We are surrounded by exits, one in every direction. There are only so many times you can pass by that glowing red sign with the promising arrow and pretend not to notice it. We convince ourselves that we need this jacket, that duvet cover, this meal at that restaurant — we don’t need anything. We have the only thing that could possibly matter, and there is nagging part of me which knows that something in the daily tedium of money spent and hours worked is chipping away at it. It is so easy to look at another person through the fog of everything unrelated which is upsetting you, to take their beauty for granted because you imagine it will always be there when you roll over in the morning. I hate that I do this.
You have done nothing wrong in your life, you know. Well, maybe you have. I am sure there were times where you lied about who cheated on the third grade math test or said something unnecessarily cruel to a friend who stood you up. But I can’t recall a moment in which you didn’t merit being loved entirely, in which you were not an oasis from the relentless offenses of a world which is completely indifferent. I find fault only in the moments when you have to leave, when your body is being pulled away by some invisible force that goes under many names: “Work,” “errands,” “commitments.”
I am jealous of your bedsheets — the ones you wrap yourself in over and over when you are unreasonably cold for the season. I am jealous of the people who get to pass by you in the metro and who will never know your name. They don’t know that they are lucky, that their shoulders touch someone wonderful and generous and kind, someone who makes all of this worth it. I can’t expect everyone to know you, and yet I wish they did. I wish they could. I see people honored with awards and galas and cash prizes, but have any of them ever kissed someone on the forehead and made them feel as though they are good enough just the way they are? I hope so. There should be an award for that. A black-tie gala.
I want to take one of these exits. I want to walk out and pretend not to hear the calls behind me of “Where are you going?” “When are you coming back?” I don’t know when I am coming back, and there is no one I want to explain it to. Yes, I know that it is selfish and short-sighted to feel this way, but that is entirely your doing. Before you, I considered a million different sources of happiness, and now there only seems to be one. I want to isolate it and watch it grow in the perfect, controlled conditions. I don’t want it to be weighed on by a thousand people who push you in the grocery line or forget to call you back or don’t hold the door open.
There are tickets everywhere. We could go, and figure it out when we get there — throw a dart at the map the way they did in the comics and take our savings out entirely in cash. I know it’s impossible, I know that there is too much at risk, I know that we can’t just up and go. Your pragmatism is as frustrating as it is wonderfully necessary. But let’s just pretend. Sometimes it’s okay to pretend, to remember that we are surrounded by incredible people who don’t deserve to be softly beaten by the difficulties of daily life. I don’t want to take anything for granted, least of all you. Let me think of what it would be like if life were only the two of us — it will make going out to get groceries after work just that much easier to do. We all need the postcard of a beach in our cubicles.