“Hope!” I heard as I entered the smoky bar room. I was rushed from my left; a hug went around my neck, beer breathed into my face. “Oh Hope, it is you!” I tried to grasp the arms that wound their selves around me and pull myself back. I shook the tiny blonde girl off.
“My name is not Hope.” She staggered back, beer bottle in hand, looking puzzled.
“You look like Hope, my friend Hope.”
“Sorry.” I pushed past her, heading for a table in the back. I just wanted a drink. A smooth seven and seven that was all, not some weird girl tugging at me. I wanted a drink and I wanted to be alone. I was twenty four years old. Work was drudgery every day, all day, my boyfriend didn’t want me as a wife, my parents were angry with me constantly. Why did I have to deal with junk all the time? What else would get me through the day?
The girl was following me. “Hope, I thought I saw you last week but I was wrong.”
“Please.” I turned to the girl before sitting at my table. “I am not Hope. You have me confused with someone else.”
I sat; she sat across from me, nursing her beer, looking at me. I ordered my drink and tried an exasperated look on the girl. It didn’t faze her.
“I missed you Hope. I missed hearing your voice. It’s been hard you know.”
“Yeah.” I muttered.
“I ran away after the accident. I couldn’t take any more.”
“Sorry about your luck.” My drink came and I drank it down quickly, already wanting another.
“Remember how your Grandma used to take us to church, I’ve been thinking a lot about that.”
I remember when my Grandma took me to church. Sunday school was my favorite. The old stories, Noah and the Ark, Moses and the Ten Commandments, David and Bathsheba.
“She always said Jesus would watch over us, that Jesus loved us, remember that?” She laughed bitterly.
“I remember.” He’ll never leave you nor forsake you. He will fulfill what he has set about. God never changes. He loves you, Jesus loves you, and this we know for the bible told us so.
“Do you think its true Hope? That he really loved us?”
“I think so.” Peter the fisherman, John the beloved, Judas, Matthew the tax collector, how when I was younger I would pretend before I slept that I was there, listening to him speak, with the disciples, hearing the sermon on the mount, seeing the healings.
“Why do bad things happen to us then?” The waitress had picked up the blonde’s beer bottle; she was staring at me with glassy eyes.
“Because there are consequences to sin, I guess, not just our sin, the sin of this world. Bad things happen.”
“You died Hope; you died a long time ago. Why did you come back?”
I looked around me at this place. My grandmother would be crying right now if she could see me. Where’s my special girl at, she would have said, she’s not sitting there in a bar. She’s out there being the mighty woman of God she is supposed to be. I had forgotten those words. Mighty woman of God, that’s all I heard when I was growing up, before things fell apart and I began to worry so much about myself, and what I wanted and where I was going. I was twenty four years old. All I needed was to ask. I could get a different job, a different boyfriend too, and I could be forgiven by my parents, and the Lord. Something turned in my heart as I wondered who sent this girl to me. I would never let Hope die now.
“Hope didn’t die.” I told the girl, I stood up and reached my hand towards her. She took it. “I bet if we look together, we can find Hope again.”
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