It can destroy you sometimes, hope. Because you know how when your father is falsely accused of sexual harassment by a family friend and your grandfather is drowning in his crinkling lungs and your mother cries at night because she doesn’t have the cure for motor neurone disease in her freezer drawer and you come untied from the man you owe half your DNA to because he’s wound himself in, tighter than a yoyo, and when your washing machine blows up and the milk spills and the brother who unwittingly caused all this is stashed away writing exams on campus and so your mother takes hold of your brokenness by the shards of your shoulder blades and says ‘the only way I can let go of my dad is by knowing that you’ll get better’?
You know that feeling?
When she says ‘maybe you can be our success story’ because the scales are 100 grams further from crisis and you don’t have the heart to tell her that you put on extra layers for that weigh in – just so you could remember what her smile looked like.
That’s how hope destroys you, by being the only thing more toxic than fear.
Hope cracks me open so I tape myself together with other things.
I am grateful for: every battered breath my grandfather can heave from the plughole of his jaw, a car journey to the playground in the park where two boys on study leave share a milk carton, ten minutes on an oily swing that the wind sucks into motion.