Wilsonâ€™s girlfriend was Esther. Unlike Wilsonâ€™s truthful buildings, Esther was an innocent imp. Have you ever burned the roof of your mouth on scalding pizza? The pain would go away if you could just stop tonguing the wound. Esther is that wound. She walks into the room and people dive for cover. Her idea of conflict resolution with Wilson was a slammed car door, turned off cell phone, and/or slashing comments. But this made no difference to Wilson.
The beast, love, began to tow; and Wilson longed for the jaws of this ride to close around him like a coffin of security. Commitment to him was another building to find himself in. Here, in the present, loving Esther was a brick, another piece as good as the next to mold a truth that his reality can adapt to.
All his life he found solace in the direction his work took him. Design after design he drafted, each, reflected the truth of who he was so intimately. They provided him with tangible evidence of his worth to offer as a sacrifice to up others, to Esther. Upon his shoulders he bore the responsibility to design and erect this institution of matrimony. After all, everything depends on a white wedding dress, glazed with joyful teardrops, inside the stone church.
Wilsonâ€™s life was surrendered to constructing wonder out of the ordinary materials within his reach. He had the right tools. No worries. One material was Church. There in the pews, he meditated on the precise elements to his and Estherâ€™s relationship. Slogging through marriage books, he discovered more passageways to his self-consciousness. Peering into his favorite art by Jackson Pollock, he sought justification for rejecting reason. Esther was as random as a thrown paint-soaked brush, dripping, splashing onto to his canvas. He must learn to accept her for who she is, that is love. He would have been better off if he reread the book of Ephesians.
After one particularly violent encounter with Esther, he grinned at me and said, â€œA gentleman can live through anything.â€ But in his eyes this was not what he wanted. In his shoulderâ€™s you could make out the tense unspoken words buried deep in his sinews.
His truth came from his constructions; he could always form his reality around an edifice. The driving force behind all his work was a clear sense of knowing what he wanted. Standing at the base of the Cathedral of Learning, Wilson began to fall apart. Peering up, he knew what he wanted from this building, it was simple: the answers came from within him.
Thinking of Esther, he searched inside himself and was left wanting for answers. Marriage, this institution, was a structure whose roof was mortality. The consequences of committing were too great for him to sustain alone. His work had never asked him to look beyond the tip of a steeple for meaning. Now, he strained to see where the steeple was pointing and saw nothing.
Directionless. Pointless. Unsure of what he wanted from marriage, Wilson surrendered to the beast. He left the cathedral mumbling, â€œThere will be time, to prepare a face to meet the faces that Iâ€™ll meet.â€
Ring shopping, not out of aspiration, but an apathetic stride. Consequences, commitment, had smudged his view of the world with a yellow fog. A cruel woman intruded into his neat spatial drama, coming and going, jawing of Michelangelo, and pinning him wriggling to the wall.
Just before he proposed, he texted me, saying:
â€œHuman kind cannot bear very much reality.â€-T. S. Eliot