Hi there! It has been such a long time since I’ve posted. Wow. Time goes by so fast. So many things have happened, including Bible College and a lot of growth and learning.
And I love how with time, stories do not die or fade away.
They stay written on the page, are told from generation to generation or sit quietly lodged in the mind, an image to cherish or grieve over. Today, I opened a document which has not been opened in almost a year. Renewing Hope.
This story still has more to share. Hoping you will be encouraged by it! It is a journey of perseverance and courage, learning to press through the heartache, press into God, and forgive.
Enjoy! (Note: If you need a refresher on the content, hop on over to the Renewing Hope page. It has been updated with previous chapters.)
It felt like I had just dozed off, when I woke up to a loud scream. My eyes fluttered open, and I jerked up in bed. My gaze searched the room frantically, while my hands clutched the blankets. Everything seemed normal. My red computer was where I had last left it, on a shelf. My desk was clean without a trace of colored pencils or paints. Dirty laundry was piled high in my laundry hamper and stood up against a sky-blue wall.
Mom? I pulled back the covers and noticed that they had a green pattern on them. My skin crawled. I hated green.
Another ear-piercing scream vibrated throughout the house.
I bolted from bed, sweat formed on my brow. My feet pounded down the upstairs hallway. Suddenly, the house became quiet, too quiet. Everything stilled, and my breath caught in my throat.
I slowed at Moms doorway. A shiver shot down my back. Stepping into the room, pain shot through my feet. I couldn’t swallow.
Moonlight glittered from the endless pieces of glass shattered on the floor. Mom lay crumpled in the shards. Unconscious. And as white as a sheet.
“Mom!” I knelt beside her. “MOM, PLEASE TALK TO ME!” I brushed a wayward hair away from her face. Her lips were colorless. My fingers pressed against her wrist. A steady thump, thump answered my plea. “Thank goodness. You’re still alive!” I carefully came back to my feet, attempting to avoide the glass shards scattered everywhere. No time to sweep them up. I had to call 911. Where’s Mom’s phone?
Quick footsteps sounded behind me in the hall. Turning around, I saw a blurry man with a medical bag in his hand. What? I blinked, but my vision remained fuzzy.
Before a word leapt out of my mouth, he went to his knees by Mom. He wore a pair of faded jeans and a navy-blue shirt- that I could tell.
I tried to speak but the words stuck in my throat. I knelt down next to Mom. Who is this person in our house?! And why does his presence stir something familiar in my heart?
Large calloused hands opened the medical bag and grabbed a stethoscope. The man placed it in his ears, then put the other piece against Mom’s neck. But his face evaded me.
Well, he seems to know what he’s doing. My eyes strayed back to Mom. She seemed even whiter than before. I took her clammy hand in mine. Please don’t leave me.
The man exhaled. My attention fastened back on him. Although he seemed worried, his movements slowed.
That feeling of knowing him still nagged at me. I forced my mouth to move. “Who are you?” His facial features were still blurry. What was the matter with my eyes?
“Don’t worry about that, Hope.” He answered. “Your Mom needs to go to the hospital. Call 911.” He took the stethoscope out of his ears and let it drape around his neck.
I froze. His voice was frighteningly familiar.
The man investigated my face. My vision seemed to clear. Determined green eyes stared into mine. Time stood still. Dad?
I jolted awake in bed, breathing hard. The gray clock on the nightstand remained ticking away. It’s thin second hand scurried away, while the other two lay still against the flower printed background.
7:49am. “Ugh.” I bent forward, rubbing my forehead. It had just been a dream.
I scooted towards the edge of the bed, until my feet touched the floor. Blondish-brownish hair fell into my face. Warmness rushed over my feet, as they slipped into polka-dotted slippers.
Creeping down the hallway, I saw Mom’s bedroom door slightly open. The floor was void of glass pieces. Mom’s hair fanned out on her pillow. Her eyes were closed. Soft breathing filled the silence.
Nothing appeared amiss. I took a step forward, grabbed the doorknob, twisted it to the left, and closed it behind me.
Back in my bedroom, I went over to Oliver’s box. Crouching down, a smile tugged on my lips. Oliver was curled up in a little ball. His black fur stood out against his red towel bed. His white ear winked at me from its dignified spot.
You’re cute. Plopping onto the hardwood, cross-legged, I stroked his head.
