How, exactly, is one supposed to act when one gets within inches of attaining a dream? A dream cherished and nourished and treasured for so many years? Like a baby nurtured too long in an ancient womb…can something dreamed for decades survive the monumental strain of birth into the realm of reality?

The questions lurk in the shadowed pockets of my mind. I can’t address them…cannot even acknowledge them, for fear that the possibilities raised by the contemplation will be so huge that they will put an abrupt end to my forward progress.

It’s the commitment. The commitment overwhelms me now. Thirty years ago, I was on the threshold of the greatest commitment I had ever, would ever, make. And, same as now, I could not think in terms of forever. “If it doesn’t work out,” I reasoned, “we can always get a divorce. Walk away and start over. No hard feelings, just a clean slate.”

Not so simple, of course. Had I allowed myself to think about it, I would have conceded that. But I had to have the fallback. Needed the escape route. Because there was, is, always will be, that contrary little voice in the back of my mind that cracks the whip, hardly allowing me to dream. It scolds that nothing is forever. And nothing ever turns out as you hoped. Dreams are dreams. Reality is…. something else.

Edging away from the larger, more ethereal issues, I stumble over the more immediate sacrifice: I realize that I will be committing to a place that I call my home, that has been my home for the past five years. But to this chronologically-challenged aging child, it doesn’t feel like home. Home is the place to which I have been chained, and from which I have been running, for the past decade. Despite the words piled upon words, proclaiming the need to detach from that place, to break chains and cut ropes and burn bridges–whatever it takes to be free—I freeze. The torch is in my hand, I reach out to touch it to the closest creosote-soaked piling. And I shake uncontrollably.

I will stretch out my other hand, steady that trembling brand. I will set fire to that bridge. And to that part of my heart that has had so much trouble letting go.