I’ve traveled by car over the last week or so. Long, mostly interstate miles with stops every two hours or so. Stops not so much to fill the car with gas but to empty the bladder. (Maybe I should blog about BPH!)

I felt the road vibrations in my body out of the car so I took time to jump around to shake off the shaking and walk to keep stretched. Near Dothan, Alabama on Highway 261, I stopped at a locally owned truck stop. On my way out of the store, I spied some different looking key chains neatly hung on a rotating display rack. Attached to the usual split ring was a small block of stained wood, each with a name carved into it. I promised Susan I would bring a few things back for her, for her patience in my week and a half absence.

Susan’s real name in very uncommon and there is a one in bazillion chance I’d every find it on a named key ring. But I looked them over anyway. I must have turned the display completely around ay least 4 times despite knowing I would not find her real name. Then I came upon what I didn’t know I was looking for. The carved letters spelled HOPE.

Susan is fighting hard against her abusers and all the damaged they left. Some days for her (and me, too) are like a warm Saturday in May with bright sun,hope an earthy smell in the air as the ground becomes alive, with the breeze carrying the sound of nature, such as they are in suburbia, off into the distance. Other days our home is as dark as and cold as midnight in January. Not as often as it used to be because of her work with her therapist, but they come nonetheless.

Susan is hope personified. She does not know if she her wounds will ever heal leaving only scars, but she hopes that is will what will happen. Some days she and I only have hope, and a small portion at that. But even a small portion of hope is a lot. It what keeps us going.

I don’t know if the carver was thinking of the proper noun Hope, as in someone’s name or hope as an ordinary noun. No matter to me. I pulled the key chain off the rack and purchased the small thought.

Hope defines us as a couple. Hope is no ordinary noun.


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