The Spirit in the Hat
Hi. Its nice to meet you. I’ve hit a bit of a rough patch in life, but that's ok. I always have to stay positive in life right? Oh who am I kidding. I’m a total wreck right now. My brother just died of the stage three cancer that he has been fighting for a long time. He was my best friend. We played together, we worked together, we ran together, and we lived together. I never thought about living without him because if I did, my overall state of being would go way downhill. My parents? Oh no. They don’t care. They kicked us both out of the house for some reason. A reason I still don’t know to this day. All I know is that they left us with this bag full of art that they didn’t want. I’ve been living with my brother all alone for six years now. We both have jobs to try and pay rent for this tiny little shack of an apartment. I work in a small home as a maid down the street from our apartment and he works in the local grocery store. Oh yeah! Did I mention that I’m fifteen and he was seven? Yeah life just blows. But it’s my life and in this day and age, I’ll take what I can get.
I had a long and sad walk home from the hospital. The rain poured down on my head and its weight felt like bowling balls falling out of the sky. It wasn’t just the rain that put weight on me. I felt the weight of his spirit on my shoulders. He was always there for me and I for him. Now that he’s gone who is going to be there for me? I’ll never be able to live on my own, but I have to stay positive. Think positive. Live positive. My body didn’t show it as I sulked up the steps.
“How’s it going?” Our my landlord asked.
“Not good. I don’t want to talk about it right now. Sorry.” I whispered as I passed by up the stairs.
“Sorry to hear it…” His words trailed off and I didn’t bother to listen.
I walked into our my apartment. The light flickered on in the small pathetic room. Since I found out I’ve been strong, but when I got home, I crashed. I just fell into the couch and cried like I’ve never cried before.
“WHY!!!” I screamed.
There was a banging on the wall.
“HEY! Quiet down!” I heard from across the room.
I glared at the wall. It took every ounce of strength to not go over there and let out all my anger on my neighbours. I cried myself to sleep that night.
I woke up to the sound of birds chirping. Their beautiful song played over and over again in my head. I just wanted everything to go away. My problems. My neighbors. My landlord. My thoughts. My life. Everything I just wished it was gone. Then, a small ray of sunlight ran through our my apartment. There lying on the ground right in the light was his infamous, plain, navy blue baseball cap. I for some reason had the strongest desire to put it on. I completely forgot that I had brought it home from the hospital.
“Not really my style, but I’ll do it for him,” I thought.
I slipped it onto my head and suddenly, I felt a lot better. So much so that I started to get up and change out of my damp clothes from last night. I started to feel normal human emotions again. Especially hunger.
I made myself a ham and cheese sandwich. Something I’ve never really liked before, but for some reason it seemed really good. I scarfed it down and then started to think.
“What am I going to do now? I will have no way of paying the bills without him around.”
Then another idea that I would never have popped into my head. My younger brother had always told me that I should sell our (yeah our works this time yay) mother’s artwork that she had thrown us out with when they abandoned us. I never took him seriously because that was the only thing I had left from our parents. I got up grabbed the bag in the corner that held them and walked out the door.
I knew exactly where to go the pawn shop down the street where I knew the owner. I walked in the door and was greeted by him.
“Hows you been? Hopefully well,” He said sadly.
“Business not been well?” I asked.
“Not the best, but I’ve been making it by.” He sighed.
“Well this is all I have left.” I laughed.
I opened the bag to reveal the paintings inside.
“Wow. I’ve never seemed anything like them before!”
“What? Like in a bad way right?”
“No! These are beautiful!”
He picked up one of the paintings. I had a newfound respect for the paintings. I worried that now I knew they were valuable, I might not be able to give them up.
“I’ll give you… $5,000 for all three.”
“No… I can’t do that. I’ll accept $10,000.” I said scared.
“Let me call in one of my friends and let’s ask him.”
Fifteen minutes of awkward silence and waiting later, he arrived.
“Wow. I’ve never seen anything like them before,” he said.
“That’s what I said!” the man returned.
“Well, I would say their worth…”
I felt like I was on the Price is Right waiting to see if I was correct or not. Needless to say,
I walked out of that pawn shop with $10,000 dollars in my pocket and no paintings to my name.
I was able to pay rent and buy food with the money. A week had passed when I realized that I was still wearing the hat.
“Wow! This thing is really turning my life around.” I thought to myself.
“I know,” a voice said.
I whipped around.
“Who said that!?” I asked scared.
“Why, it was only me,” the voice said.
“Where are you? Who are you?”
“You have realized the power of the hat.” It whispered.
“What?!” I asked.
“Your decisions. Your luck. All because of me!” It whispered and shouted at the same time.
“Well, thank you!” I said.
“It’s no trouble at all my friend. Now if you want it to continue, all you need to do is…”
There was a loud knock at the door.
“Open up!” Someone shouted.
A man walked in holding a big briefcase. One that you would only see in the movies.
“I believe this belongs to you,” he said.
“I’ve never seen that before in my life,” I returned.
“Maybe you haven’t because your brother left it for you. He said it was important.”
“You’re welcome!” The voice said as it trailed off into the distance.
He handed me the briefcase and left without another word. I opened it and inside was the most amount of money I’ve ever seen in my entire life. A note on top of the money said $50,000 for you to live a great life. While my life wasn’t great, it was still a great ride with the help of my brother. But, was the hat my brother or was my brother the hat? That is what I spent my life figuring out. Thinking helping people figure out who they really are, with some help of course. I’m still not sure if the hat was what led my brother to his fate. Or if it led me to mine. All I know is that I’m with my brother now 25 years later. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.