Essays

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How We Built The House

How We Built The House

There is a house. It is ours. It is made of concrete, wood, glass, and hope. It is covered by flowers, assorted blues and purples and whites: soft, gentle hues that belie a promise of honest mistakes and, after, forgiveness. Ivy creeps along the left wall. Within each room hope rests in the air, hanging like good fruit. I cannot explain the house. I cannot call it love. It is something deeper than love, and far more painfully desperate – like a terrible longing to breathe together and become one that has been freshly, finally realized. There is no effort needed to tend this garden. It flowers, and we follow.

My life before consisted of a single answer for any request asked of me: yes. We are each of us born with a well of a heart and over the course of our lives this well perhaps goes dry, perhaps gushes more and more each year, perhaps lessens then steadies. It depends. We are always giving the best parts of us away for safekeeping and watering fields which do not produce. However, there come times when we lose hope and decide to travel along different paths – roads not taken, which wind through the woods – and, oddly, find ourselves in already-verdant space. A place of rest. A place of peace.

That was how our story played out.

We had parked the car near the lake. There were questions as to whether the roof of it would cave under the weight of our bodies but we climbed, almost carelessly, atop it. One moment of doubt – but it held. Though we had met just a few days prior it felt like we had been separated for months, and the ferocity with which we held each other reflected that. Again and again we asked each other: how could this be? How could this happen? How could everything come together in this way?

I could not fathom how I had become so displaced as to find myself under a set of foreign lights, but for the first time I did not resent it. It seemed as if we had been waiting for years to meet, to be in the same town, to dance again – again? – under the beaming sky. Between us was no art, no elegance as common language, nothing that might have indicated that we would grow into each other. But that was what happened, until we were continuously contracting and expanding together, separated by only a few degrees.

We had fallen together and were learning the fatality of being human. Everything within us was yearning for something greater – for a house, for a home – and we struggled unsuccessfully to fend it off. I wanted to call it (read: us) beautiful. There was no other word for it. For all those painful years we had been waiting to bloom and then plucked out of a previously miserable existence, then placed carefully on the boundary of reality and unreality. A world of dreams. A world in which lovers, if they wished to do so, could allow the breeze to whisk their fears into nonexistence. From the slightly-dented roof of his car we squinted at the stars, held hands, and contemplated fate. Sweet, isn’t it – terribly so. And no more requests. All that was left for us to do was love.

Which memories do we treasure first? They collect faster than we can save them. Like a sprawled collection of photographs that are (still) waiting to be put into that dusty faux-leather album they have piled up until all we can do is sit together on the floor and pick them up with trembling fingers. “Do you – remember,” we breath, and, “It seems so long ago.” It seems so long ago. We laughed about it. Perhaps our hearts have known love from previous eras; perhaps we have previously coaxed life into each other. In those years we also danced and held each other and though all around us was the soothing sound of many waters, lapping against the walls – our hearts, as always, were thundering.

When the issue of us was approached with logic everyone came to the conclusion that we were not made for one another, I being, perhaps, an Impressionist work and he a raucous exercise in modernity. Abstract, as they said. And yet we had collided, two particles from opposite ends of a great big atom smasher – an explosion to light the dark, an antique refreshed for the masses. Without intention, without plan. Still somehow beautiful.

How we love. How we kiss. Each time we embrace. We settled deep into the other’s skin and without any hesitation pushed back the teeming demands of decorum. We found ourselves dancing under starlit skies to jazz hits from a different time, streaming out of a tinny cell phone speaker. To define the world around us in relation to how we interacted. We had exhausted the traditional questions and turned to our surroundings. To observe how the world reacted to him and he to it, and, in doing so, plumb the depths of a space unreachable by words. A deeper method of understanding. No more art, no more language. No more wells that could be emptied and no more requests. No more inadequate metaphors. There was only dancing and breathing and laughing, because all that was left for us to do was love.

Some Things About Life That Scare Us The Most

Some Things About Life That Scare Us The Most