Hope and Fear walked to the Corner Bistro where they spent most Thursday evenings. They’d come sixteen minutes before closing time. Right on the dot. Hope would stroll through first, hands in its pockets, trying to be nonchalant, and Fear would always follow a calculated thirty three seconds later. Every night I bused tables and watched the two walk to the last booth in the back. They’d glance around and see if anyone was watching them before taking their seats. Two shy kids in love.
They were embarrassed by each other. That much was clear. But seven minutes after they ordered, they would warm up to each other. A slow stretch across the table to reach the other’s hand. Hold it tight. And they’d laugh and they’d talk and somewhere around the middle they’d discuss their dreams. Hope always had so much to say. Fear was hesitant.
The two didn’t have anything in common except Love. A friend of theirs? I wasn’t sure. But Love would always wander into the dinner discussion. Without Love they had nothing to be afraid of losing and nothing to aspire to. It glued them irrevocably, whether they wanted to be together or not. And sometimes I had my doubts about the odd pairing. Sometimes I thought they really weren’t meant to be. But they were cut from the same cloth, Fear and Hope. They held pieces of each other, two halves of a whole that would never be complete without a Thursday evening. In the darkest of Fears, there is hope. And in the brightest of Hopes, there is fear.
Don’t even get me started on their enemy Uncertainty.Published in Running Out of Ink, 2013