Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Curves.

I’m a nervous empath today. I don’t like this feeling. Something’s going on today, something that built up to a fever  pitch  around  3 PM.  It’s still  going  strong.  But  I don’t know what.

The Long-Awaited Honest-to-God Secret to Being Happy

It doesn’t affect any changes today. I know that much.

But it  affects  the  future.  Not  this  week  or  even  this month, but six months down the road? Yes. Certainly by then.

It has to do with my home in the future, my job, my life with the girls. I think it has to do with Eglin Air Force Base and what all the Generals are saying about the Test Wing moving elsewhere, most likely California. This feeling says it’s personal but bigger than me and mine. It ex- tends throughout this community, and the sense is one of oppression, heaviness, stagnation, deep anxiety. The feeling has to do  with finances,  the economy,  hard times, heaviness.

Maybe that’s a hurricane.  Is one forming somewhere right now? Is it the worries of the ordinary employees on Eglin? Is it something else?

The feeling strengthened  to the point of being very uncomfortable around 2 PM when Aislinn and I headed out for cleaning supplies and some school supplies. The whole  way,  Aislinn  kept  talking  about  feeling  like  she needed to get away from here. In the next year. I felt it, too.

By 3 PM, I didn’t think I could stand it any longer. The agitation of the people around us, the people in the stores, on the street, on the sidewalk. I’ve been picking it up everywhere, enough so to cut short the shopping trip and tell Aislinn I had to get out of there and back to the solitude of home and go for a walk to ground myself. We weren’t able to leave for another 30 minutes, and I felt I would crawl out of my skin before we made it to the car.

The General’s told us not to worry, but in a way that has a lot of folks scared to death. He admonished us for being  concerned   about   our   futures  and  listening   to “rumors,” this in a lengthy email which we’re not to for- ward outside official channels, but much of its contents were published in the local newspaper, which I doubt was on his distribution list.

My personal  opinion of the email? It was the most condescending  letter  I’ve  read  in a long  time, perhaps ever. We  all see  things,  hear  things.  We all talk  about those things, too, and what we fear, especially when we’re told not to burn up any brain cells on the possibilities of a major  blow  to  the  local  economy  and—paraphrasing here—to sit down, shut up, and color.

It doesn’t  help  that  I  dreamed  last  night  that  the “rumors” are true and that I was given a specific number of jobs that would be lost overall, not identical to what’s been stated in the local paper. I was shown people moving, leaving the area, and new people coming in but in much  lower  paying  jobs  and  living  in  the  Crestview- Mossy Head area where housing is cheaper. I was shown things I didn’t understand.

“It feels like people are evacuating,”  Aislinn said to

me at 3:30 PM, on our way home.

She’s right. That’s exactly the feeling in the air. Like there’s  a  terrible  storm  coming  and  people  are  afraid. They don’t know how bad it’ll be or exactly where it’ll hit. They’re assessing  whether  they  need  to  flee  or if they have time and resources to hunker down.

All the things I’ve been feeling today, Aislinn repeats back to me,  with surprising  similarity.  We return home and Shannon notes her own high level of anxiety today. She can’t tie it to anything in particular, but it’s in the air.

Like dust. Or ash.


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