Happy holidays! Whether it was bright and full of joy and family and love or full of challenge and struggle and reconnection with toxic people, or somewhere in the middle, I hear you. As we grow up, holidays can be really challenging in many aspects, and hold plenty of joy and wonder as well.
No matter what I’m feeling, I find holidays can be a time when I think I’m going to get SO MUCH DONE and then never do, because it’s hard to set a schedule and easy to just go along with what other people are doing. So I’m a few days late on my visual writing prompt. Only one week in and I’m already messing up a bit. But for me, these days, the key to success is not to do it in a certain timeframe necessarily, it’s just getting my butt into the chair and doing it, eventually, one way or another, one time step at a time.
Anyways, this is not a personal update, this is a writing prompt post! So let’s have a visual writing prompt.
Visual Writing Prompt:
If you want to write your own piece without my story influencing your choices, stop at the photo below and come back when your done!
If you write something inspired by this piece, please share some of it below, whether it’s a line you love or the entire thing!
I love to hear the different ways we bring our own stories to everything we create, building something truly unique.
CONTENT WARNING: Depiction of depressive episode
The Blizzard of Hazel Moon
The snow glints in the afternoon light, hazy and gray. Hazel sits on the floor, their back to the wall, legs outstretched. The living room seems to expand around them. Their head lolls to one side as they think, chewing on the inside of their cheek.
The snow used to be something Hazel thought was beautiful and mesmerizing. Their dad would take them out for a walk as the flakes drifted down and their eyes would get lost in the lamp light glittering off the flakes as they danced in the air.
But this year, Hazel thinks, but they stop themselves before they can keep diving into their memory, before they can unearth the why of it all.
When you buzz the doorbell, Hazel doesn’t get up from their spot on the floor, doesn’t move.
No food in the fridge, Hazel thinks to themselves.
The high pitched whine of the doorbell cuts through the silent apartment. It should set Hazel’s teeth on edge, sent them jumping into the air to open it.
It kept squealing, nails on a chalkboard.
You won’t just give up, Hazel thought.
But it keeps buzzing.
Eventually, the knocking comes.
“Hazel, please just let me in.” Your voice is clear, like you are standing right there, in that living room, in that dark. Hazel could almost see you, standing there, looking down at them. “I’m not giving up,” You kept banging on the door, knocking so hard it rattled in it’s frame.
“Can you please just let me in? I’m going to wake the neighbors.”
I really don’t care. Wake the fucking neighbors.
The knocking stops.
The light in the room grows darker. The snow falls in clumps now, no more than centimeters apart from each other, like there isn’t enough space in the sky for all of them.
“Hazel. I’m sorry,” you say.
Hazel keeps their eyes on the flakes, following one from the top of the window all the way down to the bottom, then picking a new one and starting over. The tingling in their back grows, losing feeling in one butt-cheek and then the other, but still Hazel can’t find the energy to stand.
“I didn’t understand what you were saying,” you say, your voice floating to Hazel on the draft that always courses through that old apartment building. “I was so ready to feel angry and rejected that I couldn’t hear what you were saying over the sound of my own stupidity.”
All you have to do is go away and this can be over, Hazel thinks, their eyes getting heavy as their body becomes too uncomfortable to bear.
“I’m not going anywhere,” you say like you can hear their thoughts. “I’m going to wait here until you let me in. I need to know your okay.”
I’m not okay. That’s the whole point. Have you not seen the snow?
“Hazel, just open the door,” you say.
The silence falls between you, crisp and cold. Hazel clenches their hand and unclenches it, pressing it firmly to the ground. Their chest rises and falls in a slow steady rhythm.
“Look Hazel,” you say through the door, “I thought it was an excuse. With everyone else, there’s always been an excuse. But I should have known you were telling me the truth. I never should have doubted you.”
Outside the door Hazel hears your heavy sigh.
“But when you tell someone in casual conversation, ‘hey! I have clinical depression and my moods affect the weather,’ its not easy to take in as the truth.” You laugh nervously.
It wasn’t casual conversation.
Hazel had put so much effort into that night, cleaned their apartment, meditated, cooked, taken all of their meds, everything to make sure that it would be a beautiful night. Hazel remembered thinking that maybe, if they could control everything else, they could convince you it was true, that they weren’t crazy. Well not any more crazy than they actually are. The thunderstorm that had drenched you on the way home, while Hazel angrily cleaned up the dishes hadn’t convinced you of anything at the time.
“It wasn’t until I sat down and thought about it. Remember that time at the bowling alley, when I had to talk you into even leaving the house? And outside it was so foggy, we could barely see a foot in front of us. I thought maybe, if you could control the weather, that was your way of continuing to drag your heels all the way there. But later that day, when we were having fun, it was sunny and warm when we left. Which is normal I mean heat burns off the fog and it was a warm day in November, that’s not unheard of. But on the way home, we got into another fight, the same one we always got into. Only this time, instead of getting mad, you got quiet, and within moments, it was snowing. It had been seventy degrees out minutes earlier and yet it was snowing outside. These giant flakes that were big enough to catch on your tongue. I remember you just staring off into the distance, watching the snow fall. I dropped you off at home, and I couldn’t get a hold of you for days. It just snowed and snowed and it felt like it would never end, until one day, I woke up, and it had stopped snowing. The sun tried to break through the clouds later and finally you called me back. And we moved on like nothing ever happened.”
Hazel stares out at the snow, pressing their palms against the hardwood floor. The shooting pain of moving their numbing body spreads through them like an electric shock.
I tried to forget that day, that week.
The news forecast filters through the walls from the apartment next door. The nasal voice calls this another unprecedented weather event, completely unexplainable, however, they expect it to last only through the night.
Not if I have anything to do about it, Hazel thinks.
The apartment is nearly dark now, except for the light of the street lamps reflecting off the new fallen snow. The orange lamplight gives the room a warmth that Hazel had always loved.
You are not dead yet. You could be. There are so many times you could have died already and yet, here you are.
You’d gone quiet outside the door. Hazel gropes for the coffee table, trying to haul themselves up off the ground. All the strength they ever had seems to be gone.
“You’ve been one of the good things in my life Hazel. Even on bad days I want to be with you. I’m sorry I didn’t believe you. Let me help. Please.” You rattle the door handle, checking to make sure it’s locked.
And then the latch clicks.
The snowfall slows ever so slightly, giving space to the other snowflake to dance their dance, falling in a ever-so-slightly widening arc.