Short story Hope

Melissa Ann Howell Schier
4 min readMar 29, 2024

His dark brown eyes were like bright lights in his thin face as she walked into his establishment. He was probably cold as he had on a puffy black jacket and his hands were clutched around his body as if to warm himself.

But he smiled and his face lit up when she walked in. It was about fifty degrees outside and she could see her breath when she breathed as she got out of her little car, and inside it was not much warmer. But the weather here was not cold compared to many other places.

As she crossed the thresh hold he hurried to greet her. He was someone, she had learned over time, who had a plethora of information and intimate knowledge about CCP and all the restrictions of freedom associated with it, having lived under its rule for almost thirty years of his life. He was grateful that his sister helped him leave communism to come to her city.

Recognizing her, he hurried to gather her items for pickup, quickly moving to the supplies, gathering them up in a single armload and depositing them on the counter. She liked being recognized, and to make conversation, she asked him about how things were going, and wondered why he had changed things from what was there before.

“My wife” he said, “does not want me to be political”.

“People are afraid to say what they think any more” she responded. But before she could say anything more, he became very animated. He apparently was not afraid to say what he thought, even though the changes were out of respect for his wife and her wishes.

You must never give up”, he said.

That is what ‘they (communism) want’ is for people like you to feel like nothing they do matters anymore”. “But this is a great country…Things do get resolved…things do get fixed. Do not give up. Never give up.”

“You are right” she said.

Here in Texas they switched to paper ballots when they realized electronic voting was being tampered with,” she added hopefully.

“See what I mean” he said.

“This is a country for freedom, and the government is for the people”. He was so excited she had to smile with him.

“The people get to decide and what they want does matter”, he said.

The people get to decide…. she thought about this.

As she walked back to her car, she remembered how, in a game she had been playing, people and their micro relationships were what decided things on a global scale as the individual people had represented countries and their macro relationships. And the way the different countries aligned, in the game, matched the way the people and their relationships aligned.

She had, she believed, interpreted correctly the countries that these people represented, in the game, because determining who represented what, was part of the game. She knew who were friends, and who were family and there was a difference. Calling someone family, who was not family, was a mistake in this game because the entire game was based on what was the truth in the existing relationships. What people said, and what they did was not always the same thing.

But like the man said, about the USA, whom she had just been talking to, was that the point, was for people to live freely and to have the ability to create changes when they wanted to. What a person believed was what made the difference. And she was starting to recognize that friends do not necessarily align in their value system with family. When the lack of compatibility on the small scale translates to the larger scale in the game she was playing she saw that it was recognizable.

It was a new game but she recognized that the same people were still claiming the same countries as their avatars. The command reports that she had read, or the “cheat sheets” on game play, described a fawning relationship between the USA and Russia that was quite exaggerated and refutable. She could not corroborate such. And by marriage kin was not the same as blood kin. Countries who cheated, could find themselves “divorced”. If there was reconciliation and reparation, then stronger bonds could be formed.

Since the behavior of such, was determined by the people, not the avatars (the countries themselves), she saw parallels that were hard to ignore. And in addition, there was the family type relationship between the person in her game, who represented the avatar of North Korea and the person representing the avatar of Russia. News of the Veto by Russia which ended enforcement of Nuclear sanctions on North Korea, also mirrored and reinforced what she saw as a familial type relationship. Even the support of Saudi Arabia as an avatar for a third family member, matched…. as she read that this country congratulated Putin on his win in the last elections.

But she knew the USA was not fawning. And the person with the USA as its avatar was not demonstrating family relationships with the above mentioned people and their avatars. Friends had to do more to demonstrate shared values. Family grew up with shared values.

She took a photo of her table.

The big boss had responded…

Thus you shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots and mighty men and with all men of war.

And I will set my glory upon the heathen and all the heathen shall see my judgement that I have executed and my hand that I have laid upon them.

The Big boss, she thought, must understand the photo shoot she had of things on her screen, like the shot of the crocus and the shot of the cherry blossoms. His judgement was the only judgment.

It was indeed a free country… and she was indeed grateful that as an individual she could listen to, and serve with humility, the big boss, whom she trusted to maintain her freedom.

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Melissa Ann Howell Schier

HoustonWorkout on YouTube, mom of five, journalist and artist and conservative who values life.