Words for Wednesday is provided by a number of people and has become a movable feast. Essentially the aim is to encourage you to write. Each week we are given a choice of prompts: which can be words, phrases, music or an image. What you do with those prompts is up to you: a short story, prose, a song, a poem, or ignoring them. You can use some or all of the prompts. Some put their creation in comments on the post and others post on their own blog. This month the prompts will be posted on Elephant's Child's blog, and photo prompts this week are provided by Margaret Adamson's friend Bill.
Last week's field trip to the circus had gone well, in spite of the fact that there were no camels to be seen. The children had been completely enthralled with the acrobats and high flying trapeze artists. Connie had actually enjoyed the clowns a bit more with their quiet storytelling.
It was now the week before Christmas, and all of the children were home on holiday break. Connie enjoyed her job, but also enjoyed the breaks to catch up on some of her own interests. She was still in the process of tracking down information on her ancestors but was not having too much luck. It seemed at times that every lead she got brought her to a dead-end, and she wondered if her dreams had simply been that and nothing more.
On a hunch, she was following another family branch that may have settled in Colorado chasing the gold rush and free land. She'd only left a note for Nick saying that she had gone to visit some out of town friends for two nights. It wasn't as if he would miss her. Since their fights a few weeks before, he had been spending more nights at the hospital than at home. She doubted he would even realize she was gone before she got home.
Parking her rental car to walk through the older section of town towards one of the historic cemeteries she had researched, Connie was enchanted by the city and its shops. She had already mentally checked off several she wanted to stop by again tomorrow before her flight home. Maybe she would be able to get some last minute Christmas shopping done. Glancing up at a sign on a door as she was walking, she stopped suddenly with a sense of déjà vu.
It was odd that even this late in December that there were flowers still blooming, and it was in that same moment she realized that she was no longer cold. Slowly turning around, she was astonished to see cars from an earlier era, as well as women wearing dresses she had only seen in fashion museums. She stepped back against the wall of the small jail, her hand to her mouth, trying to stop the panic that was rising within her. As she watched the scene before her quickly change to the present day fashions and vehicles, she felt lightheaded and nearly fell.
"Miss? Are you alright?"
She felt a strong hand grab her arm just as her knees buckled, holding her up. Looking up into eyes that seemed more familiar to her than her own, she gasped.
"Yes. No. I don't know. I just suddenly felt odd."
"Let me help you to a bench and you can sit down for a minute. How long have you been out in this cold? Would you like to get a cup of coffee to warm up? There is a shop just across the street."
"I don't know how long I've been out here. I was just walking to the cemetery. I'm parked right over there. Coffee would be good, I am very cold suddenly."
She allowed him to help her across the street and into the coffee shop, where they sat by the window. He ordered coffee for the both of them, and a bowl of their venison stew for her. When she protested that it was unnecessary, he insisted, saying that she looked pale and it would help her to feel better.
"I don't even know your name, and here you are buying me lunch."
"Well, it isn't exactly what I would consider a first date, but my name is Jonathan Snow. I'm principal at one of the middle schools here. If you don't mind me saying so, you seem a bit young to have family at that cemetery."
"I'm Connie Hopkins. I'm actually doing some research on my family tree and was hoping to find some of my ancestors here. I'm a middle school science teacher in Massachusetts."
"It is a pleasure to meet you, Miss Hopkins. Or is it Mrs?"
Connie hesitated. "Mrs. For now anyway. You said you were a principal here? You seem so familiar to me. Have you ever attended any conferences on the East Coast? Perhaps we've met before at one?"
Jonathan let her remark about her marital status slide and nodded his head.
"Actually, I have attended and spoken at several of them on the East Coast so it is possible we've met in passing. Are you considering relocating out west? Colorado has many excellent public, private, and charter schools."
"Oh, yes I had heard they did. I don't know right now what my plans are. I leave the day after tomorrow, and am really just chasing a dream."
Jonathan laughed. "All the gold is gone from these mountains now."
Connie smiled, "No, I was just hoping to find family. Somewhere I felt like I belonged. I've been having dreams about some of my ancestors that came from England on the Mayflower, and they seem to have been leading me west. But I guess I they were just crazy dreams after all."
As he reached over to put his hand over hers, Jonathan spoke softly, "Dreams aren't crazy if they help you to find your way. Perhaps you just need to give this one a little more time to guide you?"
Slowly pulling her hand from beneath his, Connie looked up thoughtfully. "Yes. Time can reveal many things. And speaking of which, I'm sure I have taken too much of your time. The stew was wonderful, thank you. I've never had venison before and it was amazing. But I do need to get going if I want to finish my research before I have to leave."
"Of course, I'll let you get back to your walk. I will have to look for you at the next conference I attend on the East Coast."
"I'd like that. I've really enjoyed talking with you."
They rose from the table and Jonathan paid the bill while Connie used the ladies room. When she came out, he was nowhere to be seen, and the young girl who had waited on them brought her a note.
"He said he had to get back, and asked me to give you this."