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Hope, The Challenge

By Christy MunsonPublished about a month ago Updated 3 days ago 3 min read
Top Story - July 2024
Photo by Jorien Loman on Unsplash

I surprised a stranger on my doorstep late one summer night, well after 2 o'clock in the morning. She had my spare key in her hands. Her fingers were fumbling with the lock, but she was undeterred.

As she pushed open the door—my door—she caught my reflection in the glass. She gleaned that I lived here, in this townhouse—the very one into which she was granting herself access.

From the outside the three-story abode appeared neglected, even abandoned. I lived my life on the road for months at a time, with the band, and only came back when the touring reached an end. She likely noted the overflowing mailbox, found my key, and made a plan. It wasn't rocket science.

She was about to break and enter—well, enter—when she stopped abruptly. She heard me shuffling my feet. She looked up, caught my eye, and carried on.

In the casual splash of bored moonlight, she could feel I was grinning. She knew I was inwardly applauding her daring. Mouth agape, I gawked at her easy confidence.

I liked her—in that way one admires one's future best friend. She could tell. I wasn't even thinking about calling the cops.


We walked through the front door together, in lock step, complete strangers becoming something to each other.


Her smile was everything I wanted mine to be. She wore her clothes the way I longed to wear mine. Her hair was long and thick and luscious, braided like I'd seen a Viking valkyrie wear hers. Her face was pretty, effortlessly, with just a brush of blush, a touch of mascara, and a spot of lip balm. She even carried the handbag I'd dreamed of buying myself as a birthday present.

She glowed with certainty. I could tell by the way she carried herself, she knew her mind and didn't suffer fools.

I'd never known such confidence.


In the cozy yellowish cast of my foyer's overhead lamplight, if I glimpsed her, squinting, she looked like me. Wiser, older, less concerned with nonsense.

Unlike me, she let life find her where she lived. She took chances, clearly, but nothing too dangerous. She was the sort to rise to any occasion. And she liked life. I mean, she actually embraced living. She lived unashamed.

I was still picking at scabbed-over scars I wore like a badge of honor, or else buried beneath a pile of tormented blankets I chose to wrap my brittle self inside, only too comfortable in my well-wrought misery.


I invited her in. Put on the kettle. Shed my skin -- road scents and soil.

"Make yourself at home," I offered.

She did.


Wide awake despite the lateness (earliness) of the hour, I felt myself stumbling into a dream. The dearest dream. The dream I've always had but never could have admitted. I wanted a friend. A true friend. Someone who'd stay. Someone who could see me and dare to like me anyway.

Then, of course, I did what I always do. I couldn't resist asking, "What, no baggage?"

I'd never known a body could live without it.


I remember, even now, all these years later, how she looked at me in that moment. She looked straight through me--although her eyes met mine through the hallway mirror. She gazed into the distance, and I did too. We met there, in another time and space, in our shared experiences.

I was her baggage. She was my future.

We met in the middle. In the here and now. On the precipice.

She was me, if only I could absolve others of their trespasses, find forgiveness, and relinquish my victimhood.


Somewhere on the open road, I taught myself to unclench my fists. I stopped fighting the world. I stopped fighting myself. I forgave those who trespassed against me, and in doing so, found the space and grace to become who I could be.

It seems so simple in hindsight. Happiness is a choice. Hope is an action. Love is what we make it.

All I had to do was walk through the door unburdened.

I met myself when I gave myself permission to let go of the past, to honor my strength, and to see myself clearly -- the good, the bad, and the ugly.

At long last, I let myself in. This is me. This is home.


Copyright © 06/16/2024 by Christy Munson. All rights reserved.


Author's Note: Winner of Hannah's Challenge! ❣️❣️❣️ Read all the incredible entries here.


About the Creator

Christy Munson

My words expose what I find real and worth exploring.

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Unofficial Challenge Winners:

Homecoming | Ask Me in December | Story of Humanity | Strangely Art

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Comments (25)

  • Donna Fox (HKB)about 15 hours ago

    Wow... Christy this was incredibly captivating and so well written! Your precision with which you constructed and executed not only the plot by the way it unfolded and fit all the pieces together literally has me drooling!! Amazing work, congrats on the win win Hannah's Challenge and on Top story!!

  • Alexa Peri2 days ago

    Nice job go ahed

  • Sam Avery2 days ago

    Amazing excellent work.💖

  • Caroline Craven2 days ago

    Not sure how I missed this one Christy. This was a belter. Well done!

  • Lamar Wiggins2 days ago

    Excellent story, Christy! Thankfully it resurfaced and landed on the front page, or I might have missed it!

  • Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • The Dani Writer3 days ago

    Congratulations on the top story, Christy!

  • Nidhi Gohil 3 days ago

    Heyy! Congratulations on top story🎉🎉

  • Cathy holmes3 days ago

    Congrats on the TS.

  • Rachel Deeming3 days ago

    Wonderful, Christy.

  • Congratulations on your well deserved win 💛.

  • D.K. Shepard9 days ago

    This is an incredible piece of writing! So impactful and so arresting! What an excellent entry for Hannah’s challenge! Building from the concretely narrated scene to the extension of personal revelation was so well done!

  • Cathy holmes9 days ago

    This is so beautiful. My favourite of those I've read.

  • Fantastical and fantastic, Christy. You welcome us into your story like you welcomed the stranger. There is so much insight here. I'm especially moved by how you describe the state of "well-wrought misery" -- "I was still picking at scabbed-over scars I wore like a badge of honor". You lead yourself to discover the alternative, to choose to embrace and enjoy life. I love this!

  • This is so beautiful and inspirational. Loved: ‘I was her baggage. She was my future. We met in the middle. In the here and now. On the precipice. She was me, if only I could absolve others of their trespasses, find forgiveness, and relinquish my victimhood.’👍🏼🩵

  • Hannah Moore29 days ago

    It's fantastic how you welcomed her, made space for her, but the thing I love most is you liked and admired her.

  • John Cox29 days ago

    This is an absolutely brilliant story, Christy! I’m calling top story on this one!

  • "I was her baggage". Whoaaaa, that line was an eye opener for me and it punched me so hard in my face. I'm so glad you met yourself. I hope I too could give myself permission to let go of the past. Reading this felt so empowering. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  • Ameer Bibi30 days ago

    Love the writing. Love your positive insights Yeah, it's true when you meet yourself it is something very unique and real

  • Gael MacLean30 days ago

    So much heart! So many insights!!

  • Kodahabout a month ago

    "Happiness is a choice. Hope is an action." My favourite line! Deep connection to thoughts here! Incredibly done! 💌

  • Katarzyna Popielabout a month ago

    Love this! Reading was like looking into deep water, full of hidden treasures.

  • Manikandan Blog Writerabout a month ago


  • Manikandan Blog Writerabout a month ago

    very good

Christy MunsonWritten by Christy Munson

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