I let my guard down and fell – whump! – in love with him. I landed like a ton of bricks -bricks made out of heartbreak, distrust, and misguided hope- that I carried around on my broad, squared shoulders. Nothing broke in the fall, nothing but a bit of cynicism and a few shards of jaded lens.
When I dusted myself off, I found there was love: a true love, sweet and all-consuming. Yet, while I let my guard down, I kept my defenses up. He gained privileged access, but the rest of you remained on the other side of my white picket fence, where I gazed on you with suspicion, sniffed at your pretensions, and muttered behind your backs.
I nurtured our allies, rallied against those of you who would scorn or cold-shoulder or taunt. I was happy, self-satisfied, content. I had a plan and the means to fulfill it. I didn’t need you. I needed no one.
He though! He needed nothing but what he could give away: to me, to you, to anyone. He closed his door to nothing, to no one, and then something deadly strode in. It didn’t kill love or trust or hope, but it did kill him. In the killing, it taught him nothing, but I learned, finally, how to melt. At first it was just a meltdown, a crying jag that went on in the subway and at the gym, in the shower and at the coffee shop. Then it began softening my hard edges, rendering my layers permeable until I could take you all in, let you under my skin, and, like him, see you, hear you, feel you.
Then he left, and I, like the Wicked Witch of the West, melted away. (What a world! What a world!) And instead of sneering at Glinda, at her goody-two-shoes, I tried them on. They didn’t fit very well, and made me walk with a limp, but I learned to tread lightly, and to lead with a wand.