Rey of Hope

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December 2017 Christmas Dreams Story Contest Entry


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Christmas eve day….

The moment almost begged for a theme. But none would be offered. The girl was only a bit tired after the long climb up the tiers of stairs that led to the top of the mountain. She stopped a few times; not in rest, but to marvel at the oceans that surrounded the rocky island. She had actually stared in wonder at the nearly endless expanse of sea, having come from a home that was dry, hostile, and unrelenting in its punishment.

She blew out a breath and scaled the remaining rock stairs to find herself atop a mesa like field, canted only a bit toward her. She noticed that the rocky terrain gave way for the most part to the soft greens of grass only somewhat interrupted by a bit of scree and crag. A man stood on the opposite side of the knoll-like terrain. He was almost motionless, not counting count the flap of his cowl from the breeze that traversed the mesa. She stepped closer. Any fears she had ever harbored had already been dispelled, likely as much due to the acceptance and even love she had felt from the kind woman she briefly met only to leave behind. She had just come to know the woman’s friends and the man she had almost seen as a father figure only to lose the man to a sudden horrible death. Try as she might, she could barely staunch the flow of tears as her eyes misted from the dreadful loss she felt.

The man in front of her must have anticipated her or perhaps there actually was something to the senses that the force allowed. She watched as he uncovered his head; revealing a man almost acquainted with sorrows. He breathed out softly and looked at her. She sighed in return before retrieving the item she dreamed would be a key in unlocking her own past. As she raised it, the air grew colder and a voice came from somewhere off to her right…

*****

the Speranza home

“Donny? Please? Just for today?” Allison called from the kitchen to her son. He sat at the desk in his room, staring almost blankly at the frozen image on his laptop. As surely as the girl on the screen had seen the frightening loss of the man she had come to know only briefly, Donny felt the same loss only days before. He hit an icon on the task bar, revealing the image of another kind man, playful and almost enigmatic as the one she had seen in the movie, but real, alive, gentle, and caring. He leaned against the desk and wept as the smiling man spoke almost from the grave.

“Love you, kid. Your mom and I understand, even if your real father doesn’t.” He winced at the words that came from the laptop; no amount of tininess could change the sentiment, but his stepfather had to be the authentic dad since his own father had proven time and again to be the pretender. He tried without success in stemming the tide of tears and wept unashamedly for the man who had come alongside to love him and his mother. And who had immediately accepted that Donny Speranza was and had always been his wife’s daughter instead of his stepson.

“I’m so sorry,” Allison apologized as she seemed to set aside her own grief to come alongside the child she had raised. Thirteen and lost in a way until Bobby had discovered them both like twin treasures. She bit her lip, trying ever so hard to be strong for her son’s sake. She breathed out a very sad and heavy sigh before something inside gave her the courage that Bobby had been nurturing for them both. The husband – the one who tilled and watered and fed the soil of their hearts – had left them strong, regardless of what the future held. She leaned against Donny’s back and spoke his name for the last time in a prayer of thanksgiving.

“I love you, Donny Speranzo. Never forget that or Bobby’s love for you. You were his child, and only he..and I... knew you by your name, but today that will change, my precious baby.”

She leaned closer still, whispering almost silently. Her child turned and whispered back, and the beginning of smiles crossed both their faces, belying doubt and fear as the husbandry from beyond changed them both that day.

New Hope Fellowship. Later that morning….

The kind looking woman smiled, blinking back her own tears.

“The family invites you all to share your memories of Bobby Petrone after they speak,” Her expression almost spoke ‘okay’ aloud. Alison stood up and walked to the podium.

“I thought life hated me. That God hated me. That He hated us both?” She looked at the only figure in the front row. Only child with no relatives other than Allison Speranza. There was an almost horde of friends anxious to speak on behalf of their gratefulness for Bobby Petrone, but no other family on this plane of existence.

“The love of my life is gone only in this existence. But the love he brought to me and my child will sustain me through a thousand lifetimes. His last words….” She began to choke up, but composed herself after a few seconds.

“His last words were that while he would be waiting for me, there was no hurry to join him. I can live with that. I have my love for him and for my baby.” She smiled and wiped her tears with her sweater sleeve; a habit that brought her a bit of mirthful if loving teasing from her husband.

“I’m only on my way like we all are. When I finally arrive is probably known only to god, but for now I still have a lot of living to do. I love you, Bobby Petrone. See you soon.” She placed her hand in front of her face, weeping only a bit, since the grief was already being outweighed by the grace of her memories. She paused halfway between the podium and the seats, smiling once again while patting her chest and mouthing “I’m so proud of you,’ and ‘I love you,’ before sitting down.

The boy took the very long walk to the podium. Almost a death sentence, but really, the newness of life as evidenced by the Christmas story. He stopped and took a deep breath before speaking. Several gasps came from the congregation; some in surprise and even shock, but the majority coming from relieved., loving friends.

The child did not wear the garb of a mourner, but neither was the child garbed in the near swaddling clothes of new birth. Instead, the child’s clothes spoke of a new hope, as her step-father – rather, her father had quipped. The same clothes on might expect for a celebration on a bright Sunday morning. A dark grey sweater dress; knee length and full sleeves. Black flat shoes and a dark green hip length cardigan and a newly-recalled smile from long ago.

“My dad loved me. The first one to really know me after my mom gave me life, Bobby Petrone gave me new life. And he gave me hope. You remember Donny, - so will I since he’ll always be me in a way and I him. But to my Daddy? And now to you? My name is Rey.” The girl blinked back tears and finished.

“I love you, Daddy.”



Rey's and Luke's Themes intertwined
from the motion picture.
Star Wars: the Force Awakens
Composed by John Williams



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