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A Symbol of Hope
By Phillip Brooks
Johnny sat down and stared at the coffee that the officer gave him. He watched the steam floating out of it so intensely that it seemed to be the most interesting thing he’s ever seen. Johnny was looking for the words, the whole story, exactly what he did and why he did it, how to explain himself without sounding selfish or pitiful.
The officer sat down parallel to Johnny. Pulling out a notepad, the officer asked again, “Johnny, please explain the whole situation. Just tell the truth and I promise that this will be as painless a process as possible.”
Johnny did not look up at the officer; he looked around his cup to find a stir for the coffee. He found one lying near the cup, picked it up, and began stirring his coffee with it. Stirring his coffee helped him relax a little bit and think clearer thoughts.
“I stole a tote bag of apples, a banana bunch, a loaf of bread, a set of plastic utensils, and a package of butter.” Johnny finally admitted, ending his sentence with a huge sigh.
“Why did you take all of that Johnny?” The officer asked, perching his pen to his notepad, waiting to write down Johnny’s excuse.
“Because,” Johnny began, now looking up from his cup, “life isn’t fair. I understand if that’s not a good excuse, but I’ve been so lost in hunger, in fear, and in depression. No one is willing to help me. I’ve held all the signs like a normal homeless man, I’ve tried going to the soup kitchen, or a homeless shelter, but everywhere denies me. I couldn’t get a hand out, I couldn’t get help from people who claim they’re there to help, it’s like I’m invisible. Like nothing around me is real. I’m lost in a cloud of darkness, eating away at my soul a little more with every eye that turns, every stomach growl, every ‘no’ I hear… Suddenly, I see a chance. I noticed that the grocery store was very busy, so, I walked in, grabbed a cart, and grabbed what looked good. I walked towards the exit and got stopped by someone; I told them I was just waiting for my mom, and when they walked away… I tried to walk out, the alarms went off, and you came and brought me here. I know what I did was wrong officer, but... That split second between the worker walking away and the alarms going off was… That was the first time I had ever felt hope in my entire life.”
The officer finished jotting down notes and then took a look back at Johnny. He began silently reviewing his notes, the silence made the air feel heavy on Johnny. Johnny thought that he was going to be taken away to a detention center and released in five years, when he turned eight-teen. The officer then put his notebook back in his pocket and stood up.
“Johnny,” he said, “Do you promise that every word you’ve spoken here has been truthful?”
“I promise.” Said Johnny.
“You’re a homeless kid that no one will even give the time of day to?”
“I will be back, Johnny.”
The officer then left the room. Johnny took a sip of his coffee and tried to calm himself down. It won’t be that bad, he thought, at least there will be food.
After what felt like hours, the officer returned and asked Johnny to follow him. Together they walked out of the station and to the officer’s car. Johnny took a long breath in, and a long look around, as this would be the last breath of fresh air, and the last sight of the outside world, that he would get for a long time. The officer started up the car and they drove towards the detention center. As the building came into sight, Johnny began to shiver from fear of what it would be like inside. It drew closer and closer as Johnny’s fear heightened.
Johnny watched the entrance of the detention center parking lot as the officer drove right past it. Johnny couldn’t believe it; he wasn’t going to get locked up. A huge smile came over his face and a tear rolled down his cheek. The feeling of hope embraced him like a loving parent. The officer drove further down the road and eventually pulled into the driveway of a tan painted, two story house with two square windows in the front of each floor, a beautiful mahogany porch, a tire swing in the front yard, and a rocking chair on the porch with a lady getting out of it. She came over to the car as the officer got out. They embraced and she kissed him as Johnny got out as well. She walked to Johnny and hugged him tightly.
“Welcome home Johnny,” she whispered, “We’re going to give you the life you deserve.”
Johnny felt a swarm of emotions overtake him and began crying in this kind woman’s arms. He couldn’t believe that this was happening to him. Within a month, the officer and his wife obtained custody of Johnny. Johnny now claims that being arrested was the best thing that could’ve ever happened to him, and the officer and his wife claim that Johnny was the best thing that had ever happened to them.
Thank you for reading. God bless.
#Unreal #ShortStory #Fiction #PhillipBrooks #Feels #Hope #Inspiration #JusticeServed #GoodCops
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