"I look like a melting gargoyle when I cry."
She laughed, like wind-chimes in sunlight, soothing and warm. She replied, "You don't have to show me."
"Will this really work? I feel silly."
"Well you won't know unless you try, now will you?" She smiled.
"Okay, okay. Like this?" I asked, crossing my hands over my chest.
"Kinda," She reached out and adjusted my hands slightly, "Like that, gently, like you're holding a baby bird against your heart."
She let go of my hands and floated backwards a pace, watching me encouragingly.
Still feeling silly, I tried to clear my mind, while remembering her instructions;
Focus, stay relaxed...
Think of hope, I told myself, and as I did I began to bring my cupped hands down away from my chest and hold them facing the sky.
"*******!" She exclaimed, leaning in, her face alight with - something.
I started to lower my hands, thinking as I do, that she was poking fun.
Her face fell, and her hands shot out like lightning, gently bracing my hands and preventing me from lowering them. "Don't be shy," she smiled softly.
I looked up into her eyes, wary, but her face showed only concern. I looked down again, ashamed of my reaction, and she ducked her head to maintain eye contact. "You're a squirmy one, aren'cha?"
I felt my face flush, but I laughed, despite my anxiety.
She nodded towards my hands, "Don'cha wanna know what I see?"
I saw nothing. "Sure," I said, trying not to sound skeptical.
Apparently I failed because she let out another peal of chiming laughter. She seemed to sober a bit, without losing her carefree smile and leaned in a bit more closely. She peered into the bowl formed by my cupped hands like it was filled with stars instead of empty air.
She remained like that for what seemed an eternity. I held as still as I could, awaiting her judgment. She straightened and looked at me, very seriously. Her face was not hard, exactly, it was like a waterfall that had just stopped falling, all trace of humor was gone.
"Why are you ashamed of me?" She asked softly, no anger or hurt, just concern.
"I..." I didn't actually know how to answer. I thought for a moment, the both of us standing there, with her holding my hands like a fortune teller.
"I think I have just been convinced, over and over, that I should be." I said somberly.
"Silly boy," she replied, her face once again alive with that same ephemeral light. "Don't you know? People will tell themselves all kinds of things when they're hurting. Don't you go and let hurt steal your hope, your light!"
I hung my head a bit, somewhere, deep down, I did know.
She shook her head slightly, and smiling a bemused little smirk, she glided closer. With her left hand she began to push my hands back up towards my chest, and brought her right hand around to cup the back of my neck, simultaneously drawing our foreheads together.
Her eyes drifted nearly closed, as if she was falling into a trance, and as my hands reached my chest she whispered something I could not quite understand.
I saw it first in her eyes, a faint glow, and as she finished her short silent prayer the tiny glow flared into uproarious brilliance! The blinding light suffused us, filling my vision with blue/white fire.
Hope's warm countenance floated before me now in the heart of a star, and just before I awoke, I realized that the light was coming not from her eyes, but from beneath my cradled hands.
©01/29/2021 Jason R. Michie All Rights Reserved
I had previously tagged this short story with "dreams" so it would show up under that tag, but I don't want people to get the impression this was an actual dream. Just a story. Keep Hope alive! <3 :)