I built these walls long before you came. Brick by brick, I laid each one down, knowing exactly its design. The foundation on which it was made, I am still uncertain. Perhaps it was the response of a child who had to grow up too fast, an adolescent who never felt absolved from her mistakes; knowing too much of the ugliness of the world too early. And then for far too long, continuing to believe that the world was mostly only ugly, that beauty was few and far between; that beauty was spectacular and rare.
And just like that, I went through life with eyes that glistened in the light, but fell to a deep sadness when the light would flicker, even just a little. Everyone seldom aware of the vast pains that can exist in shining eyes, in warm touches, in polite conversations, and in performances of confidence that not only deceive the audience, but even one’s self. The walls became invisible, even to me. But they were there, and they were strong.
Yet somehow you saw through these walls; from the very first day I could not hide them from you. You looked deeply into my sad eyes and you saw me for who I didn’t think I was even allowed to be – frightened and fragile. But you didn’t want to rescue me, you knew that wasn’t your place and it would never be a path you could take. You knew that these walls could never really be taken down by anyone other than the person who put them there; the person that you were falling in love with – me.
So you stood by me and loved me until all these walls became too much to bear. They were no longer protective, perhaps they never were. But now too, they began to hurt, to weigh down, to keep me from fully experiencing all of you, and having you experiencing all of me. And you loved me when I was angry that I let you see me so raw, for a moment contemplating rebuilding my walls. And you loved me when I was lost, and in grief, and unsure of all the things I had always held onto, that were nowhere to be found when these walls were coming down.
I built these walls long before you came. But brick by brick, you helped me tear each one down. You helped me confront that young child and teach her that beauty prevails and triumphs, even where ugliness rears its head. You helped that adolescent know that the forgiveness given to others is something she can give herself, and that it is something she must choose. I do not know what will become of you and I tomorrow, or the day after that, or ten years from today. But for now, I know that you loved me with my walls and you love me without them. And in all my life, I have never felt so beautiful.