“Her name is Hope”.
That is how she got her name. This was the first and last diary entry that Hope’s mother had made. It was the only possession she had of her late mother. The diary had now become tattered but when Hope had received it on her thirteenth birthday it was pretty much new. The lined pages filled with the promise of more diary entries from her mother. Except that had never occurred. Hope, why that? what was her mother hoping for, she wondered. What was so special about hope. As far as she was concerned, there was no hope in the world. Having hope in this world was a fool’s errand. Her mother had died given birth to her and father wasn’t very involved in her life. She had left home as soon as she could at the age of eighteen. She wanted more with her life either than the health care assistant job her aunt wanted her to do.
Using her talent as a dancer, she had worked hard to win a scholarship at Julliard. After this, she knew that she wanted to work in the entertainment industry but hadn’t quite figured exactly what as yet. Even though her mother had wished for her to be called Hope, she went by the name of Ice. Her nickname had been given to her by her Aunt Jackie. Apparently even as a child, she was so cold that when she was once told to smile, with her dark eyes cold with the utter contempt she snarled at the culprit “that’s my face, go find yourself a smile elsewhere”. She didn’t really know why she was this way. She did not exactly take pride in it but for so long she had been known as the ‘mean girl’ and the name Ice stuck with her. Stories about her mother sounded so nice she couldn’t help but think that she must be turning in her grave as her daughter was referred to as Ice instead of the name she had left for her. Hope.
For the weirdest reason, she couldn’t help thinking about her late mother today. Well, it was her mother’s birthday so maybe that was why. She knew this because it had been filled in the information section of her mother’s diary. Her father rarely ever talked of her mother. Well, he really wasn’t much involved in her life so there wasn’t much to talk about. Her auntie who had been her guardian after her father had been deemed incompetent to raise her, had once shared a story about the man her father used to be before her mother had died giving birth to her. Her deep dark skin, dark eyes and big black kinky hair, random grey and ginger strands dyed by the sun reminded her father too much of her mother. No matter, that was not the man that he was now. Wishing and having hope that he will ever be that man again was a child’s play. And She was not a child anymore.
Ice sat over the old red brick fence, a little café that she stumbled upon. The old red fence seemed out-of-place. A bit English-eques for the small retro New York café. But that was what she liked the most about it. It reminded her of herself. Over time it had become her favourite spot in her new city of New York. Swinging her legs to the beat of the music as she continued to think about her mother. The dancer in her was always moving, even when she was sat still, her feet would be moving of its own accord. Dancing was her release. While she danced, she could be anything she wanted to be. The opinions of others did not affect her as much, she wasn’t Ice the mean girl, and she was not Hope either as her mother had wished. She was just a girl who loved to danced. Dancing her way through life as she figured out who she was.
Shaking her head out of the many thoughts cycling her brain she checked her watch for the time. “Oh no”! she screamed as she jumped down and hastily began to make her way towards the mall. She was meant to meet Liza, her friend for dinner tonight and again she was running late. Another thing that she had developed a reputation for.
She continued to half walk half run as she made her way towards the mall among the throng of people on the sidewalk. It almost 7 pm, why were these people not home, milling about in the street and making her journey unnecessarily difficult; she huffed under her breath. She was only a couple of blocks away from their meeting spot. Swinging her backpack from behind her to her side, she opened it up to get her phone out so she could text Liza and let her know she was on her way.
Thump! That was the sound of her knees connecting to the cold pavement floor as she fell. Too busy texting and not looking at where she was going, she had crossed the road without looking and had been knocked over by a bike. The impact sent a sharp pain to her head, dazed she looked around to get her surroundings. She couldn’t quite figure out what had happened and fumbled for her things.
Are you ok? Someone asked. The voice was deep, almost baritone with a hint of annoyance she detected. Wait, was this person annoyed that he had knocked her over? The audacity! If anyone was to be annoyed right now it was her. What is your name? he continued as she had not answered his initial question. This time she heard the concern in his voice. It was a lot softer with the same base to it but soothing. Something about it reminded her of her dad singing to her as a child. This memory was buried so far deep it surprised her to see it so vividly now. She opened her eyes and lifted her head up to see who this stranger was. His dark brown eyes stared intently at her as he reached his hand out to help her up. She looked up at him taking in his rich dark skin, that almost glistened against the night moonlit sky. She thought of her mother and what had brought her this far. Maybe it was because she was still dazed, or it was the memory of her childhood but even though She had no idea what life had in store for her, she had hoped that it will all work itself out. Confused by her current state of mind, She grimaced as she answered him. Hope. My name is Hope.