Fiction. Hope comes as a hopscotch board on the sidewalk entrance of a hospital in Greensboro. Despite efforts to remove the board, it re-appears until physicians, hospital employees, and patients, including Emily, an 8-year-old fighting cancer, and Stan, an Iraqi War veteran, are drawn toward it.
In this moving and sensitive gem of a story, Steve Cushman takes us to the grounds and wards of a city hospital, places he knows well, places where hope and despair, death and healing exist side by side. But when a hopscotch board mysteriously keeps reappearing on a sidewalk near the hospital entrance, despite attempts to have it scrubbed away, what occurs is a kind of miracle. This is not the miracle that makes patients well or alters the reality of their conditions. Rather it is the miracle that comes from remembered joys and shared laughter, from choosing to live fully despite disability and the lifespan that's allotted, however short or compromised by pain. Though Cushman's wonderful cast of characters may make you cry, they will also warm your heart, allowing you to believe again in the power of friendship rediscovered over a childhood game.--Miriam Herin