“What will you do when you finish the house?” He asked. Without hesitation she answered.
“I will write.”
The three words were all she’d spoken for over an hour. She had been content to listen to him talk and to watch him drive. They had bumped along two lane roads and packed limerock for a few hours, weaving a crisscross towards the Suwanee River. He’d asked when she’d last come to the river, she shrugged and admitted it had been years. Beauty is meant to be shared and without someone else capable of appreciating beauty, driving into this backwoods swamp alone is fool hearty. Giving up beauty was far more unwise. She had gone canoeing on the Santa Fe a few years ago but the Suwanee is different. The Suwanee River is Florida, at least north central Florida. On that day it was wide and flowing fast, swollen with rains from the tropical storm. Much of the county traversed by this river was flooded a few weeks ago. The canopy of cypress trees blocked out the sun, their full skirts trunks propped up in tea colored water.
On the slow and gentle climb back towards the ridge that is high ground in this state, he’d aimed for every good muddy ditch and easement filled with water. A man has to get his mud on every once in a while. She sat holding onto the hand rail as clumps of wet, limerock mud splatted onto the side view mirror. She couldn’t see her reflection, she didn’t need to.
“I will write.” She whispered again, her voice drowned out by the hum of fat, truck tires on asphalt.
It was mere months ago when she sat despondent at the shrink’s office. She was sad, more sad than ever before. The shrink had asked what was wrong and she said, “I’ve lost my voice.” It wasn’t just her writing voice, it was the ability to dream. Dreams must have a voice, a channel, a method by which they get expressed. Without an outflow, dreams decompose and rot you away from the inside. Her dreams – just a few months ago – seemed dashed, hopeless and impossible. She’d felt foolish for ever even trying. Who was she to believe she could dream? And she had dreamed big, huge. Her audacity had been matched equally by her despair and despondency. There is shame in failing at your dreams. She had beaten herself up for daring to dream at all. But somehow, in accepting the possibility of failure, the dreams had come true. The house was nearly finished and her heart felt light, fluttering as if it had grown three sets of gossamer wings. Many days, her whole body felt lighter and she barely touched the ground.
She hears his question come out of the silence, “What will you do when you finish the house?” She sits on the back porch listening to the bugs and birds. This is the view out her new office windows, these are the sounds. Her limerock driveway will get its own coating of black asphalt, but she can hear the sound of the big truck tires coming up the road toward the house that was once a dream. She built the place of her dreams, she built the place she can dream. She thinks she found someone who understands how important it all is because he asked her, “What’s next, Doc?”