What is hope?

As a child, I could not cross my legs without hurting a golf ball. I only liked to sit on the pavement to our porticos and weigh pebbles in my palms, thoughtfully.

I cross my legs and walk better now, with less pains, and more ingestion of treatment pills, and hope.

Mary had four little pretty kids. Four little pretty kids – a little boy and three little pretty girls. Then she died. Of rare brain cancer. Aged 35. Mary had presents for her little pretty kids, which were made even more special because they knew how excited Mary would have been to give them. A little boy is dead. And three little pretty kids – I lost contact. Because goodbye world. Spread good energy and pain.

Thursday, last week. I saw three little pretty girls in a shopping mall. Adults. Bright eyes. I struggled not to tear up, and got thinking about hope, and how incredibly beautiful it is.

The more I see people fail and suffer, the more I cheer for them. Because hope is at the core of humanity. When you fail and cry, it is part of hope. It isn’t the moment of failure and great many trials, it is the moment when hope is realized. It is what meddles into our humanity, and makes us little pretty kids who limp and whimper with milk binkies in hands.

A young finance lawyer at the NSE, The Nigerian Stock Exchange. When he receives his pay-check at month ends, he doesn’t tear up or do many songs of Kumbaya, because he has worked for it. It is his due. But hand the same lawyer a won lottery ticket, and see what happens. Because, with unexpected ends, comes hope in the most softest way.

My grandma always told me as a little boy when I complained of my thigh pains, who told you it is going to be easy? Just hope.Because life is pretty and also a minefield.

Hope is, next to love, the most blissful of human emotions. But it is how we nettle our belief that we understand the concept of hope, even as ultimately, people choose what to believe.

A boy goes to the study hall with his books. He sits, and turns open a leaf. Then two leaves. But he doesn’t need to study, because that is where she is. He stares at her and have runny beats in his heart, and hopes that this time, maybe he doesn’t plunk and gets turned out.

When I loved a much older Kupe, I bore the tirades of my being called Nick Cannon, even as I wished she loved me as much as Ted Cruz hates Obama. But loving is weird. It isn’t as momentarily individualized as hope. You want for it to be returned. So unrequited love becomes absurd becomes nasty becomes an expectation, but bears in it the ultimate beauty.

The exactly returned love is rare, you are almost in tears when it happens, because it is all so magical and pure. Sometimes you want not to let her know of your feelings, because you fear unrequited love, or because your love in the untold state is exactly as magical and pure. It is why Ike never wants to tell Jessie of his love. It is why Martha keeps an everlasting crush. Then love becomes also a screwed concept, but equally – but softly as eternal as hope.

You are a brilliant student, but you can’t just hit the broad side of a barn. You study but continue hitting low grades. But you keep studying in failure and rustling tears because of hope. The hope that you will hit the broadside of a barn, and go home and kiss mama. Because despite the struggle, hope is beautiful. It makes you want the best even as hope will never make you demand it.

Khola Altaf was 5, December, 2014 – when she was killed by Taliban gunmen in her second day in Kindergaten in Army Military School, Peshawar, Pakistan. She died, almost clean in mind. Then, while I watched a news channel, and as the Mansehra polity mourned, a raised placard cut into my heart: Altaf, now in the soft embrace of Krishna, my little bit of comfort. I am trying not to tear up as I write this, even as I’m thinking about space-time boundary, and how finely it beautifies hope. Because in eternity, hope becomes a huge prattle for mystery. The mystery of belief in the most superior being, which is a little like the mystery of who set the Reichstag fire? 

For the Christian, a belief in God illuminates hope, which lies deeply amid the kerfuffle of separate beliefs. The mystery loops out more when the Buddhist is in a meditative absorption, for Buddha. There is the Islamist Allah, too. So it becomes an absurdist drama when you try to parse certainty on the one true Devine. But it is in this absurdist mystery that makes hope incredibly beautiful, as each to his own Devine, hopes that his is the only one true Absolute – in the fug of different spirituality.

Hope is everything. It is freshening as when the breeze rises. It is the root of our humanity. To understand the humanity of someone, they say, is to gain empathy for them. To hope. It is why we love associating, the pleasure of living. It is why we anticipate success, the reflected glint of the light hitting a big pile of silver.


Ezebuike Temple is a writer, and a poet. He is an ultimate year law student in the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

His work has been published in various Nigerian Dailies, such as; Guardian, Blueprint, Punch, P.M News, Sunday Trust, Sunday Sun, et c. And online platforms including; Real Stories Gallery, Brittle Paper, 4-traders, among others.

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