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Hope: Find Me Please
As I sit here right now, holding onto my dear daughter. I can’t remember a time when we were happier. My name is James, and I am a single father, I have been for what seems to be a good part of my baby girl’s life. Life wasn’t always this easy though, a few years ago, I couldn’t even imagine this as a reality for us. I sit on my couch, holding my dear Alicia in my lap, watching a movie with her. Back then we didn’t even have a television, now we own ourselves a fairly decent sized apartment. But I can still remember those times vividly, still fresh in my mind.
There were few things I could hold onto back then, few things I could really believe in. I could believe in my daughter Alicia’s smiling face, and I could believe in the fact that I knew death was inevitable. I could only love my daughter, and I couldn’t believe in hope anymore. My wife Samantha had left me when I was laid off from my job at the insurance company I worked at. I was a man who was qualified, graduated a good college…but couldn’t get a job. Not today, but I would hope that someday soon a job would be easier to get. I can’t even go explain how many job interviews I failed, and how much it hurt every time I got that same apologetic phone call. Now I could barely provide for my daughter, my beautiful seven year old daughter, eight in three weeks…I didn’t know what kind of birthday I could give her. At that point in time, it had been almost two years since I lost my job.
Now I will say this isn’t a sad story; this isn’t a story that I’m afraid to tell anybody. It’s a story about how I regained a belief in hope a belief in the fact that human beings could be good, and that kindness wasn’t false. This was three years ago when this happened, and it might be the only reason that I’m here now.
I’d walked into the gas station one day, hoping that I might be able to find some milk there that was cheaper than at my local grocery store. Just milk and some cereal. Which sometimes it seemed became breakfast, lunch and dinner. I think Alicia thought of it as a sort of game, but I knew long ago…life was no game. Not even close.
Alicia wasn’t trailing long behind me, and it hurt, to see her looking over all those candy bars. I could tell that she wanted one, but I knew that I couldn’t afford something…even that small. I needed to watch everything I had, and make sure we could live through another month, another two weeks…days even. She looked up at me with those big blue eyes, big blue eyes that were full of the hope that I had lost long ago. But I had to clench my teeth, and shake no. My own eyes, blue like hers, broken and shattered. And I could see as I shook my head, her eyes broke a bit…but she still smiled.
“It’s alright Daddy.” She said, as she reached up and took my hand, “I love you.” She said, and I could barely keep from clutching my heart, but I stood and just walked back.
That was when I saw something out of the corner of my eye, a movement. A girl, a teenager…just staring at me. Maybe she could see the pain, the brokenness in my eyes. But I knew she sensed something. Sympathy in the eyes that stared back at me. She walked over to my daughter, and sunk down onto her knees.
“Sweetie…would you like a candy bar?” she asked, as my daughter looked up at me again, as if asking if it were alright to say yes.
“Go ahead Alicia…” I muttered, letting go of my little girl’s hand, as the older girl took it, and lead her over to the candy section. I could tell this girl wouldn’t hurt my baby, otherwise I could have never let go of her hand. I watched as the girl bought my daughter a Milky Way bar, her favorite. It had been, since Samantha bought her one when she was even younger.
“Daddy she bought me a milky way bar!” sang Alicia, as she ran over, a brighter smile on her face. I could see what that girl did right then, healed the shattered hope that had shown in my baby’s face before. What surprised me next was what the girl did, running off into the back of the station, and going to pay for something.
“Here…” she said, as she held a bag out to me, and hightailed it out of the gas station. Maybe she was embarrassed; maybe she was afraid I wouldn’t accept what she had given me.
Glancing down into the bag in my hands, my tired eyes went wide. There was milk, toothpaste and a few bags of chips in the bag. Not much, but for me…for my baby and me, that was enough.
A few later, I snagged a job working in another insurance company. Maybe it was because of that girl, maybe because of her, I had been more energetic, happier. Maybe the people, who interviewed me, could see the hope in my eyes.
I will never know for sure why I got the job; all I will know is that I’ll thank that girl. Nobody had showed me that much kindness before. I wish I knew her name, I wish that I could thank her now, and pay her back for what she did for me. That girl rekindled my faith in this world, and my ability to believe and hope. I will owe that girl my happiness, and forever, remember the day she turned my life back around.