Another brick in the wall

We live in a world of walls, real and imagined. I remember the day when I first started building my wall. I was seven years old, my mother had bought me a BB gun and we were at my grandfather's house in the country. There was a fence in the back yard and I could see the neighbour's house and it's shiny electrical meter through the trees and bushes. I was seven, what did I know, it seemed like a great target to me. The neighbours, unbeknownst to me, were sitting on their patio having lunch. I started shooting at the meter, not knowing the BB's were ricocheting off the house and onto the patio, grinning like a fool when I heard the ping of a BB hitting the metallic meter. Soon there were angry shouts and I ran and hid. My parents found me and I guess my father wanted to teach me some kind of lesson. He took the BB gun and leaned it up against a tree stump, went and got an axe and handed it to me. He then told me to break the gun with the axe. Panic overwhelmed me, I had only shot 4 or 5 shots with my new BB gun, I looked at mom but she just shrugged her shoulders. I started to cry, lifted the axe and broke it. It broke my little seven year old heart, I started to build my wall.

When I look at people these days I try to see how high their walls have become. When you put a name to it, it's so much easier to notice. I've noticed that a lot of teenagers these days have fully built walls, some even have firewalls, it makes me sad.

Some people's walls are impenetrable while others are crumbling, some are deconstructing, some are ornate. When somebody's wall crumbles in a moment of emotional weakness, anger, grief, drunkenness or occasionally joy, the first thing they start to do is cry and sometimes sob uncontrollably. After which the wall comes back even harder and taller and they are colder towards you, embarassed by their moment of weakness, vulnerable because now, you know. Strong friendships survive wall crumblings because they are strong friendships.

Some people don't seem to be very good at building walls. We call them innocents and suckers. If they are lucky they find someone like them but most often they just get taken advantage of, over and over again.

I like to think that at the ripe old age of 51 that I can see the top of my wall and every once in a while I manage to remove a brick and make that wall a little less high and able to let a little more light shine in. I am also grateful to the universe for placing me in a time and place where I have the luxury to think about such things. There are many places on this ironically beautiful planet where if you don't have a wall up by the time you are ten, you will never see twenty. You don't call it a wall, you just try to survive. I feel like my father at the dinner table saying to eat all the food on your plate, there are children starving in Africa. He was more right then he knew.