Sometimes a title is all I can find within my heart. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Is a single word worth a million, if it is the right one? Brevity is not my strength. But when I cannot find the words, when I cannot seem to put them in order, when all of it seems too much, I’m tempted to just leave it at that single, perfect word.
But this space is meant to record, and if I do not make the effort, all will be lost in that neverwhere where memory is lost and the past dies.
So here is my feeble attempt at a topic too vast for my small ability to understand it. I have been dreaming of leaving since I arrived. When I jotted down “Carderock” as my number one scholarship choice, I had in my mind the Virginia of old: cowboys, dust, romance, and southern accents. Little did I know that Northern Virginia is a whole other breed, and not the kind I like. So I plotted my departure as soon as I stepped foot on this land.
I met a boy who dreamed with me, but kept his feet on the ground. And whenever I brought up moving, which was three times a day if not ten, he would sigh and say “as long as we have stability.” But dreamers, well, we’re not ones for stability. I’ll take it in a handstand but try to place my feet on the ground and I’ll kick you ’til you’re bloody in the mouth.
Then came bean. I thought: you know, we could definitely find a better place somewhere else, but enough’s enough. It’s time to start dreaming right where I am. So I started looking for ways to build my simple dreams into tangible reality. First: a bit of land. And I found some, land that we could afford, land where A could get to the gym in 6 minutes and work in 23, land that was just a bit small and just a bit pricey and just a bit empty. But empty land was fine, so long as I could build on it. So I found a way: a way to build our house. And now all I really want to do is build our house, with my own two hands, and e’s small ones, and A’s capable ones; and even boomer’s paws could help. We would have to make some sacrifices because we couldn’t buy the land and continue to live in our unit, and also everything decent for rent costs more than our unit and everything not decent for rent is not cheap enough so we were looking at a trailer while we build, but I knew we could do it. I knew it.
And then A says “but I don’t want to stay here forever.” And my broken jaw dropped. I was stunned. Every push I made to leave, he pulled and dug in his feet and laughed and then began to get angry. So I figured, as any logical person would, that he wanted to stay. But he doesn’t.
And it made me mad. Probably because I had resigned myself to staying, while he was open to leaving. But his openness to leaving wasn’t accompanied by any action to leave. And I just assumed he really did want to stay. We were in a purgatory, both of us waiting to, wanting to leave, but I thought I was alone there. I finally got out of it, but now I’m back in it again. I was livid when I found out.
Now? Now I’m confused. I do want to leave, but the how of it depends on A. It is clear that I do not have his earning potential. It is agreed that a person to stay home with our kids is priority number one. I believe it is agreed, finally, that of which I’ve always been convinced: this area tips the scales to the red when weighing cost of living against income, no matter how frugal we are. It is clear that if a step is to be made, it is to be made by A. It is difficult to surrender. It is difficult to trust. I want to move his legs myself so we can take a step but he’s too stubborn and do I really want a robot husband? No. But I won’t lie down like a doornail, dying then dead. I must do something.
All of this is a jumble. How can I do anything if I can’t understand myself? That is always the question. And the answer is always to just go ahead and do.