Southerly breezes kissed away our winter blues last week. Snowdrops and cherry blossoms danced in the bright sunshine while birds fluttered about, looking for secluded places to build their nests. People were out in droves, hiking, walking and otherwise finding safe ways to stay outdoors. It was magical, a wonderful glimpse of what awaits us after a few more winter storms.
The light at the end of the tunnel.
Since the New Year, I’ve been hearing this phrase being used a lot. A friend of mine recently referred to her ongoing home renovations that way. Charli Mills mentioned it in her latest Flash Fiction Challenge post. And I’ve noticed our provincial health officer has started conveying this sentiment during her regular Covid-19 briefings.
This phrase gives us hope. We have a vision of something better waiting for us at the end of our journey. We don’t always know exactly what the light entails, but we know the feeling of accomplishment, relief and joy that we’ll be experiencing once we get there.
And because we’re human, many of us will engage in internal and occasionally external negotiations on how to get through the tunnel the easiest and fastest way possible. I remember years ago, rhyming off a long list of activities I promised not to do, hoping the orthopedic surgeon would let me ditch the crutches and use a cane while my broken foot continued to mend. He laughed, checked the x-ray and somewhat reluctantly agreed to my request, but only after I gave a solemn vow of obedience to the negotiated terms.
And wouldn’t it be nice if we had Star Trek-like transporters to magically whisk us from where we are to where we want to be without any work, effort and trade-offs or sacrifices. Unfortunately, these are the actions that are required of us. And the longer the tunnel, the more onerous they feel.
The light is our hope, and faith sustains us while we stay the course, particularly during the darkest and most challenging stretches of the journey.
Charli Mills’ January 21, 2021 Flash Fiction Challenge was to write a story in 99 words (no more, no less) that rephrases ‘light at the end of the tunnel’. We’re to think of how the cliché replacement communicates a hopeful ending and aligns with the character in the story. And as always, she suggests we go where the prompt leads us.
Charli’s prompt lead me back to the hospital and an interplay Dr. Abby has with a patient. She was the main character in my Be Kind * Be Calm * Be Safe story last December.
Abby flipped the switch to off and began removing the prongs from her patient’s nose.
“Good news, Mr. Scarlatti. No more oxygen tubes today,” she said and handed him a cup of water.
“Does that mean I can go home tomorrow?”
“Let’s see how you do today and then we’ll talk.”
“But I am strong,” he said, hacking out a boisterous cough.
“Knowing you, we’ll have you walking out of the hospitalꟷ”
“And into your arms?”
“Then into the caressing and loving arms of my beautiful Maria. How about the day after tomorrow?”
Abby laughed. “Let’s hope so.”