I have a small obsession with stairwells. I lie and say that I take the eight flights of stairs from my parking stall to my office, because I need the exercise, but really it’s because I enjoy the environment.
Every sound echoes. Your deep exhale as you work your way up rings like the heavy hyperventilation in a horror film. A cough roars like thunder from the Heavens. A step becomes a stomp; a whisper a scream; and the slamming of a door shatters the entire earth.
When we first started dating I was more aware of my faults than ever before. I apologize all the time. If I hear he had a bad day, “I’m sorry.” If I accidentally cut him off mid-sentence, “I’m sorry.” If I sneeze, “I’m sorry.” I also constantly second guess others. His words weren’t tightly woven, but double-spaced, so that I could read between the lines of what he was truly saying. So I take the blame for everything, question his honesty, and consequently show myself in the dimmest light as someone weak and timid.
There is really only one way to structure stairs. One surface overlaps another, building higher and higher, until there is a feasible connection between the distances where you started and where you want to be. And no one really cares to notice each stair, but focuses on the final destination.
I’ve always been terrified of the future. I prefer to pretend that it doesn’t exist and that each day is its own entity, rather than what it actually is–parts to a whole life. It’s different, however, when I think about us. I dream about a day beyond tomorrow. Sometimes even further. I get caught up in the possibilities and promises. Whether it’s the hope of a forever or the fear of an end, my focus is in the future when it should be in the here and now.
Staircases are hidden away, ostracized in the corner, berated for being the less attractive older sibling of the elevator. Only used in the case of a fire. (Even in the event of a fire I’d argue most would rather jump than partake in the tedious task of stair climbing.) It’s time to face facts–they’re obsolete.
I remember watching a comedy special where the comedian bashed the idea that love could last more than one night. In high school I sat back and watched as my friends met their true loves only to break-up a month later. The same occurred in college. By post-grad life true love has become a lie; a tall-tale; as fantastical as the Easter Bunny. I was smart enough to know to keep my distance and not fall for the fib. Then I fell for him.
Faults might be magnified, but so are life’s littlest simplicities. A text in the morning is as sweet as ten cups of sugar. Holding hands in traffic takes one higher than any hot air balloon ever could. Whereas we love to look on the outside of the box for what the puzzle will look like, there is no feeling quite as satisfying as finding the pieces that go together. It’s nice to enjoy a memory, but it’s beyond comparison to be in the midst of making one. And maybe the naysayers are right and love is a myth. But I know for a fact that I love his OCD quirks. And I know for a fact that the laugh lines on his face makes me swoon.
Elevators and escalators are dandy but life really should be taken one step at a time.