Of Fortification and Familiarity

November 13, 2010

I’ve always entertained the thought that people are born with imaginary walls hemming them in. As time goes by, they meet other people who would tear down these walls—knowingly or unknowingly—to see what kind of monster or angel there is to find. If the one inside feels his invader does him good more than harm, he helps him rid a brick or two. It’s a way of opening up: poking bricks, one after the other, to reveal himself to a stranger eager to see him, whom he trusts enough to let himself be seen.

Others succeed in going beyond the barricades, with a certain kind of knowing being had right after. Meanwhile, there are some who struggle in fully completing the entrance. It’s a common scene that after breaking in, there’s just nothing there next to happen. The insider finally sets eyes on the one who did him his unfolding, but there is absence of movement. Usually, despite the former’s invitation, the latter robs the moment of steps to reach where the former stands: there they are, two bodies free from divide but bound by diffidence. It’s as if there between them is still a wall more difficult to destroy—a wall within a wall: the plot’s unnecessary thickening.

Maybe it’s because of the wall-wrecker  convincing himself that the excitement of the demolition is of greater value than the essence of discovering the secret once shrouded by the stockade.

Or, perhaps, it’s the imminent nearness that drives him far.

But then there’s a story sadder than this: that which sees the one inside slipping stories through the cracks and crannies of the walls for the one outside to read. Over and over. Day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year. And they contain themselves with this exchange, laughing or crying with a wall wedged against their faces. They pretend to have found each other without having to know who they really are.

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