Killing frost


All the experts tell you to put back a couple of months salary as emergency money, you know, just in case. I never expected my “just in case.” Life was good. I wasn’t part of the 1%, but I was comfortable. Debt was under control, I didn’t live beyond my mean. Hell, I still reused plastic margarine tubs for gawdsake.

It began with a serious illness in the boss’ family, then they decided to shut the office down. I had, maybe, a week’s notice. I expected to stay with the company until I retired, but that was supposed to be a few years away, not a few days.

Then, I found out the family had siphoned off employee-tax deductions to pay their medical bills, so none of us had a stake in unemployment benefits. There was nothing in savings and only enough in checking to last me until pay-day… which wasn’t coming.

A brutal assessment of my available assets wasn’t encouraging. I had a little equity in my home, so I sold it and found a smaller place to rent. I gave up some of my luxuries. Cable canceled. I’ve let my hair go natural, and I do my own manicures. Reliving my college days subsisting on ramen and mac-n-cheese isn’t ideal, but I’m not starving.

As the weeks tick by, finding a replacement job has been as futile as a quest for the Holy Grail. No one wants to hire someone my age. I’m overqualified for everything, but I can’t even get Wal-mart to give me a call back.

I burned through my merger resources more quickly than I planned and lost my home. I found a shelter, but was only allowed to stay a couple of days. Now I’m back on the street.

When things were good, I remember reading in the local paper that when nighttime temperatures fell below a certain level, designated community churches open to shelter the homeless. It’s growing colder every day, and I walk the city noting where these shelters are.

The first day of winter weather wasn’t too bad. It was cold, but I still have a blanket and sturdy boots. Yesterday, clouds rolled in and temperatures fell dangerously low. Considering how my life’s been going lately, seems fitting that tonight’s forecast for a hard freeze reminds me of a Shakespearean tragedy. “The third day comes a frost, a killing frost.”

Week 45: Inspired by “The third day comes a frost, a killing frost.” – William Shakespeare

NaBloPoMo 5/30

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I believe all good fiction includes an element of truth, and all good photography includes an element of fantasy. In this journal I hope to give voice to the stories swirling around in my head, and to capture the images I see through my camera’s lens.

13 thoughts on “Killing frost

  1. The thing is…. I felt like I was reading my life for the first part of it.. I had a job where I worked there for over 20 years. I had savings for a few months. I never thought the two owners would fight and destroy the company laying off everyone except for two employees! I had never been on unemployment before… I’m extremely fortunate that my husband makes decent money and that we have our bills tightly under control, otherwise… we would be living with our parents.


  2. It hits hard because you make it so personal, talking in the first person, and so plausible. It could happen to anyone and too many of us are balancing on a line just before it. A post-modern horror story. 🙂


  3. Great writing, I didn’t want it to end either. Made me think of people at the Community Center here in town, people I saw at their Feed the Hungry event. It could so easily have been any of them, it could have been me, it could still be me. You pulled me right in Tara.


  4. It’s a fear that all of us have in this day and age, in this economy, in this world where we want instant gratification and spend money too easily. I still feel so much guilt about going into debt to have the babies, I think about NOT having them and NOT having debt..and I can’t breath because without that debt I wouldn’t have them. My very own catch 22.


  5. I honestly didn’t want to read it, I kept thinking about stopping. It’s too hard, too close to the things that have hurt our family, too close to where we could have been if not for the kindness and generosity and plain dumb luck that kept us afloat.


    1. This is one of my biggest fears. We’re only a one income family, if something were to happen to the Mr’s job, we would be SOL very quickly. Lucky for us, we also have family we could count on for help.


  6. Great writing! I really enjoyed this post. In the last two paragraphs I could hear the speaker trying to convince themselves that everything would work out, that everything would be alright but knowing that it wouldn’t be.


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