The prompt from Write on Edge: This week, we asked you to share a memoir featuring hope, expressed in 400 words or less
I first noticed the sloping ground when the hurricane came to the island. Then word of layoffs came.
I immediately began applying for jobs. Fortunately the major economic crash was just beginning and I got several interviews. And offers. The new commute was long and, though the price of renting closer to the city was steep, we moved closer.
But instead of feeling the ground level underneath us we felt ourselves slip further down.
The week after we signed the lease on the house my new department at work received an email. An obscure, read-between-the-lines kind of email. The department was on the chopping block.
I turned around and saw the cliff.
The economic crash rattled the nation and caused businesses to freeze all hiring and start layoffs. I began clawing at the ground but the more I dug in the looser the ground became. Gone were the multiple interviews and job offers that I had just a few weeks prior.
We got another email the week between Christmas and New Year's. We were meeting with HR in a matter of days. There were no lines to read between. We lost our jobs at the beginning of January.
My final hold on the top of the cliff was slipping.
The unemployment check would only cover half the rent. We paid for February's rent knowing that'd be the last month we could pay if we didn't find a job soon.
The ground underneath me gave way and we tumbled off the cliff. I looked down and only saw darkness.
The department my husband worked in before he quit to attend school was hiring and he was able to get an interview. That Friday he received a phone call that said a journeyman electrician had applied and was willing to take the apprentice position and pay.
We received our eviction notice that same day.
There were two choices. Both options meant we were relying on someone else for housing. Neither guaranteed a job. Neither guaranteed a way to stop our fall. I grabbed my kids, put my head down and waited for impact.
That Tuesday we had another phone call. Though the journeyman had a good interview, they knew Michael. They knew his work ethic. They knew he was capable. He was hired.
We felt ground underneath us again. We landed on a wide ledge that cradled us and let us catch our breath. We looked up and saw rays of the distant morning sun peek over the edge of our cliff. Rays that held more than just hints of light.
They held hints of hope.