Holes to Pump Hope Into

man2 His was a face unmarred by laugh lines. Small, deep-set eyes peered out from behind bifocals held by bent, crooked frames sitting on a hawkish nose. The scraggly thick and gray moustache helped to hide his horse-long teeth slanting in to fill the gap left by the missing front two, but not quite enough. The baseball cap failed to hide the tufts of unbrushed gray hair in sad need of a cut.

He waited expressionless, though not quite patiently, sitting in a waiting room chair in direct view of my office doorway. When I called his name with a smile and a “Hi!” he rose from the chair and shuffled his bow-legged way toward me, his face still without expression.

Sitting down, he said he wanted to see where he stood. Since he had done the same not two weeks before, I waited for him to work himself around to the real reason why he had come. He asked a lot of questions before he dove deeper.

“I’m told I spend too much time in bed,” he said.

Fired from his truck-driving job, his wife, he said, talked to him with disrespect. So, having his pride, he left her and moved into a motel room that cost him $750 a month. After a few months, he moved to a small apartment in another town, living sparely and alone, and spending the same amount on rent, sucking up a good portion of his Social Security.

“What do I do? No one will even look at me. No one will hire a 68 year old man. I have to do something.”

But what? That was the question that he found the most difficult to bat around. While doing so, further light broke through his cracks.

“There’s things happening with my body now.”

He spoke of tingling, burning in his hands and feet. He spoke of his fear of going to a doctor, to hear that he was deathly ill. His hand shook as he pointed toward his chest. Was that tears welling up? I couldn’t tell because of his distorting glasses.

Rarely did his conversation leave holes to pump hope into, but I had to try. I pushed and I pulled, injecting realistic and off-the-wall possibilities every chance he gave me to get a word in edge-wise. A few times, I saw just a hint of glimmer in his eyes, there only until he found reasons to shoot them down. So, I pushed more.
When he stood up to leave, he had a purpose. He would go to the doctor to start feeling better physically, which would help him see more possibilities on what he could now do.

He’ll be back. There’s more holes to pump hope into. He’ll be back.


  1. Beautifully written....holes to pump hope into....it brings tears to my eyes because it makes me think of someone I know...someone who has no more holes to pump hope into.

  2. Keeping pushing, pulling and digging, Lisa. If the holes aren't there, you gotta make them.

  3. Wow ... that's short and sweet, but it sums up my thoughts

  4. Theresa, I'm ashamed to admit that I had no idea you can write like that. I have obviously not been paying attention. The title is a grabber. Well done! Wish I could write like that.

  5. You do write like that, Sharon. No two paintbrushes are alike, and they all paint pictures with words.

    Eric, it sums up your thoughts? In what way?

  6. I have a friend like that. (Hi Theresa, I'm back again!) My friend is the master of shooting down hope, explaining how she can't do that or why this or that won't be worth the effort. It's unbelievably tiring. The funny thing is that she complains about how negative people are. :p

    Anyway, beautiful writing!