I Found Hope

April 29, 2018
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The winds, though they’re constantly changing, always make me feel the same. I listen to her whispers, her silent cries, as she listens to mine. It has never been a superior quality of mine to describe the delusions in my mind, and I’ve yet to find someone with a gift of complete understanding. The only entity I have discovered that is as complex as me is nature in its entirety.
I stroll upon this pier occasionally when I get overwhelmed and perplexed with my thoughts, and with the faint laughs of children, the chilling winds sending me a sandy breeze, the billows of the sea rolling in on the shore; my mind, if only for a moment or two, is at ease. I brush off the salty sand that was blown upon my lips and inhale a deep breath of fresh air. I cannot recall just how long I’ve been perched along the vast sea. Time has always seemed so strange to me, for a second turns to a minute, and a minute turns into an hour. Where does past time vanish to? There are some things I’ll never comprehend.
I stare off into the distance, focusing directly on consistent waves crashing through a massive rock. It seems so indescribably beautiful… that is, until I observe closer. Dried off seaweed clings desperately to the side of the boulder, sprinkles of seagulls waste decorates the surface, and spurts of algae are growing immensely from every angle. I give off a small sigh as I pull out my journal and pen from my bag, and write down:

The more you stare at something
The uglier it gets
I can see
Right through the lies
All the mistakes and regrets
Of each and every disguise
I cannot let
My eyes deceive me

