Just a Little Hope
The streets were filled, over flowing with broke, hungry people. The smell of smoke was strong in the air. Sophie held her child close to her chest, trying to stop his loud desperate cries. She whispered lullabies into his ears as the line edged forward. She held a crumpled piece of paper in her hand, their food ticket for the week.
As she reached the front of the line she was handed a small paper bag in exchange of the ticket. She thanked the man as she walked back through the crowd, holding her son close as they pushed through. She placed a small bread roll in his hands as they walked down a city street , his cries calmed. "We'll be home soon" she whispered, and then kissed him on the forehead.
They lived in an old room in the slums of New Jersey. The walls were damp and the floor creaked but at least they had a home. Sophie placed her child down as she walked through the wooden door. Her son, Thomas ran to his bed, an old ripped mattress, its filling spilling out. The ceiling light flicked above them. Sophie hoped that it wouldn't blow. She placed the paper bag on a dusty counter and the sat down next to her son chewing on her roll. A deep cough barked in his chest. Sophie rubbed his back, but the barking continued. She picked him up and placed him at her shoulder, hitting him in the center of his back. The coughing finally stopped. She sat him down on the mattress, dangling a finger in front of his face. He reached up and grabbed it, a smile forming on his face. Sophie smiled back, tears forming in her eyes. He could die at any moment she thought, during his sleep, in her arms...It was something she always thought about, but right now all she could think about was how happy he looked, it brought comfort to her breaking heart.
Spilling out from under the mattress were hidden letters from her husband. He left America a year ago, catching a boat to England to work as a farmer in the town of Somerset. He sent a portion of the money he earned to his family, hoping it would help their state, but it was barely enough, It covered their rent but that was all, they relied on charities for food and clothing. They wrote letters to each other every month, she told him how things were and he did the same. But the last few weeks had been tough, food was scarce and her son's condition was getting worse. He had severe asthma, the medication he needed was expensive and therefore couldn't be bought. She wanted to ask her husband for more money but feared she would look greedy doing so. But this was their son, surely he would understand.
Weeks went by the same as the last. Sophie woke to fresh sunlight spilling through the window, her son slept peacefully beside her. She stroked his head looking up at the ceiling. She thought about the letter she sent, how nervous she was to write it, how long it felt walking into town to send it and how long it would take for a reply. Almost four weeks had past since then, something should be in by now. She swiftly got herself and her son dressed and headed out the door. The sun was warm on their faces' as they journeyed into the town center.
"Pick up for Sophie Campbell", Sophie said reaching the the teller, her son firmly on her hip. She was handed a small thin envelope, which she took with her free hand. Surprised by its size and weight, she sat out front of the store to open it, her son rested on her lap. She pulled out the folded piece of paper and read it out loud, "Meet me at the docks". Sophie picked up her son and walked as fast she could to the ocean, tears pricking her eyes. The sea breeze was strong, her brown waves flicked wildly. Boats floated in the water. Her son coughed deep in his chest, "Hold on baby, daddy's here". Sophie flicked around, "Matthew!" she cried, pulling him in, "I've missed you so much". She ran a hand around his face. "Look how big you've gotten" Mathew said tickling a finger under Thomas's chin, he giggled. Sophie and Mathew look at each other, the ocean swirling around them. "I'm taking you to England" Mathew said, breaking the silence. Sophie's eyes grew wide, "Seriously...?" she blurted, "but how can we afford it, where will we live...What about Thomas?" Mathew placed his hand under her chin and kissed her. "Everything has been arranged, the only thing that matters right now is that our family is back together". Sophie looked deep into his eyes, "I love you" she whispered, linking her fingers through his. For the first time in a long time everything felt perfect, she had no fears, she had no pain, her world was finally whole again.