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Hope A Story Of Love And Loss

998 words - 4 pages

Nothing but ashes. Midnight ash, psychotic embers still spinning around the remains of the chimney. The only recognisable structure in this blackened wasteland. My shock at the sight of this desert which once contained my home - my trees, my garden, my house, my memories - is immeasurable. My pain reminds me of how I felt at the news of Hope's condition.My stomach tightened, twisted, my heart strained to leap right out of my chest - Hope was upbeat, as usual. She never let it get her down, never gave into it."George," my older sister had said, "Georgia, it's not that serious. We'll fight it off together."...I believed her.I pick my way through the debris to where my room had stood. My iron bedhead is only just distinguishable while my other furniture has been reduced to charcoal. I sift through my wardrobe with my fingers but can't recover anything but a silver buckle. The bushfires have convincingly wiped out everything.At first, the hospital room hadn't been so bad. Hope's friends had all come and brought chimes, posters, flowers - all sorts of collectables to brighten up the neutral walls and minimal furniture. It was homely, but it could never be home.I move into the loungeroom through a memory of a wall. In that corner the TV stood, over there the couch, in front: the coffee table. The firefighters had said that the danger was minimal, that they wouldn't let our house burn down, that we had nothing to worry about."We'll take good care of your daughter, Mr and Mrs Garrethy," Doctor Johnston assured my parents, "We won't let anything happen to her, you have nothing to worry about."I remember the basement, maybe it's intact, maybe... I dash outside to the collapsed entrance, throwing aside rocks in my haste. The basement floor is dry and hot but everything within seems unscathed. Rushing to the far side of the room, I fall to my knees and dig frantically through the ash until I touch the wooden floorboards. I feel for the loose board and pry it off the broken nail.After a few months in hospital, a counsellor suggested we should collect some things that reminded us of fun things we'd done. Hope needed all the good memories she could find - she needed something to live for.I brought the cheap make-up we'd played dress-ups in, multi-coloured beads we'd made each other "sister necklaces" with, a charm bracelet I gave her for Christmas and a photo of us at the beach. Hope put it all in a pale blue, plastic box she found in the cupboard next to her bed. Those items were Hope's treasure and she treated them with the respect treasures deserve.I hold the prize in my hands. The plastic is smooth and clinical - an appearance misleading to what it contains. With trembling fingers I snap the lid off and gaze at the contents. Added to the jewellery, make-up and...

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