Sometimes it is barely possible to believe how hurtful other people can be.
I did a terrifying thing. It was scary and hard, but I thought, well, perhaps this time will be different. Perhaps this time I will find kindness. I doubted, but I put aside my doubt. I thought myself broken for doubting. To stop trusting is to let them win, the people who hurt, the people who value selfishness over compassion, the cowards and killers of small mercies. So I put aside my doubt, I did the hardest thing I know to do, and I reached out to a friend and stepped forward into the darkness. And, for a moment, the world was gentle; they took my outstretched hand. It was going to be okay. This, the worst, the scariest, was going to be okay. It was both wonderful and astonishing. Where one fails, two can create light.
Then, as if it the most casual thing, they recanted. So now I’m not even back to how badly I was before, but worse, because I dared to step forward, I dared trust, and there is no redemption in this solitary darkness. And there are no bread crumbs, no small pebbles left for me to follow back out, no kindness in it. Betrayal contains no sympathy or compassion. They left me with the most cruel of possible stories. Worse, they knew, going in, that they would abandon me, but they walked me there anyway, stringing me along as far in as they could manage before having to tell me they were already gone.
The honey in the lion is a lie.
EDIT: And then, plot twist! It worked out, actually. They stepped up. Just last night. Three in the morning, they showed up at my door. My writing made something better. They came back for me. Their care for my well-being finally trumped their fear. I am.. absolutely floored. I can’t remember the last time I felt so much relief. I feel better today than I have in a very, very long time. And because it was such a success, today I ended up sending one of the scariest letters I’ve ever sent, asking for similar redemption for the worst of my hurt, from the only person who could make it better, belly bared to his teeth. Fingers crossed, dear ones. Fingers and toes.