Writing by Connie Tran // Photograph by Sophie Pellegrini
And when Pandora had realized what she had done, the extent of the havoc she had released into the world—sickness, famine, greed, envy—she tried to undo the damage, but to no avail. An unfamiliar sense of futility consumed her as the evils reigned. Unbeknownst to her however, a shining beacon of light still remained at the base of the box, strong enough to withstand the darkness. Today, we call it hope.
You call me Hope.
I am young, yet immortal. I have lived for as long as mortals have felt. I do not age, but grow anew with every passing expectation, every desire. I am a flame that never goes out. I burn in the bravest of hearts, brightest of minds, the purest of souls. I am infectious; search for me in the history books. If you know what to look for, I stand out distinctly.
You can feel me. The slight flutter within your chest. The rising build as my wings grow within your heart, bigger and stronger. But yet, simultaneously, I am weightless. I entice you with the promise of flight. Something humans have only ever dreamt of. You accept and when you invite me in, when allow yourself to hope—your spirit soars. Oh how high you soar, with me nestled away within the folds of your clothing. We glide smoothly over the ocean, the sunbeams emanating from the rising horizon illuminate your skin. We dip closer to the water, your fingers gently skimming over waves of happiness below.
To have Hope when it is only a budding sprout? That is what your soul feels. But to an outsider—an outsider would only see your hopeful eyes. Hear your bated breath. Sense your fearful excitement. Notice your agitated fidgeting.
They are blissfully unaware that inside of you—that budding sprout you have named Hope—with each passing expectation, unfulfilled and devoid of water, is wilting, shriveling, decaying into…
This is where I must make myself clear. I am both Hope and Disappointment. We are not two sides of the same coin. We are the same. You have given us two separate identities, as you do not want to believe that something so beautiful can simultaneously transform into something so cruel. Do not be mistaken. We are one.
I am the drop that follows the peak of the rollercoaster, but all terror, no excitement. The end destination? The pits of your stomach. Once you clamber off the ride, you’re confronted with devastation. Assaulted with anger. Rained down upon by sadness. All those evils Pandora released? They’re cackling, circling around you. They have you surrounded and now you’ve nowhere to run. They will inflect every corner of your mind, penetrate every pore of your being until you succumb.
It both amuses and saddens me to see what easy prey you mortals are. I am not always the “shining beacon of light” you depict me to be. How easily you fall victim to me. How cruel I can be.
I do not wish you harm. I genuinely mean that. But sometimes it’s so easy for me to turn ugly. You bring it upon yourselves. “Hope is a dangerous thing,” they say. They would be right.
I’m volatile; like wildfire. I heal, as well as hurt.
And maybe that’s why I’m in the box.
All the way down the bottom.
Because I’m Hope.
The greatest evil of all.[share]