It is as hard to sleep as I can ever remember. I think of Julia. I think of the string of events that have unfolded since I arrived back on campus; not one could I have predicted. Perhaps the least of which was what happened at Gillian’s house. What had been a smoldering, but unspoken tension, that exists between Julia and me has reached a feverish pitch. I see her skin, and want to touch her. I hear her voice, and I want to talk to her. I smell her scent and I want to lay with her. The struggle I have with morality, right and wrong, all but disappears when I am in her presence. All there is us.
Declan and I have known each other since high school. If I could fault him, if I could find legitimate grounds to believe my moral superiority, I would. But the truth is, he is as good as they come.
I get up and snap on the harsh overhead light that sits over the workbench in the corner of my bedroom. My secret. My little-known hobby is building dollhouses. I like the detail, the exactitude. I plan the most lavish, detailed houses and build them. If replicas were built based on my models, they would cost millions of dollars. I put close to 500 hours into building these dollhouses. Then, I donate them to Children’s Hospital in Boston. There are people that see that they find homes with children and families who, during a difficult time in life, enjoy them. My only stipulation is that the dollhouses be an anonymous gift. This hobby forces me to slow down and appreciate the fine details of architecture, construction and the craft of building. I find that I can lose myself in the pursuit.
Julia could have been mine. I have spent the past twenty years knowing that, had I asked, she would have spent her life with me.
I believed myself unworthy, I believed myself underserving. Instead, I have had a string of unfulfilling and dissatisfying relationships. Not through any part of the women, for sure, but because none of them were Julia, I want to know if she regrets it, If she would have me now. I do not want to life out my entire wondering. I glue on a windowbox and examine my work. Gently, I pry it off the facade. I replace each of the miniature geraniums with mounds of petunias. Such attention to detail gives me pleasure. This is a world in which I control the outcome of my actions.