He said we’d be a burning house or a great victory and I was inclined to agree with him. We were tempestuous, he and I. Our passion often burnt more wildly than our rationale ever did. But the love was there, of that we never doubted. In fact, it was he who taught me what it truly was to love. He showed me how to be fearless in the face of it. And yet, in the end, it was he who came to fear it most of all.
We dreamt of a cosy cottage, nestled in the countryside, with wild flowers blooming in every nook and cranny. We imagined our children, how we would teach them about the world. He was intent on spoiling them, I was set on installing the understanding of gratitude and value. Names and locations were another hurdle. I needed warmth, my body craved Italy and the unfamiliar. He’d set his heart on England, his great nostalgic love. It seems on some things, we could never agree. We would talk of a place in between, a made up place that encapsulated both scenes. Somewhere where there would be shade for him and sun for me.
He worried about what he would do out there, in the wilderness. Would he write books that no one would read. Would he grow restless. Would he grow bored. Of me. Of the life that we’d created. He said dreams were better kept as they are, safe inside the mind. Dreams were better dreamt.
So what if we hated it. If after months of love and passion, we grew cold. We grew to feel trapped. Our romantic comedy turning into a bitter tragedy that we both wanted to turn off. If we burnt the house to the ground and tangled ourselves in divorce proceedings. Our children lost in the limbo of a great dream that came undone. If it all turned to rubble…but we chose to do it anyway.
I didn’t want to live in the safe space. Dipping toes in the shallowness of the unfulfilled potential. I hated how we’d spend all day going over the details, only to tuck it all neatly into a box at night and place it upon a shelf, so as to keep it clean. Undamaged from the possibilities that might occur if we ever actually tried. Our children forever content in their unborn state. The flowers always magnificently cascading along the garden’s parameters, untouched by winter’s hardships. And us, endlessly happy in the house we never came to inhabit outside the confines of our mind.
I wanted to rip the damn shelf off the wall. Kick open the box and dive right in. I didn’t care if it all fell apart some time from now. If one day we came to be strangers with nothing but fragmented memories between us. Because we would have done it. We would have seen it through. Felt it, really felt what it was to bring something to life. To have been truly alive and with each other, even if it was just for a time. A precious and precarious moment, shared between two people who were more afraid to see dreams be wasted left as dreams, than all of reality’s complications.
We could have been a burning house or a great victory, he and I, but in the end, we were nothing but an idea left to stagnate. Yet, in the depths of his fear, he taught me what it was to be fearless and what it was to love, when you’re afraid.