will sound like a person with Tourette's. One person dead. You mumble something on facebook. You're broke right now, otherwise you'd go to a movie like you did when the shootings happened in Aurora. You managed to go see Moonrise Kingdom. If Wes Anderson was in the theater, you would've French kissed him for making a perfect movie and taking
your mind off men women and children in another movie theater waiting for the lights to go
dark.  But no, you've got to get things done.

You get the car washed, you
vaccum. You don't listen to the radio. You get groceries. Your mother turns on the radio. They
report that eighteen children were killed along with nine adults. You start to cry. The internal
Tourette's goes again in your head.

You pick up the bookshelf and head for home.
You know what is coming. You've seen it many times in your life. The mayor and a city
supervisor in San Francisco was killed by a gun when you were six. When you were eight
President Reagan and the Pope were shot a month apart. You were in Catholic school. You
prayed for both of them. You know about President Kennedy and his brother were shot too.
Rose Kennedy prayed every day. That kept her going, her faith. When you get older you envy
her faith. You've seen so  many times on the news people killing people: An airstrip in
Guyana. A cafeteria in Texas. A high school in Colorado. A college in Virginia. A Safeway in
Arizona. At Mills, sometimes from your dorm room, you hear gunshots.

In high
school you wonder at times if Veronica and JD were on to something when they started killing
their classmates in Heathers. It's not like you hate anyone with a passion, they
just work your nerves. Like the boys who make the girl with Down's Syndrome dance on a bus
coming back from Senior Picnic. Or the jock two grades ahead of you who tried to kill his
girlfriend yet got to stay in school with her and hey, was nominated for homecoming king. Yet you know you won't do it. You've got a nice shiny future in front of you. You're going to be a writer. You're going to be like Danielle Steel, live in a big fancy mansion and never have to worry about money.  You try to be like Jennifer Niven once wrote: A soldier, just trying to get by.

You come home. You have lunch. You know everything will be interupted for this. You flash to when the Challenger exploded and for days afterwards you say it explode to a Y of smoke. You remember when the twin towers fell down. You see the children running from the parking lot. One of them looks like your niece. She is in Australia for the holidays. At her mother's and my old school, a pipe bomb was found. You wonder if the Duggars and Quinn Cummings were on to something when it comes to homeschooling.

You put on the news. You don't dare say anything on twitter. You don't want to hear you're a bitch or a traitor. All you can do is cry. You are very tired of guns. You don't want to debate the issue. You get it, it's the second amendment. You don't want to talk about it now.

Outside it is gray. You make sure your cats are in the house. You eat chocolate. You think about this weekend: you will hug your nephews and cousin; she's a teacher. You will listen to her father in law play the accordion. You will eat and laugh. You will try and not think about what happened. You will try and not remember what Miss Neill said all those years ago, when you talked about the pink sky that blew you away when you saw it that morning: Red sky in the morning. Sailor Warning.

Comments
3 Comment count
Comment Bubble Tip

I want to tell you how

I want to tell you how beautiful, touching and upsetting your piece is but those just aren't the right words. Actually, there is nothing I can say that wouldn't sound trite. 

 I just wish I could be there, squeeze your hand, and allow myself to cry.

 

Comment Bubble Tip

thanks Katherine...

I just wish I didn't have to write it.

 

Jennifer Gibbons, Red Room

Comment Bubble Tip

You are very tired of guns...

Jennifer, I am very sorry you had to write this. mx