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The woman stares in the reflection of the black computer screen. It determined it was time to sleep due to her inactivity.

How she longed to do the same, to just… sleep. Let all the problems go away as she drifts off into a place beyond her consciousness.

The working never seemed to improve. She has labored for years, sold off her youth to become a scholar.

And now here she was. She lacked even the strength to even romanticize her own position in life. What was the point of all of this?

Was there a point?

She makes next to nothing, unable to save but a scrap, a few dimes. 

Her future had been sold to pay for her future, and now her future was paying.

She labored for the honor of laboring.

She had no time, no energy, and, worst of all, an abundance of hopes.

She had locked hope’s dove into a cage inside herself. Oh how it cries and it mourns. Sometimes she wished to just smother it with a pillow, to make it silent evermore.

But each time she approached the cage, the thoughts somehow changed. Faced with herself in the reflection of those innocent eyes, she could not bear to put it out of its misery.

She reached up a hand to the beautiful bird. One day, one day I will be able to afford the golden key to release you from this cage. I will have the time to frolic with you in the sky, to visit the castles in the clouds.

‘Ahh,’ she thinks to herself. ‘I am romanticizing again.’

With a little smile, she acknowledges that things still aren’t so bad. The discordant orchestra of emotions within were guided by hope’s cry. 

Things may not be lovely now, but they will get better someday.

Carry on, carry on.

The world will not wait for you, 

But I will.

Hope, after all, is the thing with feathers.

It ought to just fly away. 

Yet, it stays inside of us to carry us up into the vastness of what might be. 

The skies only appear grey for the soul knows of the blue. Unhappiness now is the sign that things can be better, better for you and me.

We need not have seen true beauty to know it exists. We need not to have felt love to give it.

We need not these external things, for all of goodness lies within.

No golden key needs purchased to free your spirit of hope.

We are not doves, not beings of wings and flight. We fear the flight of fancy, as we fear to fall from the heights.

It’s alright to stay on the ground, to remind yourself of circumstance without pomp.

Just remember to visit the place inside that shelters your hope and your heart.

The most flimsy of cages are the ones we build ourselves. Perhaps, the woman will knock down the bars. Perhaps not. But hope will wait for her, for it hopes in her as much as it hope for her.

“One day!” it cries, “You will join me, you’ll see!”

You’ll see, when hope come out of its cage, to soar in the skies and be free.