Nurturing A Dying Plant
Nick and Kailey, 23, live together in a dark basement apartment, in Cambridge, MA. They met in graduate school and dated for several years. Now, they both worked from home, in technology. Kailey’s parents refers to them as “moles.” “They act as if they were in hiding, as if they were in the witness protection program,” she complains to her husband.Nick was absolutely happy living this way however, Kailey has her doubts, she missed seeing other people and having parties but she loved Nick and knew this was important to him.
The long, tough winter in Cambridge had made Kailey so weary, so depressed because even though their apartment was in the basement she missed the light that came in through their one window. She missed seeing other people, her old friends but Nick wanted her to himself and she knew that proved how much he loved her. She felt safe and happy and deeply loved.
One day in June when she heard birds chirping outside their window, and sniffed the changing air Kailey started to feel happier. She was excited and couldn’t wait to go outside yet Nick had no interest. Finally after much begging and pleading he did go with her but he didn’t seem pleased. They walked up the four steps to the outside where their eyes blinked and they used their hands to shade them from the brightness. Kailey squealed with delight and Nick just wanted to go back inside where he felt most comfortable among his computers.
Once outside, tree buds pink with anticipation were blooming, grass was sturdy and deep green, standing upright saluting the sun, people were no longer wearing their puffy down jackets. Instead they were wearing their Harvard sweatshirts, rowing on the Charles River in perfect synchronicity. Kailey looked around at the life around her, people smiling, holding cups of iced coffee in their hands, throwing frisbees across the greens and laughing with pleasure. Kailey smiled openlyas soon as she was outside, her cheeks getting pink, exposed to fresh air and the sun. She was laughing out loud at all the activity and after a while a group of kids playing frisbee asked Kailey and Nick if they wanted to join their game. Kailey joined their game begging Nick to join but, as usual, he refused adamantly.
“Kailey, he shouted a short time later, it’s time to go home” and for the first time, in a long time, she didn’t follow him immediately. Her new friends begged her to stay awhile longer and she did. “I’ll be back later” she told Nick and turned back to her new friends, laughing, breathless and happy. She had been with Nick for a very long time. She didn’t see them getting married soon, there was something missing and she had always known that. Nick loved living in the dark world, it was there he felt most comfortable but Kailey didn’t. Once she saw the sunshine, her senses became alive, she couldn’t imagine going back to the place she had lived with Nick. She sat herself down on the grass and started thinking about her life. Did she really still love Nick or was Nick her safety net? Was she happy living the same life that Nick lived? No, she knew that. She felt like an old, thirsty plant that was dying, needing water and sunlight, nurturing.
It was time, she thought, time to tell Nick something she had known for a long time but had been too scared to think about much less mention it. Their relationship was more of convenience than anything else. Nick was comfortable in his own world of technology, alone with his computers, not needing people or nature around him. Kailey was different, playing frisbee wtih new friends in the sunlight, laughing and having fun had exposed her to a world that she used to live in, a world where things were light, sunny, happier and free. She sat alone for quite some time, thinking, reluctant to get up. Finally, she headed back to the house, up the hill, her head down. Her world had changed, now she needed to tell Nick that she was not complete just living in the dark. She wanted more, more for herself, more fun in her life, more brightness. She was going to try to say goodbye to darkness, and head slowly to the light.