Inquiry:  Hope. An Emotional Parasite? by LJ Frank

Credit: Jean Philippe-Cypres, photographer

My friend gathered all the relevant papers and placed them on the kitchen table for her partner to review when he returned home after work. It included mostly insurance and business documents among a few personal papers. Her partner and she were living within the thin line called “means” and were childless. She had asked me years ago over a cup of coffee why would anyone want to birth a daughter or son in this winner take all existence. She lacked trust. She was ready to move on.

Hope for her possessed a parasitical quality that ate away at her conscience. She hoped and trusted too many times to no avail. She said she would tell herself, “Just one more chance, one more opportunity, one more reason to strive…” She wanted to work in an environment that believed in her as a person with already proven abilities and skills. 

Her siblings either envious or prideful of her good looks, ever-present smile in addition to her graduate degree, a first in the family. “I understand where I’m at in life…” she told me while we stood chatting near the campus library. She suggested the culture she lived in was controlled by those in more powerful positions – from the pulpits of politics, corporations, government and religion. The hope or trust for something better didn’t appear in the cards dealt to her, no matter how hard she strategized.

And sacred writings only temporarily soothed her soul even when repeated under her breath. She also knew too many fellow university alumni who were working in retail environments and well below their intellectual level to adequately fill their emotional needs. And they could hardly pay their bills. “There is little effort to help secure a good paying job upon graduation by the university.”  Her age was now creeping up on her.

Life is a patchwork of educated and experiential guesswork and knowing the right people to give you a chance at a job worthy of you as a human being. My friend had any number of queries but most of the time kept the questions quiet within herself and still retained a resilient and unflappable outward appearance.

I think she reasoned that our existence affects the lives of others, still no one can enter another’s skin and say they really know that person. Approximations are all we have when it comes to thinking we know. 

That day after she assembled the paperwork, she walked outside to the patio, sat down on a chair and with the barrel of the gun pointed at herself, she pulled the trigger. She understood the human soul is linked directly to our blood. It poured forth from her flesh.  

The word hope is perhaps an expectation and trust with ancient roots in different shapes and may feed off the human emotion to exist above mere survival with a sense of dignity and self-worth and enhanced by how we treat each other.