Ten Years From Now

Unhappily, this is a true story that, as of this writing, the ending of it is still playing out  yet to be known.

flowers and packing boxes Dale R.jpg

Photo by Dale Rogerson.  Thanks, Dale.


Joe looked at his four daughters eating breakfast at the table.

Five year-old Debbie asked him how old she would be in ten years.

Joe didn’t want to answer it. Stay strong!  No crying!  “Fifteen, sweetie.”

May Ann announced,  “I’m gonna be 18 and drive!  The baby’ll be ten, right Daddy?”

The phone rang.  Joe answered.  His wife’s lawyer on the other end.  “Joe!  Good news!  We got an appeal!  Jill won’t spend ten years in prison.  She’ll be treated at a mental health center and, since she’s pregnant …”

His voice faded.  Joe announced, “Girls, it’s about your mom …”


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61 Responses to Ten Years From Now

  1. James says:

    The fact that it’s true makes me really nervous.

  2. wmqcolby says:

    It might. However, it is a story that isn’t about divorce or death, but having family in prison.

  3. Like but don’t like. The back-story sounds really sad. That rather is going to need super-human courage and support.

  4. Moon says:

    I loved the picture of kids conversing with their father about growing up and by implication being something and going places, my 5 year old and my husband do it all the time and so I could relate to the ‘ no crying ‘ part too . I feel for Joe. Wonder what his wife did to deserve a 10 year sentence , can’t imagine a mother of three children murdering someone.
    Great story , Kent.

    • wmqcolby says:

      Thanks, Moon. No, fortunately no one was murdered, but a crime was still committed.

      As for the conversations, yes. I had it originally set up differently, but when I showed it to Rochelle before I posted, she said it didn’t work. I tried another approach. It worked!

  5. Dale says:

    Oh my goodness, Kent… this is a tough one….Especially as it is true. Now, ever the silver-lining kinda girl… better a mental health centre to visit Mom than prison…
    Well now… two submissions this week!

  6. Iain Kelly says:

    Great write Kent, such a powerful story thinking about the implications for so many lives affected by what will happen next.

    • wmqcolby says:

      Thanks, Iain. Like I just told Dale, it only takes, no matter how well-adjusted someone is, one stupid decision that pushes them over the edge. As for the real-life case, I don’t know how this will turn out.

  7. Dear Kent,

    This might be the best I’ve seen from you…ever. You’ve brilliantly captured the moment in Joe’s head and out of the mouths of babes. The girls’ questions seem natural, nothing forced. Knowing the situation as I do, this one crackled with pain and unasked questions. Well done, Cuz.

    Five out of five yofees.



  8. wmqcolby says:

    Toddah rabbah, Shelley. Thanks for tearing it apart and making me write it better, too.

    I’m sure you agree that we’re all suffering, but, as I told her former neighbor, we just need to get on with our own lives and deal with it the best way we can. Nothing’s “yofee” in life, neither are we. 😦

  9. granonine says:

    Since I work in mental health, this story really grabbed me. Such tragedy. But with a good and caring father, the girls still have a bright future.

  10. draliman says:

    Sad, especially as it’s true. And the kids, not knowing that this is all going on in the background, or at least not understanding the ramifications.

  11. Lynn Love says:

    This is so true of many ‘criminals’ though, isn’t it? One truly stupid misjudgement and your life is ruined, along with the lives of your family. I hope the real family can make it through together. Well written, Kent

    • wmqcolby says:

      Thanks, Lynn. The real family I haven’t heard from, nor has anyone else. The trial will be probably later this year. But, they also know we don’t throw our friends to the wolves. We’ll be there for the family, whatever they need.

  12. So well captured in so few words! Heartbreaking and very tough for a parent to handle..I am hoping they can all stay together and pull through despite the odds!

    • wmqcolby says:

      I’m sure they can, Esha. If you knew these people and what they’ve been through, they’ll come out the other end. It’s the waiting that hurts.

      Thanks for reading. 🙂

  13. I was sitting at that table and the grief was palpable. Great writing.

  14. wmqcolby says:

    Thanks, Tracey! I had a sort of gimmick for the story, but Rochelle said it didn’t work (actually, it would have worked only on a visual level). So, I re-wrote and it turned out nice. I went for the feelings. Usually, we deal with death or divorce but prison seems like we haven’t touched on the emotions of separation in that way.

  15. Life Lessons of a Dog Lover says:

    Oh this was a crushing story. There must be so much back story that lead to this tragedy. I hope all can stay strong through the coming years.

  16. wmqcolby says:

    Yes, there is definitely a lot of back story and it indeed must have pushed her over the edge. Fortunately no one was killed or hurt. But, the behavior is still breaking of the laws. We are going to be strong for her and her family.

  17. Varad says:

    Looks like the husband is a rock. Hope they get some good news.

  18. wmqcolby says:

    I hope so, too. He’s in the army, by the way.

  19. plaridel says:

    this is sad, but, hopefully, she gets as much breaks as she can under the circumstances.

  20. yarnspinnerr says:

    Brilliantly done. A word picture of psychological conundrum.

  21. wmqcolby says:

    Thank-you, Yarn! It’s pretty hard on families.

  22. Jelli says:

    Watching so many stories recently in the news about situations like this. It is scary and very hard on family. As a family member who has seen brothers, cousins go off to prison for extended periods I realize the depth of loss this story portrays. An entire childhood lost to the parent, and entire life without a parent…

    • wmqcolby says:

      You are so right, Jell. People are in jail for various reasons and, I guess the best way to deal with it is to be there for people who need that love and support.

  23. This is heart-breaking. I hope it ends well for everyone.

  24. Oh, so very disturbing, especially since it’s a true ongoing story. Hope everything is improving for them!😢

  25. Sometimes adults mess it up for kids!😢

  26. Having read so much about mental health in non-fiction and fiction lately I have to take a step back knowing blame cannot be affixed so easily. Fortunately we’re in a different world than we were not so long ago where judgement would lead before understanding. A good story, which makes me sad, but hopeful, for all involved.

  27. wmqcolby says:

    Yeah, sometimes it’s hard to make a decision as to what is right and just versus what is merciful. It has made me take a good, hard look at reality.

  28. Sandra says:

    That is tough all round. Everybody suffers in such cases. Good one, Kent.

  29. Such a difficult time for all concerned, especially the Dad. Coping with a family member in prison is tough. So tough.

  30. wmqcolby says:

    Yes, it very much is. Everyone here at FF Central has written about death and divorce, but not much about prison separation. It is tough on people, you’re right, Kelvin. It really is. Thanks for reading.

  31. subroto says:

    Very tough situation to be in. I once read a harrowing report of medical neglect and brutal mistreatment of pregnant inmates that occur even in US prisons. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

  32. I’m mega impressed with this story, Kent, and it really leaves me wanting the backstory. I like how you’ve used a bit of what seems like everyday family chitchat, which is then thrown in the air by the phone call.

  33. Wow..I feel for the dad. Even though she won’t be going to prison he has a lot on his plate.

  34. wmqcolby says:

    He certainly does, doesn’t he?

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