The Hope Distillery...


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 A sunshiny feeling. The space filled with high back pastel-coloured chairs and matching ottomans and intricately engraved mulberry side tables, each set facing a large picture window, all sets facing south. Perfect diffused lighting for this kind of work, I was told.

A person occupied each chair. Relaxed demeanour. Arms casually at rest. Their gaze was focused but not so intent as to create tension of any kind. The men, women, children, and yes, even babies, were, by now, experts. A needy soul sent out a signal and when received each person went to work to manufacture and distribute. The effort, instinctual. A pleasant pastime. A worthy pursuit.

I had been sent here by my editor to investigate this factory, for although all in town had recognized the rich lilac scent ever emanating from the grand dame Victorian structure, no one ever knew what products in store were made. The road sign read Hope Distillery but everyone assumed that was a family name for distillers of fine whisky, yet no one had ever smelled such a fragrant brew. It was my assignment to find out, and I was going in. I’d be the first.

Each person held in their lap a flawless bronze and crystal decanter which held an amber liquid I had
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never before seen. The hue, as lustrous as the co-mingling of sunshine and joy. The liquid swirled clockwise, and in its centrifugal force funnelled up and out the neck and floated in luscious tear drops towards the window panes. The flow seeped otherworldly through the glass, the decanter never quite emptying.

To one elderly woman dressed in sky blue, I approached and asked, “What is that?”

“Oh, that’s hope, son.”

“Hope?”

“Yes.”

“You make hope here, not whisky? How? Uh, why? I mean, how?”

“It’s distilled from the bilge and flotsam of human loss and sorrow, my good man. They truck it up from below and we distill and distribute down from above. A simple procedure, really.”

Gazing at the swirling amber which endlessly flowed from her decanter, danced in the air and seeped through the window to disappear as if a ghost, I mumbled, “Does it… does it work? Uh, who gets it?”

“Of course it does. Why, everyone who believes, naturally.”

“So, it takes loss to make the material for hope?”

“Absolutely. You can’t have one without the other. Life is a loop, son. We take. We give. We live.”

I went to touch her hand in thanks and my fingers sunk through her fingers to the armchair.
I returned to the newsroom and told my editor they make lilac scented whisky.
I look at sorrow and lilacs different now.

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