Declining Balance

It was very easy to argue in favor of her choosing a different path in life– not her words– so much so that she began to spend more time imagining said “different path” instead of trying to decipher the one she was currently pursuing. That is how she came to find herself digging through crumbling papers destined for some recycling plant, looking over patterns which she had dreamed up but never materialized in silk and twill. This backtracking had turned into her paying her daily respects to an ambition– gone to soon, we hardly knew her– followed by a brief glance at the bottom line of her checking account that seemed to be sinking faster with every passing day. She would go through this routine devotedly and with the kind of concentration she was not able to dedicate to her designs so that when he got home, she was primed for another argument about who was spending what and how it came to be that all they had to show for their collective potential and talent was a roach-infested apartment with heating that worked only when it felt so inclined and bills stamped with ominous block lettering. Past due.

There was a time when peace hung from their curtain rods, fluttering in front of half-open windows every time the breeze drifted in. Peace lingered on sticky spoons left on the kitchen table in anticipation of the next cup of tea; it played in the spaces between their fingers and traced the contours of their faces as they slept. She began to hide the grand visions she once entertained in the crook of his arm, and he laid his work ethic in the smooth space at the base of her throat. Eventually, they realized that the roots of their serenity lay uneasily in the shallow soil of financial stability. The contentment they once knew now sat in the first desk drawer on the right hand side nestled beneath phone bills and statements for credit cards that had long been declined by an apologetic salesperson. They had burnt their futures with incense–just for the scent– in the shrine of their mutual obsession. The ashes hung thickly in the room as they sat glaring at each other night after night. The haze was getting harder to see through until they sat in bitter silence, not seeing each other at all.

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