And while I would still say that all of that is true, I see another layer to it now. I think it wasn't just denial of how things were, it was that intoxicating possibility of how things might be.
When we drove around those neighborhoods and remarked on the yards, the nearby parks, the trees or bushes or windows looking out on all of these things I imagined. I imagined me sitting in one of those gardens, surrounded by green and light, meditating. Quiet. Peaceful. Serene. I imagined myself as unbothered by all of the things that bothered me. I imagined myself transcending my obsessive worrying and all those resentments that would eventually break us. I imagined myself happy within myself.
And I imagined, like we all like to imagine, that the dream house would somehow fix you in so many of the ways you wouldn't fix yourself. You'd sleep, finally. Because of the privacy, or the comfort, or something. You'd work less because you so loved the home, our home, and you'd want to spend more time in it. You'd be happy because all of your hard work over the years, all of your misery over the years, all of your monotonous toiling had led you to this... victory, I guess? That was sort-of how you talked about it, at least. Like it would define some level of success that you hadn't yet achieved.
It's funny, but in the end I think I did see all of those fantasies for what they really were. I realized- and I even said it to you- that if you locked yourself into this big mortgage you could only afford by being a workaholic that you would just work that much harder, sink that much deeper, disappear that much more. And all of those reasons why we'd pick the house in the first place- the large yard and huge windows and all that precious privacy- would become liabilities. Things that had to be paid to be maintained, fixed, kept up. And I would be there, in that big, beautiful house, alone. But even more so, because of all that privacy.
So I abandoned that dream. And I faced reality. And I found out, as everything fell apart, that the dream house was one of many fantasies I'd been nursing for years. Much like the fantasy that when you said nothing it was because you understood me and nothing needed to be said. Like the fantasy that our life together was benefiting both of us, making us both better. Like the fantasy, the story, the one that took the longest to abandon, that we were forever. We weren't.
We were a dream house that never really existed in the first place.
And now, standing at the welcome mat for something else, I find myself being pulled into another fantasy. So many more things to imagine, so many more possibilities. And they are enticing, warming, ever so intoxicating. But they are no more real than that dream house that never existed.
So the challenge, the mental marathon of disciplined thought, is staying here- right where I am, right now, without letting myself be pulled into that ever-so-lovely possible future.
It's so much more difficult than anything I've ever done. And yet, it's real. And it's enough.