I review my messy handwritten words through the blur of my tears, and suddenly arise from the bench. I gather up my belongings and follow the path that leads down the beach. Within seconds, sand gathers up beneath my feet, so I kick off my flip flops and continue barefoot. I venture closer to the ocean, waiting for the chill that's climbing down my spine to pass.
Though the high winds seem unforgiving, the sun is bold and beams down upon me, warming my fair skin. It glares through the patches of clouds in the sky and casts a thin shadow beside me. The sun is another mystery to me. I remember learning that the sunlight travels at the speed of light. The rays take an average of 8 minutes and 20 seconds to reach the surface of earth. I smile to myself as I realize that I’m walking in the sun’s past.
My brain suddenly feels so heavy inside my head, and the memories of last night that I tried so hard to forget comes pouring back, sticking to me like tar. I cannot tell if my heart is as empty as his promises or broken like the mug that slipped through my fingers this morning. His booming voice that was overcome with terrifying anger and a slamming door are stuck rewinding in my mind. He’s gone, I think to myself.
After all this time, believing in the lies he fed to me, telling me how sick my mother is, how mentally ill I am, he left us. He walked out through the back door late in the night with a pillow and his last case of beer, and I don’t know if I’ll ever see him again.
Through my foggy mind, I remind myself, He’s the sick one. You will be better off without him around. You and Mom never needed him. But how can I ever believe myself? He told me once to never trust anyone, especially me. I suppose I should’ve kept that in mind when he told me he loves me, that he’ll always be here for me, since mom could hardly care for herself.
I don’t know how I will be without a father around anymore, but although this breaks my heart, I hope I never see him again.
I collapse onto the sand and sigh loudly, when out of the corner of my eye, I see an elderly lady approaching towards me. She wears a long white dress with floral printing dancing around the fabric and a thin black cardigan that floats back in the wind like a cape. Her grey, dried out hair is tied up in a long french braid, and she has bulky round glasses resting on her face. This lady may be aged, but I can already tell she has youth running through her veins.
I smile at her as she gently drops down to the sand and sits next to me. I turn to greet her.
“Hello miss,” I say to her. She doesn’t look at me, and she keeps staring out into the horizon.
“It’s quite windy out her, isn’t it dear?” She finally says after a few long moments. “It’s difficult to see clearly, with the sun shining down on your face, and the wind blowing sand in your eyes.”
“I suppose it is. I guess, much like my vision, my head wasn’t clear when I left my house this morning. I forgot my sunglasses.” I look down at my hands, and questions start flooding my mind. “Who are you? Have we met before?” A large cloud blocks the sun’s ray and the cold winds chills me.
“It has been years since I last checked up on you, dear. You may not recall meeting me before, but I know you very well.”
Usually I would be terrified of a stranger approaching me like this. I should be weirded out by this odd woman talking to me, but something about her feels comforting, maybe even safe.
“What’s your name?” I ask as I squint through the beaming sun.
“My name is Hope,” She answers and smiles at me. A cold shiver races through my whole body.
“We have the same name?” I frown, feeling more confused than ever. She disregards my question and continues to talk.
“My eyes used to have the same filter as you. Everything was black and white, blurry and unclear. The clouds are stormy and grey, but the sun will always shine through eventually.”
As if on cue, the monstrous dark cloud that was blocking the sun floated away, and sunlight pours down upon us. Tears gather together behind my eyes once again, and I accidentally let one fall. I quickly wipe it away, but I know this lady already saw it.
“It may not seem like it, but things will be okay,” she assures as me puts a comforting hand on my shoulder. “It’s not easy staying hopeful in what appears to be a hopeless world, but even earth has a mask. Behind that mask, and behind yours, is breathtakingly beautiful things, my dear.”
“How do you know so much about me?” I ask, curiosity weighing my thoughts down.
“You will find that we are very similar, Hope.” She turns away to grab something out of the pocket of her cardigan, which seems to be a case for glasses. She pops the case open, removes her own glasses from her face, and gently places them inside. Without skipping a beat, she hands the case over to me.
“Maybe, my dear, you just need to see things in a different way.” I can sense her trying to make eye contact with me, but I cannot tear my sight away from the case. It’s matte black all around, but is engraved with golden markings that I’ve never seen before. I’m entirely mesmerized by bright squiggles and waves decorating the dark surface.
“Are you sure you want me to take your glasses, miss? Don’t you need them?”
“They are not solely for vision,” she explains. “Just try them on.”
I do as she tells me, and push the thick and heavy glasses up to my eyes. My view of the ocean starts to falter, and my eyesight starts getting blurry. A terrifying wave of panic washes over me, but there’s something keeping me from ripping the glasses right off of my face. I start slipping into darkness, but there’s a dull light ahead. The deeper I fall, the brighter it gets until eventually I’m almost completely blinded.
Two distant figures start to focus ahead of me. They’re sitting at a table with two mugs in front of them, and soon I can tell they’re inside of a coffee shop. I hear a tune, showering the room with pleasant hums and ukulele chords. Dishes clatter in the kitchen behind them and echoes of stranger’s conversations mix in with their own. I smell the warm and welcoming scent of hot coffee and freshly baked goods. The figures grab each other's hands, and I can feel complete love and admiration radiating from the both of them.
Right as they’re leaning in close to each other, my vision blurs out the calm setting, turning the site into a white void, and the sounds into white noise. When my eyes clear up once again, I can tell I’m sitting in an huge auditorium. There must be thousands of people around me, staring up at a gigantic stage. Towards the front are hundreds of figures in caps and gowns all taking their turn to walk up to graduate. A more lively figure glows brighter than the others, so that’s where I keep my eyes. My name is called, and my heart drops into my stomach as I hear my mother cheering by the side of the stage. That glowing figure is me, and as I watch myself accept what must be my college diploma and run into my mother’s arm, I finally understand.
My vision flashes more quickly and painlessly now as my surroundings fade back to the beach, except there are multiple rows of white chairs gathered on each side of a wide isle overly covered with flower petals. Familiar faces are all around me staring behind them. I follow their glances, and see an older version of myself dressed in crystal white wedding dress. I am arm in arm with a man in a tuxedo, and lose my breath when I see that it is my father.
I am suddenly thrown back into reality and my head is pounding violently. I’m so entirely baffled that it takes me a moment to realize the shaky tears and sobs leaving me. I remove the glasses and turn my head to the old woman, but she’s no longer beside me.
I cannot even begin to try to comprehend what had just happened to me, so I lay down on the sand. My breathing starts to steady and I wipe away the tears. I notice that the harsh winds had vanished, along with all the dark clouds. The sun is no longer entrapped by the clouds, and neither am I. It may take a few moments to feel her direct rays of light, but the sun will never stop shining.
I examine the glasses for a while until I work up enough courage to put them on again, but nothing happens when I finally do. However, things aren’t so blurry anymore, and the world around me is much more clear. I hear a familiar sound approaching, and turn to see two children laughing as they toss broken seashells into the tides. A woman shouts for them to hurry along back to the car. A flock of seagulls swoops down onto the boulder together, sharing a piece of bread from a sandwich they must have stolen. My cell phone rings and buzzes obnoxiously in my bag, and although I ignore it, I already know it is my mom. I rise from the ground with my bag around my shoulder and retrieve my flip flops. I push the glasses securely on my face, and follow a clear path home.





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