Welcome back, my wonderful readers!
For those of you who have been waiting for the conclusion of Hope, the time has come! For those of you who haven’t had a chance to read it yet, just scroll on down to the previous post:)
But be forewarned, this might be a tear-jerker;)
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From an all-encompassing bright light came a sign of life in the form of tree branches stretching far and wide, so thick with leaves that one could only wonder of nature’s community which lived inside.
Throughout the canopy hung round balls of delight, for within these husks lived the deliciously versatile walnut.
Beneath this massive display of Mother Nature’s beauty stood a thick trunk, holding it all up with such dignified strength.
“Mom, where are we?”
“I don’t know, Hope.”
All of a sudden, with what seemed like the same amount of force as the impact which had brought them here, the razor-sharp blade of a whizzing axe on the downswing came slicing through the trunk’s bark, imbedding about a half foot into it.
The shock from such a violet action shook Hope to her core, but what core? As she felt the imposing energy reverberate she wondered if they were indeed dead.
The only thing she did know for sure was the pain she felt for the beautiful walnut tree, the wondrous structure losing its majestic towering presence with every swing of the axe.
Or was such a feeling just empathy?
The more she thought about it, felt about it, the clearer a new perspective began to emerge. Despite being chopped down it still seemed to have a purpose, perhaps a new purpose. A sense that would prove true within a moment of the grand tree timbering over and hitting the ground at their feet.
The ripple of energy echoing throughout their beings held the ability to transport the two ahead in time, to a montage of sorts, the massive trunk being stripped of its bark, cut into sections and reassembled in a way that began to form a rectangular box.
The more the new purpose of this splendid tree took on its new shape the more familiar it became to both mother and daughter, and by the time the details were being put into place—the motif, the etchings, the pearls—such intricacies were accompanied by the sound of innocence, the purest form of humankind…
The cry of a newborn baby.
Both Hope and Denise stood from their positions of observation as a father guided his wife and their precious newborn in her arms towards the chest. The chest of Hope and Denise’s family history, its origins beginning here with this young couple.
Then returned the ripples of time, through its montage of story aging the parents as the child grew into a young woman, a few siblings now by her side.
She was soon joined by a partner, a baby of their own coming into being not long thereafter.
With another generation came the passing of the first, still there in spirit, there to bear witness, along with Denise and Hope, as the chest was passed down to each first daughter, the leaves and branches of this family tree growing ever so much more as surroundings changed, as time passed.
Time that brought about inevitable change, descendants experiencing both great triumphs and great sorrows throughout the ages, all centered around this heirloom, this chest.
From poverty to riches, peace to wars, the hope chest withstanding all, although at times coming very close to being destroyed.
Barely escaping house fires…
Being buried among rubble as air raids come thundering down from above…
Nearly being sold as it came into the dire times of the destitute…
Barely slipping away from the massive grasps of mighty ocean waves as the family weathered the journey to the New World…
Through Ellis Island and under the torch of Lady Liberty the chest entered New York to start its next hundred years, Great Mama the first to inherit it on American soil. To see her at such a tender age, to watch her grow, to enter womanhood like those who had come before her, with the hope chest at the foot of her bed, was special indeed for Hope and Denise, the two now holding hands.
Then came Hope’s grandmother, Denise with such a serene look on her face at the sight of her young nursing mother, before she too grew up to find someone to keep the family going.
Especially touching was when it was Denise’s turn to come into being, Hope looking over at her mother every now and then with a smile as they watched her go through the stages of childhood and adolescence.
By the time they reached the moment on the bridge, the meeting that would lead to the companionship of bringing Hope into existence, mother and daughter were shaking. Other than pictures, it was the first time Hope had ever seen her father, and as for Denise, the vision of once again seeing her dearly departed nearly sent her falling over to her knees. But the two held each other up in their arms, watching with such longing, wishing they could just step out into that past and make it their present.
They had never been so close, so united in emotion.
Watching her father work on the chest, tears began to well up in Hope’s eyes. It was all she could do not to turn away, for she knew what must be coming next.
Or at least she thought she did…
But instead of the tragedy of 9/11 the storyline, the timeline, was now showcasing a mother’s pregnant belly, her hands holding another pair of hands as the arms embraced her from the back.
Like a powerful movie moment the montage tilted up to the mother’s face, to reveal her to be a future Hope, her love, the father of her baby lowering his head down to the side of hers to where they were now cheek-to-cheek, both looking down at baby-to-be.
It wasn’t the kid who hadn’t had her back back at his house, the one she had nearly given her innocence to. No, this was a real man. One whose face expressed sincerity and loyalty.
Hope looked to her mother, now understanding all, but Denise had changed, now as transparent as the ancestors at their back.
Hope looked out to them all, the number having grown overwhelmingly since she last noticed them. Thousands, maybe tens of thousands, all having lived as a result of that first couple.
Why was she still solid but her mother as translucent as the others…?
Just as it occurred to her the welled up tears in her eyes burst out, looking back at her mother with such fear…
“No mom, please, don’t leave me.
“I’m so sorry.
“I didn’t understand…”
Although now unable to wipe away her daughter’s tears, it didn’t stop Denise from trying. “My precious baby, don’t blame yourself. Please, whatever you do, don’t blame yourself. I’ll be with daddy now. I’ll be with those who have come before us.
“It’s up to you now, to keep it going, to make sure the chest continues to have purpose. It needs your strength, we all need your strength. We’re all within it.
“Live, experience, create. Pass what you learn on to the next.”
Through the tears Hope lunged forward to embrace her mother, to hold her one last time, but just when she should have made contact the all-encompassing bright light once again engulfed…
Hope waking to find herself in a hospital bed, her eyes struggling to find focus before beginning to make out a figure at the foot of the bed.
The clearer her vision became the more she could see him…
An ER resident, his face unmistakable.
That expression of true sincerity. The man of her future, the father of the child who would inherit the chest.
Another story to add to its rich history, another display of the human condition.
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