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Bulletproof

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Doctors say that hearts are made of flesh and blood. But anyone who has ever loved knows they are made of glass. Developed in a blaze of passion, stained with greed and lust and love, until a unique work of art lays translucent before the beholder. They can be inflated into intricate shapes and designs, malleable, so fragile a wrong pitch of voice might shatter them to oblivion of minuscule glittering shards of tears.

My favorite season has always been summertime. Summertime: where children run about in nothing but their bathing suits, parents drink iced tea on their white front porches, and the thick scent of sunshine and barbecue floats in the air. I can recall a time when, as soon as the snow melted off of the ground outside, my friends and I would line up in a driveway and endure the pain of the harsh sharp gravel on our soft pink feet, preparing our calluses for the upcoming summer season. I love the thunderstorms and the sun and the rain as it drips steadily on top of the tent in my backyard. I love the steady hum of a dragonfly’s wings and the soft swish of the grass that twirls around my fingers and toes and entangles itself in my hair. I love the aroma of tulips and roses that can be found in every color contained in my neighbor’s box of crayola color crayons. Everything everyday is fun and games, and life is like sunlight. Dazzling.

Then that summer came. The summer with the boy. I remember watching the boy as he played baseball, repeatedly throwing it up and catching it in his mitt. Throwing…catching. Over and over. The boy was not remarkable in the least. A potential play pal at best. The boy and his ball. Up and down. Children play. He remains stoic. Always calculating. How high can I throw before it falls? How hard? How fast? He would test it, a regular physicist who assessed the laws of gravity over and over again.

The other boys were much more fun, running around in their Nike sneakers tossing footballs to one another, swimming in the lake, always catching frogs or bugs or crayfish to scare the girls with. But for some reason, that boy was of a particular interest to me. I wanted so desperately to know why he did not play like the other boys, laugh like the other boys, or act like the other boys. What made him so different? I simply could not wrap my mind around it. So I avoided the boy, watching him from a distance like a bug under a microscope, deciphering his very being from afar.
Too soon the leaves began their annual transformation from bright and green to crimson and gold. The school year came and then went away again, like a guilty affair, and the boy was the only significant craze in my life. All of my old friends were normal, constant, but this boy, this boy was an oddity. I was in awe of the specific way his wrist flicked upwards, throwing that ball at the perfect velocity to be caught with optimum confidence and maximum height. I was bewitched and stood as frozen as one of my mother’s homemade strawberry popsicles before him.

Suddenly, with a precisely calculated thrust of his palm, that precious baseball went flying, soaring, slicing through the air like the canines of a fox slice through the pulsing throat of a chicken. With a crash that baseball collided with a windowpane that had the audacity to exist too close to the boy.

At first, the window merely shuddered and gave the illusion to any outsider that it would recover without a trace of injury. However, after a few seconds in that hot summer sun, a crack began to form. Small at first, then larger and larger and larger until it ran from corner to corner, cutting across the windowpane’s small frame and destroying its core. Tiny fissures etched their way across the smooth surface, eventually transforming the window into an odd sort of spider web held together tentatively.

That window stayed like that for a few days, openly displaying that an orb had hit it directly at its heart, eventually falling away piece by piece into nothingness.

However, no window remains forever broken. At some point, hours or days or weeks or even years later, it gets fixed. And not only fixed; if a window was broken badly it becomes fortified. Resistant. Bulletproof. Defiant to young charmers with their mitts and balls, who at the slightest whim might attempt to shatter them into thousands of pitiful grains.

I know exactly what it is to be a window.





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