Hope (Perhaps)
by David B. King (2001)

Perhaps it was in the very beginning, when all things cold were warm and all things hard were soft. Perhaps it was when the belly buttons of babies were sewn up just right, when the mouths of liars were oh so tight, when the darkness of night was always just a little bright. Perhaps it was there growing so strongly in the recesses of the human mind. Perhaps it was here, in the sand beneath his toes, in the fabric of his jeans, in the air around us all. Perhaps it was everywhere and nowhere all at the same time, glowing yet hiding its glow from those who might take it away, as they inevitably did. Perhaps it was way back then, when bamboo shoots grew in gardens and flying monkeys did not have to climb, but could fly their way to heaven. Perhaps it was when the bars on zoos were broken, when dinosaurs saw the dawn of man, when music belonged not only to the birds but to the bats as well. Perhaps it was never. Perhaps it was always. Perhaps it was moment after moment again and every moment in between.

Perhaps it was back then that hope thrived with all its might. Perhaps it was back then that everything was right.

“Not now,” whispered the boy.

He sat atop a mountain with his head above the clouds, and around him now the world began to slow right down. Hurricanes turned into tornadoes turned into storms turned into sunshine. Tides receded and stopped dead from the shore, completing their final cycle as trees suddenly stood straight up and rock no longer had a reason to rumble. Skydivers dove too fast. Cars braked too early. Birds flew too far. Kites fell. Hearts dropped. The winds began to slow and almost came to a halt.

The boy grew still, his eye lashes the last to move freely from his mind. He picked up a flower but it was not a flower anymore, just as the mountain was no longer mountainous and the clouds around his neck were now empty. Tears began to form but did not fall - instead they vanished at once into the dryness and stillness of the air.

“Not ever again.”

Perhaps at this time the boy’s heart would have broken in two. But no, not again, not so soon.

Alas the boy could take no more and shouted, cried, bellowed from atop the dusty mountain. “Not now not then not sometime when!”

Now the boy could speak no more, for the winds stopped finally here, the same winds that carried the voice of the boy and the wings of the birds and the leaves of the trees.

From the top of the unmountainous mountain, the boy fell now, for his broken heart could break no more. He fell much too fast, through the deadness of the vanishing air and over the still grasses of the land below. Silence was here now, smothering the world and the boy and the things once made therein.

But in silence came a thousand screams from a boy who once had a thousand dreams.

And in a moment it returned, perhaps in the moment the boy opened his eyes and saw the earth below him, or when his heart began to heal from the absence of wind. Perhaps it was the moment the boy knew his heart was healed and he felt love again. Perhaps it was when he opened his mouth and let it all out. Perhaps it was the scream itself and the heart behind it and the soul within it.

No matter though for it was always there, this the boy realized as he screamed aloud in his fall.

Perhaps it is always in the end, not the beginning, when clouds no longer spit but pour instead. Perhaps it is when light turns into blackness and blankets the soul, when the last spoon-full of ice cream is swallowed, when the bullet pierces the fabric of one’s jeans. Perhaps it is the fall of Rome, the head cut off a chicken, the broken wing of a battered bird. Perhaps it is when the last flying monkey can neither climb nor fly nor walk atop the still green grass and find its way to heaven. Perhaps it is when the fields of barley no longer bear witness to the love of two hearts, when the light from within seems dim or not quite so bright. Perhaps it is everywhere and nowhere all at the same time, glowing yet hiding its glow from those who inevitably cannot take it away, as hard as they may try. Perhaps it is when man meets only with the bones of dinosaurs, when fires are lit and allowed to soar, when the moon cracks open and spills the night upon the day.

Perhaps it is now. Perhaps in truth it is always. Perhaps it is moment after moment again and every moment in between.

Perhaps it is in this moment that hope thrives with all its might.

And perhaps not even the dying innocence of a boy can steal it from the world - be it in day or in night or in the dusty recesses of the human mind.