Crossroads by Insomnia Visual Arts

Last night we lay in bed, Adam and I, both worn out from work and tired from talking.

We discussed an opportunity that has recently arisen for his business, I let him talk around it in circles, knowing he was explaining as much for his benefit as for my own. He tried out possible scenarios, sketched out the future with his words. We talked time and money and how much of one was worth how much of the other.

And as we talked, or rather as I listened, I felt my time here being stretched out again, just as I was beginning to feel like I had one foot out the door. Like a prison sentence where you’re penalized for good behaviour, rather than rewarded.

Long after our last words had died into the dark I lay there staring into the depths of our bedroom, twisting my ring and trying to picture for myself the future he had drawn, trying to find my place within the words.

I wondered about the babies we don’t have yet and I wondered if my grandparents will ever meet them, know that we plan to give them their names. I lay and my breathing slowed and I wondered about the other jobs I don’t have yet, the new homes we haven’t settled into, the family I’m so far from still.

Despite all of Adam’s talk the future feels blank, I can’t picture myself in it. Everything is so tentative, we’re trading in if’s and then’s, its the worst thing for me- nothing concrete, nothing to sink my teeth into.

At one point I reminded him that we weren’t just talking about our lives here, that many others were tied into this like we were, that letting it go would mean a release for them too, and a long silence followed as we both considered this.

I remember someone once telling me that many people find their twenties incredibly challenging because it’s when you are figuring everything out, it’s the decade where you will make many of the big decisions that will shape the rest of your life; to get a degree, a partner, a career, a home, a child. (again this narrow path, this set of checkmarks)

These are the type of decisions that require long nights talking late into the dark. Relentless pro’s and con’s, lists, dithering back and forth like a manic ping-pong match where the stakes loom huge over every move.

By the time you reach your thirties, she said, for the most part all that’s left to do is settle into the decisions you’ve made. But when I look at the past decade I don’t see many decisions being made, I see waiting.

I still feel like I’m waiting.

I’m sick of waiting, I don’t want to tread gingerly on what-if’s and promisary notes, I want a plan. I need a timeline, a schedule. I want to know where we’ll be in a year, I need to be able to rest my hopes on that, to see a future and know my place in it.

I don’t want to make decisions anymore. I feel like I’m facing I test I haven’t studied for, I don’t know the answers, I don’t want to fail.

My dreams aren’t helping. Every night cryptic messages float up from my subconscious: a circus full of people from my past leer and jeer in wild colours, bobbing and weaving as I tread down a narrow path, they block my progress and lay obstacles, laugh when I stumble. I find myself naked and wet, walking through my high school cafeteria in nothing but a towel, I see him standing by the doorway and he refuses to meet my eye, he turns his back and walks away. 

I wonder if I’ll miss this sense of openness one day, as much as it bothers me now. I wonder if there will be a time where I am so irrevocably settled that I will long for a future blank as a slate, a dozen what-if’s yawning open in front of me.

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