What Happens to a Love Deferred?

What happens to our dreams; do we ensnare them like a butterfly in a net? Something we chased, something wild, now spread eagle and pinned down, displayed in a neat, little box in neat, little rows next to all our other captured dreams: something lifeless. Is a dream like a glowing will o’ wisp? A bit of ethereal light which we follow through a dark forest, wanting to believe in the path it shobutterfly-522633_1280ws us until we clutch it and squeeze too tight. We smother the flame and as the smoke curls through our fingers, we realize we are alone and lost in the woods. We can strike out on our own or fall to the ground and despair.

Is a dream like an apple on a string dangling just beyond our reach? With each failure, every time that red fruit teases our fingertips, the apple in our mind grows more radiant and juicy. Try as we might, we can never grasp the apple. We might find a stick to coax it down or maybe the apple just falls into our laps. We sink our teeth into that sweet, crisp flavor, the best damn fruit we’ve ever had, but wait…this is not our apple. The juiciest reality turns to bitter ashes beside our waxed, blush-red fantasy.

Every time that red fruit teases our fingertips, the apple in our mind grows more radiant and juicy

Once I dreamed of writing. I sought to write. I rejoiced in writing. Growing up, when I did not want to be a firefighter or a paleontologist, I wanted to be an author of fiction and tell stories. After high school, I started following a different dream. How could I make a living writing? If my amateur attempts were rebuffed, what hope had my professional aspirations? I swear I could have wallpapered my apartment with the rejection slips from agents, publishers, and magazines. So I left that dream behind and followed another path. It was not the career for which my youth prepared me, but “dream job” is relative. I was not unhappy with the new dream. The author I pushed aside and buried sometimes poked my brain like a splinter working its way to the surface before I jabbed him back down again.

Once I dreamed of finding love. I sought to love. I rejoiced in loving. I have been lucky and blessed to fall in love with three special women over the course of my life and to have them fall in love with me.  Each new time I thought I would be happy loving her forever. My slice of forever never lasted: early death, another man, and clashing ambitions have stolen each of these dreams in turn. I console myself with the thought that the futures I envisioned sharing with each woman may just have been a dream within those dreams. In the end, I do not know how much reality would have failed to match or even eclipsed my fantasies, but not knowing is no excuse.  I keep following the dream.butterfly-21030_640

I no longer dream of writing. I write. I put my fingers to the keyboard and I tell my stories. I found a company to publish them by founding a company to publish them. One day, I hope to help others chase their own dreams of writing. It is not a second career as yet, but it is a dream pursued and fills that empty childhood longing in a way my first career does not. I still dream of finding love or love finding me, but this is a more quiet quest. I have faith in love. We have found each other before. We will find each other again. Lost dreams always reincarnate.

Thanks for reading!


J. H. Bardwell