Feb 4th – In the midst of hope and despair

February 4th – In the midst of sadness and despair.


In the midst of Sadness and Despair, two small, run-down towns about 150 miles from Nowhere, was a town called Hope.

Hope was often overshadowed by its more populous neighbours: more people visited Sadness and Despair, sometimes singularly, and sometimes together. Sometimes whole groups of people visited Sadness and Despair, and stayed, making one or both of these towns their home. Their populations grew, and they became cities, twinned with each other, but each with its own unique character. Grey skyscrapers grew, nudging the clouds that drizzled tears downwards onto the grey pavements where the inhabitants of both Hope and Despair shuffled their feet and looked down as they walked. The parks were lifeless, the waters still.

In the town of Hope, still a town, not swallowed yet by the suburban overspill of the shadow of its bigger neighbours, flowers still grew. The flowers that grew in hope were not noisy flowers, but delicate-petalled things, who dripped their colours almost self-consciously, rather than blazing it to the world. The flowers grew in hope, and wilted in Sadness, and died in Despair. That was the way it was.

The people who lived in Hope held their heads up as they walked, and lived in colour. Clouds were not for them the threat of rain, for rain was the bringer of life to the flowers, and the plants, and the trees: rain filled the lakes and gave life to the streams. Clouds were not there because of their mood, but provided relief, when it was needed, from the heat of the sun, when it became too hot. When it was cold, or dark, the people in Hope knew that the sun would come out again and warm the ground, because the sun always came out again to warm the ground, eventually, no matter how long it took. If the sun came out in Sadness it was because they didn’t deserve it: in Despair it was always too hot.

People visited Hope, sometimes, but few stayed. Its inhabitants wished them to, they always did, but they felt that someday they would return again. Few people visited from either Sadness or Despair, though: it seemed as if the journey there was too much. The trains ran empty in both directions, usually, for there was little demand. Those that did travel did so without a ticket: it mattered little either way.

The town of Hope is still there. People go about their business, looking forward. Should you ever find it, they are very welcoming to visitors.


Inspired by a prompt from here.

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