The two of them came to bed, dragged themselves under the blanket, making sure that there was enough space between them to accommodate a fat log of wood, and resigned to staring at the same ceiling. He began to recount all the good and bad times they shared together. Soon, he would no more be able to create new memories for himself. It had been over a few weeks that silence had settled on the house, in between them. Wasn’t it her fault? Wasn’t it always her fault? One argument had spilled over another, words were flung at each other, until he found that the better way to fire fight this was to steer away from her in every possible way, for life. That is it. That would do the trick.
But that night, they were too numbed to fall asleep and the ghosts of uncertainty began haunting him. So, he broke the silence. He remembered a phrase he had read in a magazine on his way to work and asked her, “What does sit on the fence mean?”
“It means when you are given everything you asked for—the woman who is a wife who dreams of a life with you, a lover who shows you magic on dreary nights, a writer who empties her ink on thoughts of you, a child who looks to you for inspiration, adores you and trusts you with his life, treats you like his favorite hero, and a life that you conjured up into your head as a young man—but do not want to decide whether or not you want to give life to that beautiful dream because you lack courage. Because, you’d rather take the easy way out and let all the colors be washed down the drain than pick up where you left and complete your painting. Because, you see life as something that can be taken for granted, that forgetting can be an easier fight, that snobs and drunk lunatics are better life companions, that keeping your bruises open till they fester and scar is the only way to heal yourself. All because you lack courage to make a decision, to stay. That! That is what it means,” she said without the slightest show of emotion, turned to her side of the bed, and fell asleep instantly.
And, he got out of bed to his desk and pulled out a dictionary.