Lost Hope

#BlockChallenge Day 6/30

“I have to find it. I simply have to find it!” The woman’s hair flew around her face as she frantically dug through the trash.

“M’am?” The barista approached her cautiously. “M’am?”

The woman kept throwing coffee cups and half-eaten danishes to the side. “I have to find it!”

“Maybe I can help you?” The barista said softly. The patrons were starting to get uneasy.

The homeless were welcomed into Hopeful Brew. It’s owner, Danny, had spent some time on the streets after becoming an addict. He’d been clean for six years and had opened Hopeful Brew two years ago. The homeless received free water and use of the bathroom, provided they didn’t cause a scene. This woman, elbow deep in coffee grinds, was well on the way to causing a scene.

“Where could it be?” The woman ran her dirty hands through her hair, dripping coffee stains on her face.

“I’m going to have to ask you to leave,” the barista said, gently taking the woman by the elbow. “Whatever you lost, it is not here.”

“Don’t touch me!” The woman backed away from the barista, eyes wide. “Don’t you ever touch me!”

This was officially a scene.

“Should we call the police?” Another barista whispered. “I think we should call the police.”

Danny came out from the back office and surveyed the scene. “Don’t call the police,” he said. “I’ve got this.” He walked over to the woman who had resumed digging through the trash.

“Hello. Thank you for coming to my little shop today. It’s not often we have royalty.”

The woman eyed him like a feral cat. “I ain’t no queen,” she muttered.

“Could have fooled me.” He winked and the woman smiled. “Now what have you lost?”

“My ring. I’ve lost my ring.” She began to cry.

“Let me help you.” Danny rolled up his sleeves and began methodically going through the garbage. The baristas and patrons stared. “Is this it?” he held up a ring of ragged threads in blues and reds.

The woman’s face lit up. “Oh!” she exclaimed and slid it over her finger.

“It’s very beautiful,” Danny said when she held it up for him to admire. “Would you like to wash up and join me for a cup of coffee? My treat?”

The woman nodded and headed to the washroom.

“What are you all staring at?” he barked at the baristas. “When she comes out, I want each one of you to tell her that you are sorry for not helping her.”

“It was just a piece of garbage,” one of the baristas protested.

“No,” Danny said, “it wasn’t. Hope comes in many forms. Some of us carry it in our hearts and some of us wear it as a reminder on our fingers. Either way, it destroys us when we lose it.”

  • * Today’s prompt was to write a story about someone who lost something**

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Tommi Elizabeth is a practicing attorney who lives in North Carolina with her husband, four dogs, and two cats. She firmly believes that there are no problems that cannot be solved with a cup of coffee and a puppy. Her first novel, Fire & Ice: The Return, is available on Amazon and she is currently working on a collection of creative non-fiction essays and a dog show murder mystery.