As a child I learned of the Great Wall of China, how it was built to keep invaders out and it fascinated me. And whilst fascinated, young and malleable I witness the person I loved most and adored beyond all else, my brother, have his heart broken. I had never seen him so broken and while he was a lot older than me I believed in my little heart he saw me as an equal. He said to me build your heart like a fortress and make sure nothing is let in easily. The thing is I knew he didn’t mean it because he met someone soon after and has now been married to her for nearly twenty years. But something about what he said, something about my young naivety meant those words resonated deep within me.
In the years to come I built a fortress within my heart, surrounded by wall after wall, each ever stronger and more impenetrable than the one before it, and it made me happy to think that no one would be able to hurt me the way I saw my dear brother get hurt. As I grew to love, I learned to let people in but never all the way. I always held back and that’s true of every relationship I’ve ever had. And the one I convinced everyone, myself included of loving the most, even her I never truly let in because deep down I couldn’t trust her, just like I can trust no other. I see those who make attempts to win my heart and my trust as intruders, my heart is mine alone, my anguish and my pain are my vices. I would never allow another to prop me up, to bear my struggles and that’s just the way this fortress was built.
I’ve always laughed at the term ‘stole my heart’, purely because I believed that those who could have their hearts stolen must have on some level allowed it to happen, be it carelessness or deliberate. The thing is you did just that to me. You came in an intruder and I never saw you coming, and you stole my heart like a master thief and I did not even realise until it was too late to do anything about it. I sit and wonder how this could be, given how fortified I kept my heart, how high I built these walls, how careful I was about every detail I allow people to know of me. But the thing is I let you in further than anyone ever before or ever again and the rest was your own doing, and the reason I let you in is beyond me because I love you more than I have ever allowed myself to love, I love you without restraint, and while every rational part of me being is screaming at me to retreat I can’t hold back. I don’t know how and I don’t understand why.
I guess part of me has always loved you for reasons unknown to me, but I’ve always loved you from afar and you’ve done the same. I had no idea that you loved me until recently, I had no idea you could even love me, and it’s when you said it to me I realised how far within my fortress you’ve travelled and how you’ve taken my heart in your clutches, and how ready I was to just give it to you, to let you keep it. And that’s when it occurred to me that our friendship had entered uncharted waters and it could prove to sink if things went wrong. And while I was still presenting my heart to you you backed away. And now these gates of this fortress are coming slamming down because I realise how lapsed I’ve been in regard to the access of my heart you’ve had. And it’s breaking me to think that the first person I’ve ever really presented the entirety of my heart to had it within her clutches and just walked away for the sake of a friendship we’ve both been far too heavily invested in, mostly because that was our only vehicle of communicating our love with great subtlety.
Part of the reason I built this fortress around my heart was because I understood the capacity I have to hurt another, and I understand that I have the capacity to hurt you and I don’t know if I were to do so, if you could ever forgive me. Or if we could salvage our friendship from the wreck of having hurt you. I knew this was messy only now in writing it down do I understand just how messy. While I know why I can’t have you, I can’t seem to let go, I feel like I’m still holding out my heart to you waiting on you to take it from me, it makes me wonder if our friendship can survive this because it’s killing me just being here, knowing that my heart lies in wait for you and in time you’ll likely the the heart of another.