A once unwelcome intruder I felt a strange intrigue from your sudden presence. You stood, skin glistening from the valiant effort of scaling that first perimeter wall. This was a feat no other had done, though I've foolishly let some in through the barricaded gate only to expel them once I came to my senses.
But you fought your way in... and you stood there, skin aglow and slightly flustered, perhaps unbelieving that you yourself had made it through the murky moat of my indifference and across the treacherous roped bridge of my mixed signals.
You declared your intent to usurp this kingdom of my heart.
Perhaps the absurdity of your declaration faded in the glory of your successful infiltration efforts so much so that I, the usurped, found myself impressed and decided to make no more of a fight.
Maybe if we worked together, you'd work to protect this kingdom. Heaven knows my corned hands were tired from the strategic laying of each brick on this fortressed building. I could use a protector and well, you showed yourself able.
So, I did not resist, I mean it does get lonely holed up in this place so a strong man to kindle a fire, and to warm up this home with his good looks and charm... I should have noted the startling resemblance to my fantasies... This could not be true!
But it was, you warmed my heart and opened my emotions to accommodate your unrefined warrior ways. I would care for you as or because you cared for me and together in the safe kingdom of my heart we would grow in love and understanding of the strangeness of the strangers we really were.
And as I stretched to care for you, to nurse the wounds you'd collected from scaling other kingdom walls and the bruises from being beat by those not so understanding of your benevolent usurpation plans, you rested. And my attentions turned from reapplying the mortar between the fortress bricks, so my heart began to crumble... And I felt pain.
Pain from oppressive arrows being shot through holes in the wall. Enemies of myself, but also enemies of you slithering in and biting my ankles at night... And I turned to you, to remind you to protect... but you weren't well enough yet, you said. I should not forget my duty to care for you, to nurse you.
So I didn't forget, but as I hunched over your body dressing and re-addressing the stubborn festering wounds I could feel the skin of my back being torn by the claws of assailants of our love. Don't worry about them you said, worry only about you.
And I foolishly did, until one day my skin was too torn to ignore and too raw to even lie back. So I asked you to leave. I couldn't care for you AND guard the walls, I explained.
And to my shock, you left.
I thought you would do anything for this kingdom, I thought you wanted to see it flourish. I thought my threat (that's all it was) would remind you of your own desire.
But no, you left.
And so I'm confused about your true identity, and left to conclude that you don't care, never cared about anything but the excitement of your initial conquest. You had no desire to sustain my kingdom, only to overpower the strength of my self-sufficiency.
Perhaps I am to blame for trusting the words and character of an intruder.
Or maybe I scared you away... but how can a coward so convincingly disguise himself as a resolute warrior?
Now, I'm torn, between rebuilding the walls to protect myself and waiting for you to return.
Little by little I reapply some mortar here and some plaster there, reminding my hands of the old ways, the ways I'd never thought I'd have to go back to. And as I lay each stone I glance across the treacherous bridge, past the vast plains and to the shambles of the perimeter walls that once stood; yearning to see your silhouette galloping in on hope.
You'd laugh at your folly and beg me to forgive you. You'd thank me for my care and say how safe you are in my hands. You'd gallantly sweep me up and declare your irrevocable intent to rebuild my heart and to guard it.
But no hope rides in. Only cold breezes of indifference blow over and through the walls and tumble across the plains.
So, I rebuild the walls. You can easily climb them again, I figure, as you did before. Better not make it too easy for another to stride in in your absence. As I reconstruct the walls, I find my arms weak from lack of use and my mind hazy as it tries to remember the ways; the way it was, the way I was, before you.
The kingdom of my heart is now weak and where I once felt safe and strong I feel frail, fragile and unguarded. I wonder if I will ever regain the strength to venture beyond the stagnancy of this guarded place. If my kingdom will ever open up to new horizons and fearlessly jump at new adventures.
But for now, I struggle to find the resolution to re-fortify that wall and reset the obstacles.
I've left the door of my castle open, and I gaze, all day, across the bridge, waiting to see your form and toying with the idea of cutting that last bridge into my heart. I consider it with every baited moment that goes by that you do not return.
It seems you've left the kingdom of my heart and moved into the kingdom of my mind so instead of blessing me with your presence, your memory torments me.
At the door, frigid air rushes in in your absence and I cringe at its sting.
But I stand, and I wait.
And I'm standing and I'm waiting.
Maybe one day it will get too cold.
Maybe one day I'll cut that last bridge.
Maybe one day I'll close the door.
Maybe one day I'll close the door.
© Chereese La-Vonne Ricketts 2012