My thoughts turned back to my dream, and goosebumps crawled up my arms. Why was Dad in my dream? And why a medical bag? He’s not a doctor, at least not the last time I checked…Oliver twitched. But his stomach continued moving up and down, in rhythm with each breath.
I rose and went to my white desk. Dad had given it to me before he had left. Before I sat down, my hand traced the swirling designs in the wood and my fingertips rested on the flowered knobs. Rummaging through the top drawer, I grasped my sketchpad. It wasn’t the same one beneath my pillow; two sketch pads were in my ownership. My fingers also couldn’t help tracing it- a habit. Next a sketching pencil readily posed over the paper. It begged me to create a masterpiece. Nothing came to mind. Disgust almost provoked me to push away from the desk. Almost- before my hand possessed a will of its own. A few minutes later, my pencil clattered to the desk.
Dad had started filling the blank page.
Why? Because of my dream about him? Would it be so bad to contact Dad and meet with him? What if he had changed his mind? Would more heartache fall on my shoulders? He had abandoned us.
Could he possibly have changed? The picture strayed back into my vision. His face wasn’t smiling or angry, just pleasant. It was the dad I had remembered.
But could I discard my bitterness? Reaching for the small kleenex box on the table, I blew my nose.
Oliver meowed from his box.
I sprung from my seat, all too glad to abandon my thoughts. “What’s the matter Oliver? Are you hungry?”
Oliver sat erect in the cardboard box, his blue eyes blinking up at me. What cuteness. I bent down and scooped him into my arms.
“I bet you’d like some milk…”
My phone beeped from the nightstand. The screen flashed a number one beside the Facebook app. Stephen Crane had sent me a friend request.
Oliver peered down at the phone. His head cocked to the side and one of his paws lifted, like he just wanted to touch it.
A chuckle bubbled up into my throat, “That’s not for you silly.”
Confirm. I dropped the phone into my robe pocket. My face buried into Oliver’s fur. Stephen seems awfully nice.
Oliver squirmed in my arms, no doubt rejecting the attention.
“Okay, I’m going, I’m going.”
We stepped out into the hallway and went straight down the stairs. We made it to the kitchen slider, and I opened the door. It led into the backyard.
“Here you go.”
Oliver slumped on the grass. The sun was just making its appearance over the horizon, and all shades of blue illuminated the sky.
Oliver stared at his surroundings for a minute before scampering about.
I laughed and closed the door, trapping him in his heaven. “Crazy cat.”
Dad’s face kept appearing in my head, making me reach for the phone. I bit my lip. What am I doing? Did I really want to call Dad? Was I ready?
Someone other than myself seemed to be controlling my fingers. Then the dial tone sounded in my ear. Pacing from the fridge and back to the island. Maybe I shouldn’t do this. I gripped the phone in one hand and the dark counter top in the other. The dial tone continued to sound.
The phone chirped in my ear, but it was only Dad’s voice mail. A sigh of relief puffed out of my cheeks.
It beeped at me. “Hi Dad–It’s Hope.” I took a breath. “I heard that you had wanted to see me…if you’d like, we can meet for coffee sometime. Call or text me. Bye.” I could only stand there and stare at my phone.
What had I done?
“Hi, honey.” Mom’s voice interrupted my thoughts.
She walked into the kitchen wearing purple scrubs and her hair high in a ponytail. Her jeweled purse swayed on her shoulder and white sunglasses perched atop her head. She made her way to the counter by the sink and opened the coffee cupboard.
“Hi.” I forced a smile.
She poured herself a cup of coffee, and turned back around, leaning against the island. “What have you been doing?”
I copied her stance. “I just left Dad a message and told him that I would be willing to meet with him.”
Mom looked surprised. “Wow, that’s good, honey. But are you sure? I don’t want to discourage you, but you had seemed opposed to the idea. What changed?” Her eyes were glued on me.
A grimace passed across my lips. “I had a frightening dream last night. You kept frantically calling my name, and I had a hard time running to you. It was like—like I was in slow motion. You ended up being unconscious on the floor. Broken glass lay scattered everywhere. You seemed alright, but then a man appeared. He knelt by your side with a medical bag. And when he looked at me—it was Dad.” I shook my head, shivering at the recollection. “It was super weird.”
“I’m sorry.” Her blond eyebrows drew together, and her pale forehead creased. She moved to hug me but stopped short. What was she thinking? Instead, I hugged myself. “I’m fine.” A pleasant look plastered onto my face. “It wasn’t real. I’m ok.” I’m ok. Coldness crept up my neck.
To be continued…