nations-capitalAuthor’s Note: This is the fifth chapter of a six part story. If you would like to read the previous chapters, please visit Chapter 1 – The key, Chapter 2 – Plus one, Chapter 3 – The seed, and Chapter 4 – Step by step.

Although difficult to sleep with anticipation of another day filled to the brim with adventure and uncertain discoveries, the physical and emotional demands of the day allowed Damon, Jo, and Gryffin to receive a modicum of rest before the sun rose again on the following morning. At the crack of dawn, they were headed north towards the nation’s capital.

Jo had responded to the entire situation with the homeless man like it was completely natural. Damon always felt he was a benevolent and altruistic individual. And yet, he walked right by someone who was obviously in need. Maybe his perception of self was askew. He had wrestled with it in his mind in the moments right before falling asleep the previous night. About an hour into their trek north, Damon broached the subject engrossing his mind. “That was very kind of you, what you did for that guy at the gas station last night,” he offered.

“It’s something I’ve always done,” replied Jo. “Learning about the history of my ancestors, especially my great grandfather who took such a firm stand against slavery, it has sorta become a part of me. I seem to always look out for others in need and do what I can to help them.”

Damon was consumed with a feeling of hope – not for finding some profound meaning in the completion of this quest he was on, nor for the wish that his professional endeavors would take a turn for the better. No, he was feeling hope for humanity, that there were still individuals in society who genuinely cared for one another, who realized that we are all in this together, and who didn’t feel compelled to vie for the last piece of pie. There was plenty of love and happiness in this world to go around – when we choose to share it. One of those rare individuals who embodied this very essence was sitting next to him, and Damon suddenly felt fortunate to have been blessed by her presence.

Damon did some mental math and realized that he would need to adopt a heavier foot on the accelerator pedal in order to reach their destination before closing time. Fortunate to avoid rush hour traffic through the heart of D.C., they arrived at the library with a mere thirty minutes to spare. Racing up to the entrance, they were stopped by the security guard at the front door.

“Sorry sir, no pets permitted in the library.” Damon looked quizzically at Gryffin and then Jo, trying to figure out a solution that would work out for everyone involved. Jo chimed in, “You go ahead, I can hang here with Gryffin. You can fill us all in when you figure it out.”

public-library-dc“But …” began Damon. Jo cut him off before he could continue any further, “Get in there and figure this thing out. Gryffin and I will be right here waiting for you.” Realizing that resistance was going to be futile, and because he was running out of time with every passing second, Damon agreed, “Okay, I’ll be right back.” As he plunged into the depths of the library in search of his destination, Damon mentally refreshed his memory with the important inscription – 811 E42F 26. Upon reaching the dark corridors of poetry in section 811, Damon quickly began to comb each shelf in search of the desired volume. Running his index finger over the spine of each book, he could almost feel the energy of the poetry within each book, yearning to be heard. More than likely, however, his feeling was one of hope in finding a book with the call number E42F. With head tilted sideways to better read the print, Damon finally discovered what he had been looking for – The Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot.

Glancing down at his watch, he had less than ten minutes before the front doors of the library would be locked. He figured it would take them at least twice that much time to actually find him in these dark recesses of the library where far too few souls roam. Flipping the book open and fanning to page 26, Damon could almost smell the age of this book published more than a half century ago. There on the page was an unmistakable message that he knew was meant to be seen by his eyes. From the poem Little Gidding, the highlighted passage read:

We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

four-quartetsScribbled in the margin was another set of numbers. Damon knew that his next destination would be the final one on this journey. He wasn’t quite sure how the adventure would conclude, but he was quite certain that he would be enlightened by whatever was ultimately revealed – his recent history had proven that fact to be true. With less than five minutes until the doors locked for the evening, Damon reached the front entrance of the library, greeted by an anxious face and a wagging tail that were clearly discernible, even in the diminishing sunlight. He couldn’t wait to share his findings. Partly for the information itself, more so for the person he would be sharing it with.

Author’s Note: This is the fifth part of a six part “not-so-short” short story about self-discovery. A new segment has now been published on each Wednesday in December. The final chapter of this story will be published here on Wednesday, January 7, 2015. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment – best wishes for an inspired day and new year!

17 thoughts on “Hope

  1. Writing to Freedom December 31, 2014 / 11:20 am

    Onward and upward. You hooked me again my friend. 🙂 Happy New Year Dave!

