I took for granted the reality that was projected onto the walls of the cavern.
I believed the shadows and refused to look beyond them.
Plato would say that the cavemen never had the desire to step outside of the cave. I, on the other hand, did not know there was another side.
I was under the impression there was only one reality, namely the one I had fashioned for myself.
Little did I know, life has multiple, in fact, millions of realities.
To put it simply, we are all living in our own respective realities while simultaneously playing some unknown part in everyone else’s.
And it is only when person a and person b mutually understand each others’ realities that the two individuals reach a mutual understanding. Otherwise, we are simply living the life we envision for ourselves, according to our assumptions about others’ realities, and namely, our roles in others’ realities.
I learned this year the dangers of assuming other people’s realities.
And to be quite specific, I learned the shortcomings of miscommunication, or should I say, lack of communication.
I convinced myself that the reality in which I was living was the only one I had been experiencing inside the cave—namely, that the other person and I were on the same page the entire time.
It came to my attention one day that perhaps my feelings were in too deep that I could not continue without finally addressing which page in this book we were on.
And that’s when I discovered not all books have happy endings. It’s also when I discovered that endings can be written so incredibly unexpectedly.
It was only after I actually said something that I discovered this:
We were not only on different pages, but separate books.
While I fancied our reality as a romantic novel, one out of the penmanship of Emily Bronte, I am under the impression that he sketched our reality as a small chapter in a lackluster non-fiction. A quick-read to be put back on the shelf, only to be forgotten that it was ever opened in the first place.
Looking back, I feel like I was a minor character contributing to a light-hearted, fanciful plot. I was a character filling space. But in my novel, he was the central character, the compliment to me, the protagonist. But he never knew his role in my story, and I never knew my role in his.
From the very start, we never established what kind of story we wanted to be.
We never put a label on the type of genre we wanted to grow into. Was it fiction? One whose plot is intricate and mystical, whose characters transcend human abilities? Or were we a non-fiction biography? —something to be read at the doctor’s office and quickly forgotten once they call your name?
Two people must establish what kind of book they would like to write together before deciding to make a first draft. I did not.
And I learned the consequences.
Perhaps the greatest lesson I learned from mistaking his reality for my own was this: the absence of words.
I have heard the saying, “you do not regret the things you did. You regret the things you did not do.”
Often times, our inactions are our “biggest regrets.”
Had I said something from the very start— had we said something from the very start — we could have had an entirely different chapter to look back on.
But we didn’t.
And now my inaction comes creeping into my mind. There still are days when I debate the “what-ifs.” What if I had said something? Would that have changed anything? I’ll never know. But there is one thing I do know: this experience is one for both of our books.
And now, as we are two months in 2018, I must accept that the book of 2017 must remain closed.