IMPOSSIBLE FAIRYTALES

If I had my way, I’d burn every piece of evidence that I existed here. Incinerate every paper trail, wipe the surfaces clean of my fingerprints, and depart after nightfall without leaving a note. I’d slip noiselessly through the window like a woman’s cotton scarf torn away by seaside wind. I think I’d fancy an abandoned cottage, enveloped in ivy, a couple hundred miles away from every face that knows mine. I’d take nothing with me except what’s necessary for comfortable survival– a pair of sturdy shoes, a photograph of my mother, my best dress. I’d remember to shut the window behind me.

I’d take you with me if you wanted, but I wouldn’t force disappearance upon you. I know you have an affinity for the real world, that you feel warm and welcome in it, unlike me. You cherish company. You relish in the laughter of people you call friends, a matter of importance to you and one I can respect without relating. You’re cultured and admired and cosmopolitan. I’m growing stale.

On my mountainside I’d grow my own herbs and probably have a dog. A real colossal dog, to make up for never having had one. I’d pick up learning French again without the intention of ever using it, just because I’m an artist and all artists should acquaint themselves with the romance languages, a vital pursuit if you’re even vaguely serious about your craft. Qui vivra verra. I’d start each day with bitter coffee, as I usually do, and poetry. But the poetry wouldn’t be for anyone other than me. I’d rip the inky pages from my journal and hang them loosely from a clothesline, fabrics billowing. Let Nature have her way with me. I give her permission to move and be moved.

I wouldn’t call home. We’re not the same like that. I don’t have anything left unsaid, nothing worth missing or tending to. I’m ready for wildflowers and blackberry jam and leaving this behind. I don’t want to look back. I’ve said my peace and let the words fall to pieces.

I would secretly still want you to come with me. We could build a storybook life. I could keep you to myself, bathe you, touch you always. I wouldn’t make you, though, because I know your life here is comfortable and brimming with movement that excites and stirs you, but I would hope you’d at least visit me. I would share my poetry with you; I would feed you the ripest vegetables. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe you’d like it, too. But maybe that’s just me being optimistic and romantic and mad. You know I have that tendency.
Even if you decide not to come, I’d still keep your side of the bed vacant. I’d rock myself to sleep. I’d set you a place at the table. I’d even send you letters, no return address, just You know where to find me, whenever (if ever) you’re ready. And I’d sit there alone and hope.

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