Snapshots of a small town: Heart of an Activist (fiction)

4th episode in the Snapshots of a Small Town series

Looking out my window, I am mesmerized by the smooth water reflecting back the early morning shades of pink and orange. As I enjoy my first cup of coffee, I just stare at the view. I glance at my computer in the next room, ignoring its’ silent pull. Just a few more sips. I need a few more sips.

My son runs through the room, arms stretched wide, and clearly lost in his own world of make believe. I suppose I should make him sit down and eat breakfast but that will ruin my own fairy tale world – one that is full of beauty and light and endless cups of coffee.

“Mommy, I’m hungry. What’s for breakfast?” Little Ben huffs barely stopping long enough to ask.

I just stare at him not wanting to break my moment, still lost in the dream.

Slowly I pulled myself up, looking at him as if he had an order ticket attached to his forehead and pulled together his breakfast. A blue yogurt, cup of dry cereal, and glass of milk later, he was off and running again and the thoughts of what I needed to do had won over. Armed with a second cup of coffee, I turned on my computer. Paying the bills and running a virus scan, I enjoyed my coffee for a few seconds more.

Finally, I opened my social media sites, and sorted through the comments deciding on which ones to post and which to ignore. People liked to complain. They liked it a lot. My job had become sorting through petty complaints. Everyone expected me to solve all the problems. I started Save Our Town to stop the town council from putting money over what was best for the town. Things like building a large hotel, shops, and condo area off of a two-lane road with a traffic light only at one intersection. Why would you build something like that in a small town without first working on the infrastructure? Why would you build something like that in a small-town period? Lately, comments like “Rachel quit while your ahead.”and “Rachel – take care of your own” started popping up. My email was even worse, with anonymity fueling unguarded hate. I pulled back my dark should-length hair and secured it with a hair band before reaching for the phone, prompted by the last message I read that I have no desire to repeat. The police or Richard, I contemplated as I looked at my phone and then back at the computer screen.

“Richard? Good morning.” I tried unsuccessfully to stop my voice from quivering.

“Good morning, Rachel. What’s wrong?” asked Richard with concern. A concern that was born from knowing the people of the town for his entire life.

“The threats are still happening and have gotten worse. Should I call the police?”

“Are you going to be home for awhile?” asked Richard.

“Yes”

“Let me talk to the police chief and get back to you.” Richard said. I felt more secure knowing that Richard was helping take care of the problems. There was something very lonely about having so many people thinking they knew you. They knew you well enough to think threats and bullying were okay, if that is knowing a person.

I looked out of the front staring at the car parked in front of my house until it blurred, when Skeeter rolled by. I couldn’t help but smile when I noticed how liberated he seemed in his new smart chair. Ben loved sitting in his lap and riding through the neighborhood. That chair could really fly and for a moment, my thoughts did too.

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