    • davecenker December 31, 2014 / 10:31 pm

      Thank you Brad, it has been a wonderful journey for me together with Damon, Jo, and Gryffin. There will be a small part of me that will want to stick behind with them, even when the final chapter is published next week 😉

      Thanks, as always for reading and commenting. It is so very much appreciated! Best wishes for the happiest of new years!

  2. Dalo 2013 December 31, 2014 / 12:53 pm

    Very nice ~ and the mystery continues… Best wishes for the New Year!

    • davecenker December 31, 2014 / 10:36 pm

      Thank you Randall – for taking the time to read, for commenting, and for the new year wishes!

      It has been a wonderful journey of self-discovery for the characters in this story as well as the author. Having but one chapter left to publish is bittersweet. I am anxious to unfurl the finale of this story, but am not quite ready to leave the characters behind. I suspect I may carry a piece of each of them inside me going forward 😉

      Thanks again for taking the time to read and best wishes for the happiest and most successful year in 2015!

  3. balroop2013 December 31, 2014 / 11:45 pm

    Hi Dave,

    My interest has been ignited doubly with this small segment…you enjoy keeping your readers on tenterhooks! 🙂 Wishing you a wonderful New Year and looking forward to more such stories in 2015. Thanks for sharing.

    • davecenker January 1, 2015 / 11:00 am

      Thank you Balroop, I appreciate your kind comments. May 2015 also be filled with joy, happiness, peace, and many more insightful posts for you and your family 🙂

  4. Jill Winski January 1, 2015 / 6:25 pm

    Nice job with this section, Dave! And I love how you used the T. S. Eliot poem in the story. I totally get what you mean about not being quite ready to leave the characters behind. 🙂 Happy New Year to you!

    • davecenker January 1, 2015 / 9:06 pm

      Thank you Jill, this has always been one of my favorite quotes by T.S. Eliot and I have been looking for the chance to slip it into a story line 😉 Perhaps this was the perfect opportunity, we shall have to see upon the publishing of the last chapter 🙂

      Thank you for taking the time to read and provide your thoughts. I am pretty sure that Damon, Jo, and Gryffin will live on beyond the final chapter of this story for me. Perhaps that is one of the most gratifying things about writing – taking pieces of our imagination and allowing them to take up residence in our very essence 😉

      May the new year bring you joy, peace, happiness, success, but perhaps most of all – inspiration 🙂

  5. Hariod Brawn January 2, 2015 / 11:33 am

    Excellent writing Dave; you capture a sense of urgency and immediacy without the narrative falling over itself, so to speak. I hope to explore more of your work as time goes by; then again, maybe there is only the still point beyond time?

    Happy New Year!


    • davecenker January 3, 2015 / 10:11 am

      Thank you, Hariod, for sharing such a thought-provoking video and for taking the time to read and comment on this story. One of the things I love most about the written word is how it can be interpreted in so many different ways, a unique meaning and application for each person who reads/listens to it. I venture to say that we have all felt that still point beyond time at some point in our lives – if only for a fleeting moment.

      For some, it is the way everything stands still in a moment of appreciation. For others, it is the way that time speeds by in a flurry of happy memories and dreams. And for others, perhaps it is an inexplicable aura surrounding them that words simply cannot do justice for. However you experience it, it is magical.

      Thank you for sharing and best wishes for an inspired day!

      • Hariod Brawn January 3, 2015 / 10:25 am

        Thank you for your kind and generous response Dave.

        Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and contented New Year – Hariod.

  6. heraldmarty January 2, 2015 / 8:15 pm

    Wow! We really are on the same “theme” page lately Dave. 😉 Of course the romantic in me is already conjuring up all sorts of endings! Looking forward to what the last chapter in your story reveals for our intrepid trio.

    • davecenker January 3, 2015 / 10:16 am

      Yes, it is amazing Marty, isn’t it, how our themes are lining up 😉 To be honest, I have had the first draft of this story drafted before the beginning of December (which perhaps makes it even more amazing).

      Although it has been my longest and most time intensive story that I have written to date, it has also been the most rewarding. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Publishing the final chapter will be bittersweet. I am anxious to share the finale, but don’t quite want to let these characters out of my writing world just yet 😉

  7. roughwighting January 3, 2015 / 4:09 pm

    I don’t think we writers EVER leave our characters behind, even when we go on to the next novel. I know I don’t. And you certainly shouldn’t either, since you’re creating such great ones.

    • davecenker January 3, 2015 / 7:19 pm

      Your comments always bring a smile to my face, thank you so much for your kinds words 🙂

      Something tells me these three characters will stick with me far beyond the end of this story. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, it is sincerely appreciated 😉

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