TL;DR: A New Confession
Hope Under The Ancient Skyscraper
“There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.” — Toni Morrison
The Book of Hope
Being Twelve. Being a Girl. Being a Genius. Being Beautiful. Being Black.
None of those words meant what they said.
Hope James was all of them…
Hope and The Ancient Skyscraper
Down a small path, up a tall hill, there is a tree…
The Ancient, as her mother called it, wasn’t even a quarter of a century old. In the early light of dawn, the oak looked more like a skyscraper.
“The ‘Ancient Skyscraper’ hardly makes sense, Langston.”
Journeying up the hill with Hope, just far enough to the left that her backpack straps wouldn’t bounce off his nose, was her 89 1/3, not even 90 pound, Bloodhound, Langston Love James.
“Today’s the day, Langston.”
Hope stopped on the largest of the two worn-out patches of grass under The Ancient, set down her gray backpack, pulled out a navy blue rolled-up foam yoga mat, and unhitched the Velcro. The mat sprang open and set down to fit the exact outline of the pressed down earth.
Langston spun three circles in the smaller patch, laid down, gave an exaggerated yawn then flopped his head on the grass with his nose pointed due east.
Hope knelt in front of him and attempted to line up the exact trajectory of his snout with the soon-to-be sunrise. Her silhouette, particularly the head part, blocked what little light there was.
Hair was the first thing you noticed about Hope. Big. Bold. Bushy. Perfectly parted down the middle, done up like two overgrown Christmas baskets with a million mahogany and gold ribbons shooting out.
Unfazed by the excess shade the baskets cast, she finished the precise measurement.
Hope, now behind Langston, stretched out her arm, closed one eye, and looked over her thumb to gauge distance the way painters do.
She gave two nods of her baskets, scratched Langston’s ear, then sat a perfect Zazen on the sapphire mat.
“One minute and twenty-one seconds and we can finally move forward, Langston.”
Exactly one minute and twenty-one seconds shy of 24 and a half days ago, disaster struck.
Every genius has an impossible dream they make possible. Hope’s was to find and prove a Grand Unified Theory to the Universe.
A lofty goal, sure, but Hope James was not a genius.
Hope was The Genius. The smartest person to ever live.
What kind of disaster could stop her?
She solved it.
Without a doubt. A Grand Unified Theory. Proved as sure as Gravity had been, (before she disproved it of course.)
Once she deciphered the true meaning of Static Electricity, all scientific uncertainty vanished and each elementary block was easily proved by basic mathematics.
However, even with a scientifically certain model of the universes (there are 10), something tangible was still there. Something Beautiful. Something even mathematics free from uncertainty could not explain.
Hope ran out of Science.
It was always the same problem. Hope witnessed the interconnectedness of all things long before she proved it. In fact, she couldn’t remember a day when she did not see the All of the All. The proof she found was not for her. Her Grand Unified Theory was for us, so we might see all the light she could.
It takes great compassion matched with great intelligence to make a genius. And so, Hope’s heart broke from her inability to express all the light that wasn’t there for everyone else. But, so very much was.
What an intricate and exact dance of color! Each object, from a mountain to a quark, swayed to its own particular spectrum of rhythm. And each tip-tap and tone of every tint and hue meshed and swirled with every other. A perfect symphony of all the light that wasn’t there, but so very much was.
There was only one question left, the answer to which Hope knew would allow her to share the gift of what she saw with the rest of the world.
What Hope wanted most of all was to answer the question: “Why?”
Why did this intricate dance of hue, and tint, and shade persist?
What kept color dancing?
As the nature of the question dealt with Creation itself, Hope did something she never believed she would.
She turned to religion.
As it was the most practical of religions, and Enlightenment sounded useful, Hope started with Buddhism.
It took Siddhartha 49 days of straight meditation to reach Enlightenment.
With a couple of thousand years of scientific advancements, not to mention a workable Grand Unified Theory; Hope would reach it in half as many days, while sat zazen for only one hour during the optimal rays of dawn’s early light.
So… we find Hope now with 44 seconds left, under The Ancient (no suitable Bodhi trees in Massachusetts) in perfect zazen ready to enter into her final meditation to reach Enlightenment.
She gave two nods of her baskets and smirked, “Here goes Nothing, Langston.”
And with half a second left, Hope shut her eyes.