Hope and Despair
Dreams and Love are the sustenance of a child’s soul, which must have an abundance of both to power them properly later as adults.
He had accumulated little of both as a child. What he had accumulated had come later in life, from therapists, friends, from his wife, and from himself, as he learned to view himself and his history with compassion. His wife had suggested that they take this trip, as a way of fulfilling some of those “lost” childhood dreams.
Darkness, drizzle and grey clouds hung in contrast to the bright lights of motels, restaurants, and other tourist attractions on the strip about a mile from the entrance to Disney World. Two young Japanese tourists hurried to their cab, which had just pulled up to the curb. On one side of the lobby was an internet café, frequented by two well-dressed professional looking women in their late twenties. Next to the front door was an ATM, numerous racks of Disney coupon pamphlets and other publications. On the right, signs indicated the way to various in-house restaurants and bars, shuttle buses, a miniature golf course and a swimming pool. People bustled everywhere with intention and good spirits, typical reactions of folks on vacation. Everywhere, folks talked and laughed unselfconsciously, especially the children.
He stood by the registration desk of The Best Western, mortified, frozen in painful all consuming self-conscious isolation, not sure how to proceed. One more humiliation, one more hope-crushing disappointment on public display robbed him of his decision making abilities. The desk clerk pretended to be busy, to not notice his discomfort. A previous motel had double billed him for a week’s stay in the Keys, and there were no funds available on his debit card for either his hotel room, or his one day at Disney. Countless phone calls had proved fruitless. This was Mickey Mouse land, a place of magic, and childhood dreams. This shouldn’t be happening here in Orlando, one mile away from fulfilling a childhood dream that he had given up on nearly 50 years ago!
Every child who grew up in the fifties and sixties shared this special dream given to them by a kindly Walt Disney; the dream of going to Disney Land, or (later) Disney World. Sometimes, if we hide things well enough from ourselves, we don’t know what we desire, until we have lost it. Disappointment didn’t even begin to describe what he was feeling. Frustration hadn’t surfaced yet. There was no room for frustration, so large was the black void of shame, despair and isolation. He would have felt no more “exposed” if he had a big letter “L” for loser tattooed to his forehead.
Why had this happened? Did he contribute to it happening? Was this some sort of punishment from the God of his parents, a God of fear and retribution or proof of the Devil’s existence? Did he deserve this? Why did stuff like this always happen to him? Was this one more proof of his parent’s assertion that he was “no good”, and that no matter what he did, no matter how hard he tried, he would never be “OK” in their eyes or in anyone else’s for that matter? Would Hope always be a fantasy that he tried to hold onto, while despair was a fact that he could never disprove?
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