“I’ve built a wall—not to keep people out, but to see who loved me enough to climb over it.” A little girl I know posted that on her Facebook back in December, and I’ve been thinking about that comment ever since…

I’m a wall builder. They keep me safe from the big bad world. Always have. Always will.

But I never looked at the walls like that—as challenges for others, rather than protection for me. Because of that quote, because of the way it has stuck with me, I’ve been forced to review my theories on walls.

Throughout the last two months, lyrics from several songs have come to mind, including Floyd (of course), Tom Petty and even a little Elton John. Tesla’s “Signs” had that great line about whether it’s to keep things in or keep other things out, and yeah, I know, it’s a fence not a wall, but it popped in there as well. It was part of the wall mantra floating around my brain. I’ve also thought about Ivory Towers and the vines that grow on those walls, making them easier to climb in lieu of flowing locks of hair. I’ve thought about the Great Wall in China. I’ve thought about the wall in Germany. And I’ve thought about the bricks that make up personal walls and the years it takes to mix mortar.

And what happens when they crumble.

You see, some walls are sturdy, like castle battlements. Others are just for looks and topple rather easily. Some are meant for you to tear down, through healing or learning. Others are built to see if someone else can dismantle it, brick by brick. I tend to graffiti my walls, but I also like to plant little flowers to make them look prettier… or to camouflage the scars the graffiti has left behind. The fragrance and color of these little pockets of petals usually fool the casual observer, but beyond the black thumb of gardening death, they’re all the same. They’re walls.

And even the strongest walls can topple under the right conditions.

If the wind is right and the temperature is just so, even the sturdiest, most protective walls can crumble. You may help it, pulling bricks loose to see if the whole structure will fall or stay sturdy under the weight of the neighboring bricks, or you may just stand back and watch.

A year ago today, a brick came loose. I didn’t push it back into place. I stood back and watched, holding my breath, just to see what would happen.

The wall tumbled.

It was the tallest wall in my garden. The strongest wall in my garden. Toppled. There had been some secret graffiti on it, strange numbers and other codes. There had been flowers around it, both fake and real. But it toppled—with no regard to what I was keeping out, what I was protecting within. The dust cloud made it hard to see, and I didn’t even realize I was crying at first. Then I noticed something. The tears didn’t sting.

And the flowers survived the demolition…

0 Responses to Toppled

Thoughts? Tell me what you think...

Find Me Elsewhere
Get Blog Updates

— · Rosie's Bookapalooza · —
October 5, 2019
Johnstown, PA

— · Merrimack Valley · —
Halloween Book Festival
October 12, 2019
Haverhill, MA

— · 2nd and Charles · —
Horror Writers' Panel
October 26, 2019
Harrisburg, PA

— · Read and Scream · —
Chester County Library
November 2, 2019
Exton, PA