“You should volunteer to help with the kiln crew,” you say to me.
I’ve been taking lessons at a pottery studio for some time now. It’s at a community center. Volunteer run. So things take a while and can be janky from time to time, but the process is low cost (important for me as a writer, not a lucrative career by any stretch of the imagination). It’s a good way to learn about clay without spending much money. And I’ve met some cool people in the process.
“Oh yeah?” I say. I’m a little exhausted. I just put out a new volume in the series I’ve been writing (mysteries with a polyamorous ensemble cast of characters). And I also started a writing group, after a friend urged me to.
Work is more exhausting than normal. As is the volunteer stuff I’ve taken on.
“Yeah,” you say, “that way you’ll know how to take care of your own kiln someday.”
I smile. Laugh a little. It’s a whimsical thought. That I might have a little pottery studio of my own in the future in a shed. With a kiln, yes, but also a slab roller and a wedging table. Maybe a wheel (although I find hand-building more fun, primal, and sensual so maybe no wheel). It’s a very luxurious notion to me. One I can’t comprehend as being more than a fantasy.
But you do. You have notions of it. Tentative plans for the whole thing. And as we talk them over, it dawns on me, the underlying premise — that you assume we’ll still be together 10 or 20 years from now.
It’s true that we’ve been together over a decade already, but I’ve never felt confident that you would stay with me. You always seemed so wonderful, like more than I deserve. I’ve been expecting to lose you unexpectedly for years and years. I’ve thought that one day you’d wake up and decide I wasn’t for you anymore. And then you’d be gone.
But your picture of us is rather different, I’m realizing, as I listen to you plan this hypothetical pottery studio. You can’t envision a future where I’m not there with you.
Me, I want this to be the case. But it seems too good to be true, that you’ll still want me in your life 10 or 20 years from now. It seems a lot like that little pottery studio. Something so beautiful that it could only be a fantasy.