“I woke up thinking the end was near. It felt like a roller-coaster was doing a never-ending loop inside my stomach,” said the old man.
“Tell us the story again, Grandpa!” said the kids.
The two kids, dressed in red, sat on a carpet in their bedroom. They stared at their Grandfather as intently as if a magician had mesmerized them. Not even an earthquake could shake their focus. They set their bright eyes, which seemed to sparkle like diamonds, on the man they loved.
The old man looked like the children, but he had wrinkles of wisdom. He had many, many wrinkles; one for each hardship he had experienced. He looked out the window and up at the sky as he began to recount one of those hardships. He felt a little too cold, a little too distant to cry as he recalled the story, but it was not too cold to rain outside. Outside, the birds in the sky flew forward, but the sky seemed to move backwards as if the old man was time traveling.
His grandchildren’s youthful enthusiasm and intent listening renewed his hope. He smiled, turned away from the window and looked at them.
He spoke up again, “I remember long lines of people who were desperate for help. The lines started on the sidewalk, and like a long snake, bent around corners. Other people would run around the empty street — there were no cars — pushing wheelbarrows. The wheelbarrows were overflowing with worthless money. And every time a light breeze came along, the money would scatter in every direction. These wheelbarrow pushers would pant as they chased fluttering bills, trying to stuff some under their hat. It was sad. Money, which had always been worthless, had stripped a priceless human being of dignity.
I’m sad to say many were losing hope in this setting. Either that or their horizons were limited to survival by any means. Caring about others didn’t seem to matter.”
The old man sighed and looked out the window. Teeny tiny droplets of water had replaced the torrential downpour of rain that first fell. He took comfort in his grandkids’ smiles and continued to tell the tale.
He said, “But there were murmurs and talk about a better place. I could see a glimmer of hope on the horizon. As he said this, a rainbow appeared outside. We worked together, stood tall together and moved forward together. Soon the snakelike lines and money chasing were a thing of the past. We did find ourselves in a better place. We could even sit down and play video games together. Games had always been an important part of my early life, but they became a luxury during those years.”
“Will we get to play them with you now?, Grandpa,” asked the kids.
“Sure,” he replied. Then a warm smile appeared on his face just as the sun shone outside. “First you two should take a nap.”
The kids didn’t want to move, like they were frozen, and were curious to know more. “Grandpa, what’s the moral of the story?”
He scratched his chin and pondered their question deeply before replying.
“Always remain hopeful,” he said.