I’m always in for a challenge. So I asked a good friend of mine to give me a sentence – anything at all – and I promised I would use it as the first sentence of my story. The sentence she gave me was: “The man that walked down the road had a jar full of hope.” Not sure how this will turn out, yet. But you can read the result below =)
Feel free to leave your opinion!
The man that walked down the road had a jar full of hope. No matter where he went, he would always take his jar with him. Most people didn’t know what was in the jar, but Lauren knew. She had known since she was just a little girl. She was only 6 years old when they moved to this place, and it was only a few days later that she saw the man walking down the road. The instant she saw the jar under his right arm, she knew what must be in it. When she told her friends they just laughed at her, and even her father wouldn’t believe her. But that didn’t keep her from believing in it: The old man had a jar full of hope. She just knew from the look on his face.
This man always seemed to be there ever since. Not a day passed by without this man shuffling, almost stumbling down the street. Lauren was always there to watch him pass by. Sometimes she would go out to be closer, but she never dared to talk to the man. And yet she knew for certain what he carried in his jar. That he would pass by every single day, even though it seemed to take up all his energy, was even more proof to Lauren.
Everyone in the street had their own thoughts about the old man. Jenny’s mom claimed he was a homeless guy, and that the jar was all he had left. She thought he was better to be avoided, and therefore always dragged her children inside when he would pass by. The old lady next door stood smiling in front of the window whenever the man would appear. Lauren’s dad never seemed to notice him, or he just didn’t care, so Lauren could go wherever she wanted when the old man shuffled through the streets.
But this morning it was different. The old man did pass by, but there was something about him that wasn’t there before. Lauren decided to go outside to figure out what had happened. She wasn’t planning on talking to the old man, oh no! Even though she was almost 14 now, actually speaking to this man still seemed the scariest thing in the world. But she just had to be nearer to see what had changed.
He still wore the same ragged clothes and the bright green hat was still on his head. So that couldn’t be the difference. While Lauren gradually moved closer, trying not to be seen, she kept wondering what it was that had changed. Still stumbling – check. She looked at his clothes again. Brown old clothes – check. Black boots – check. Green hat – check. So, if it wasn’t the way he walked nor his clothes, then what could it be? Carefully approaching a few more steps, Lauren suddenly saw it. How could she have missed such a striking difference? The jar under the man’s right arm was gone! Then it really hit her. If the jar was gone, the man’s hope had gone too! After all, she was still convinced after all these years, it was a jar full of hope.
As if all her fear had disappeared together with the jar, Lauren jumped up from her hiding place and ran to the old man. “Sir, where is your jar?” she asked him, but the man didn’t even seem to notice her. “Sir, where is your jar?” Lauren asked again, now a little louder. This time the man turned around and looked her in the eye. “Why do you ask, my dear?” a soft dark voice replied. For a moment Lauren realized what she had just done: she had spoken to the old man! And he replied! “I… uhm… I… well, you always had a jar under your right arm. And, uhm, now it’s gone. And I wondered where it is now, cause it is such an important jar, and… uhm…” “Important? Why?” Lauren couldn’t believe what she just heard. Had she been wrong all these years? This man must surely have known what was inside his jar. And now that his jar is gone, all hope has gone too. How could this old man still look so cheerful? “But, but, your jar full of hope is gone. How can you go on now?” Lauren whispered. “Jar full of hope?” the old man asked. Lauren’s face grew pale. How could he not have known how important his jar was? It must have given him the strength to pass by every day and now it’s just gone. The old man spotted Lauren’s worried face and smiled. “You thought I had a jar full of hope?” Unable to reply, Lauren just nodded. “But what made you think that, my dear?” Lauren swallowed the lump in her throat and replied: “I’ve always known it was, ever since I saw you when I was only 6 years old. I thought you must have a jar full of hope to be able to walk up and down this road every single day, even though it took up all your energy. And you never seemed sad or hurt. Only hope can give you the strength to carry on.” The old man smiled again and put a hand on Lauren’s shoulder. “My dear, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you what really was in the jar. But since you’re so convinced of my jar full of hope, I’d like to keep it this way. It is actually a beautiful thought, and I think everyone could use a jar full of hope at some point in their lives. The jar I carried with me is with someone else now, a friend of mine. I think he needs hope more than I do right now.” All Lauren could do was smile. Even though the man actually told her that he hadn’t carried a jar full of hope, she only heard his dark voice mentioning the jar over and over again. She had been right all these years. It was a jar full of hope…