They had to move fast.
Maurice knew it in the instant they decided to walk from now on together through life. He had intended to leave the estate after Clive had announced his plans to marry and settle into a normal, social accepted and expected life. Now, with Alec at his side, things would be different, for better and for worse. However, Maurice knew that he needs to lead the way because Alec would just ponder on, reckless and a bit careless, certainly charming and maybe, so far, it had worked out, but what would they – because they were a duo now, partners for life – do when their luck run out? Moreover, the luck has to run out eventually, in particular, when it concerned such non-normative characters as they are, were and ever will be. No, they had to move fast while not run because that would be drawing suspicion but not too slow either, and Maurice had to have to keep a clear head and plan accordingly.
They could not run away together.
Sure, that might have been a romantic picture but it would have been terribly foolish. No, not even Alec’s enthusiasm could change Maurice’s mind. Let he tries to persuade him with sweet words and kisses as long as he pleases, Maurice could and would enjoy it but it was fixed: Maurice would leave in broad daylight, while Alec would vanish over night. For one last time, they would act like the society percept them to be.
Maurice from a higher standing, would say farewell to Clive, his university friend, and the household, waving goodbye, and the false promise of attending the wedding. One last time, he would put on his fine clothes, one last time, he would use the language he had learned over the years, one last time, and he would play the part. Clive would be heartbroken – inwardly, of course – but reassured that it would be all for the best, and maybe would believe – hopefully – that Maurice will come to that understanding with time as well. Probably, he will be playing his part – the part that Maurice will play one last time – and send someone with him to the station. Maurice will indulge in the comfort of the higher standing in life one last time, but while passing by the English countryside, the estate growing smaller with every mile, he will see it as what he had always sensed it is a gilded cage. A place that never was, is and will not be in the future his place of content. Maurice will board the train but will get off it at the next station and will walk back. He will not have to rush; after all, his heart’s content will only join him hours later, during night.
Alec who will play his part: he who will run away from the estate, leaving behind a letter if it would be after Maurice wishes or without when it is Alec on its own because writing is a hassle. Maurice hopes that he will leave behind a note, telling the story that Maurice had spin for him, so that there will not be an investigation. It is very unlikely that someone searches for someone like Alec but who knows? No, hopefully, Alec will scribble some story about searching his fortune somewhere else, some adventure seeking tale, maybe going onboard of a ship and seeing the world, as Maurice has suggested. However, this is out of his hand. All Maurice is going to do at that point is to wait for Alec to start their life together.
They have a plan.
Alternatively, more accurately, Maurice has several plans. However, the best plans would not work out immediately. The problems were numerous.
For going to France where society was more open towards people like Maurice and Alec, people who prefer to share the bed, love and possible life with the people of the same sex, there was the problem of language. Maurice might be apt in French but Alec only knows some swear words and the sexual acts from the continent which might be of personal use but not to set up a professional business (at least, a partly respectful one). For going to America, a path not many people choose these days and centuries prior, it is a question of money. It is not only a passage to America – which is quite costly itself – but also new passports, contacts, an overall idea what to do with their life besides being hopelessly in love. One cannot live from love alone, no matter what some poets might say.
It was the greater risk but the safer route in the long run – or so Maurice hopes – to remain in England for awhile until they have saved up enough money to go to France – when Alec developed a skill of useful vocabulary, and maybe Maurice could work out a barter system: for every new lection, he would receive a reward of a certain kind that would benefit them both – or to America – when Maurice would find a way to hide his identity good enough or find a employer to look the other way because as a scrivener, personal secretary, bookkeeper or tutor he would certainly paid more than Alec.
Therefore, they will go to London, the melting pot of the county, and hoping that they would blend in, not cross paths with someone that would recognize Maurice, and after some time, they would truly start their life.
They would be roommates.
Two bachelors sharing a flat. Two bedrooms, of course, but only one bed that would be slept in, of course, and they would switch it, maybe every night or every week, so to not drawn even more suspicion. It will not be the part of town Maurice is used to and it will still be a shock for some time for Alec as well who never felt that at ease in the big city of London but it will work out in the end, Maurice is confident about it, and Alec is an optimist anyway (and even if he had doubts he would not admit it to anyone, not even Maurice). It would be a good learning curve. After all, they had never lived together. They had met only recently. What did they knew about each other were the basics; sure, it was the important parts but the personal habits, how our dynamics would change (or not?) when we would face routine as well as new challenges, how do we tick in all details, what will work and what will change and what will bring us to our first fight and the next step. Let us hope that we find a housekeeper and a property owner that looks the other way, to hope for someone supporting is too optimistic even for Alec to believe in. This is not rooming at university, after all. Oh, and when I share this insight with him, I am curious about his reaction. Will he be shocked or is it some well-known fact that only shocked Maurice when he first came there.
And one day, not tomorrow or next week, probably not even next year but someday, they real life will start. Maurice knows that it will be another half-life. Alternatively, it is more a quarter-and-a-half life, if such a term would exist.
A real life that would be them, openly in love, maybe united in marriage one day. Maurice knows that the chances are slim that they would live to the day this would be possible. All they will have will be a transition from a half-life to a quarter-and-a-half-life.
It is better than his starting point all those years ago: the normal path of heteronormativity.
With admitting his sexual identity, with falling in love, and in the end, to have a new, real love required and consumed, he had transformed more and more, and will continue to do so.
Their life will be a forever transit.
Life is a constant transformation. However, their lives will be a waiting room. They will be forever travelling. Never in reconnect with their old life, never reaching a full life – this is what will be awaits them until they die. All they can do is to aim as close as possible to the full life.
Forever in transit, starting now.