Concrete Tissues

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I remember breaking down that barrier.
A Berlin wall, of sorts,
That haunts every friendship.
On one side,
There are pleasantries.
There is “How are you?”
Who shares an apartment with “It’s been too long dear”,
Who lives across the street from “I have so much homework!”
And down the hall from “We ought to see a movie this weekend”.
On the other side, there are feelings.
Not the simple kind.
Not the kind that can be expressed at a locker,
Before homeroom,
Or over a cup of coffee.
The kind that are ugly.
The ones with rough edges,
That will prick your hand,
If you hold them the wrong way.
The ones that sit alone in dark corners,
Because no one wants to claim ownership.

It’s a thrilling moment to break down.
Falling to the ground, you cry,
You wail,
And you blabber out every feeling you’ve ever felt,
No longer able to hold them inside.
I remember when I broke down for the first time.
Like a citizen of West Berlin,
I took a sledge hammer to the wall.
With each word, chunks of concrete disintegrated,
Into crumpled tissues,
And tear-stained pillow cases.
The last word hung in the air.
Inhaling deeply,
Freedom filled my lungs.

I held my breath.

I saw shining lights,
Glimmering stars,
And vibrant smiles.

I knew that behind me,
You saw rusted steel,
Broken glass,
And graffiti.

It wasn’t too late,
I could run away.
Run away and never look back.
And re-build that wall with every stride.
If you didn’t want to cross that threshold,
Between shining stars and broken walls,
Between singing joyously and sitting silently,
Between happiness and heart-ache.
I would not force you.

“Dearie.” You said, arms outstretched.
“Come here.”





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