I’ve lost everything, it’s all gone. Robert Odell sat on the steps of his porch staring out at the yard in front of him. He sat outside on his old wooden porch to escape the chaos of thoughts trapped within the walls of his house. Everything just seems gloomier now, even the old cheerful chatter of birds seem lonely and wistful. Robert’s thoughts drifted back to the time before the events that took place a single week before. It was 1929, the Cubs were going strong, and life was good. After all, he was living the American dream. That is, until the stock market crashed and every cent to his name was washed away. The memory of the crowded bank, yelling people, and weeping men took hold of his mind as he sighed with despair once more. I’ll never be happy again. I’m ruined. “Umm…hay there Robert.” Robert looked up to see his old friend John Mayfield, who despite being a rather large boisterous glasses wearing fellow, kept himself and his belongings tidier and neater than your own beloved gran keeps hers.
“Hello John.” Robert sighed. “I’d invite you in, but the house has been a wreck ever since Lillian left.”
“I’m real sorry to hear that Robert. Lillian’s a great woman, I’m sure she’ll come around.”
But she won’t. My money is gone. My money was the only thing that she loved. It was the only thing that made her stay. Now she’s gone and I’m lost. John sat beside Robert and sighed. “I can’t help but wonder why we didn’t see the signs earlier. It’s nothing but chaos out there right now; people are losing their families, their lives. With the way things are looking at the bank right now, I could lose my job at any time.”
“I’m sorry John.” Robert sighed resting his head on his hands. “It seems that’s all I say anymore.” Looking back to his friend he continued. “So what brings you here John? Surely you didn’t come just to sit and listen to a bunch of complaining.”
“Ah, I guess I can’t stall anymore.” Pity filled John’s eyes as he turned towards his friend. “My bosses at the bank sent me actually. I’m sorry Robert; they’re foreclosing on your house. I tried to convince them to give you some more time, but the bank is barely staying afloat, they wouldn’t listen to me.”
Why me? He’s just glad it’s not him! Haven’t I lost enough? I’m the one who put in a hard days labor to make that savings. All he does all day is sit at a desk. Did he even loose anything in this crash? “My money, my job, my wife, my children; they might as well take my house too. Then at least there’s nothing left for them to take but my life.” The chirping of the birds and the chattering of the squirrels now seemed like an insult to Robert. If humans are so superior to animals, why can such a silly thing as money bring our down fall? Oh how I long to be like the animals! Carefree and content! “You know the world isn’t what it used to be.” John said, breaking the silence. “Times like these will turn any honest man dishonest. Why it’s only been a week and the bank has been held up with a robbery at least three times a day! They never get off with anything though, because the bank’s just plain empty.” John glanced at his friend. He had hoped that some light conversation would keep Robert’s mind of his troubles.
Why were my children taken from me? Why was I not enough for my wife? What am I supposed to do now? “Why do you think it is?” Robert started as he starred off in the distance. “That someone who has lost everything would still have the will to go on?”
Images flashed through Robert’s mind. Lillian, a dark hair strong willed woman, yelling at him for investing so much in the stock market, her packing bags, and him pleading with her to stay, and finally watching as she dragged his two boys away. Did she ever love me?
“Maybe because they know that things will get better.” John replied. “At least that’s what keeps me going.”
“But what if they don’t John, what if things never get better?”
And if it does get better will it get worse again? Do things only get better before they get worse?
“Well, you’ll never know if you give up. That’s why we got to keep on going. We got to have hope that things will get better. And even if they don’t, at least we’ll know we tried. That’s how you’ll know you haven’t lost everything, because despite all your troubles you didn’t give up. You kept you courage and your hope.”
Courage and hope, did I ever have those in the first place? Soon john left and the sun hung low in the sky bathing the lawn in a brilliant orange, the birds began to disappear one by one, retiring to their nest for the night, and the night life began to stir.
Perhaps I will go on. Perhaps I haven’t lost everything. I could at least try to hold on. After all this is America, anything is possible.