And here’s the edited version – MWBB 26

I reached orgasm seconds before I realized that I had to leave her. Breathing hard from exertions that went on much too long, I held her as she fell asleep, ignoring the heat and the sweat and the itching of the fluids sticking us together. The hand she unconsciously wrapped around mine still lacked the ring I’d bought a year earlier, the ring I now knew would never be hers. Because of the wall. Because of my secret shames.

When her breathing had settled into soft snores, I gently rolled away. Beautiful even in the hazy streetlight, the sight of her almost made me lose my nerve, but I soon found my way out into the night.

The humid air seemed to weigh tons, and I had to fight for each breath, allowing the oxygen through the wall as I hadn’t been able to allow her through. As I hadn’t allowed anyone through.

My dad instinctively understood how to deal with me – studious, quiet, standoffish, even as a child – so he let me have my space. My mom, on the other hand, never seemed to come to terms with the fact that she couldn’t emotionally connect with me, and she never stopped trying.

The buildings around me changed. I hardly noticed. The wall had wrapped itself around my heart and started to squeeze.

As I felt my heart being crushed from within my chest, I thought of the woman I’d left sleeping in our bed. If I could have opened the wall for anyone, it would have been for her. She changed the laws of the universe just by being in the room. The air was sweeter. My step was lighter. I was all-powerful.


She changed everything except that which fundamentally defined me.

The pressure in my chest grew unbearable, and I fell to my knees. It had to be better this way – a merciful release for all who thought they knew me. But my own release wasn’t to be that simple.

With a rush of agony, the wall exploded out of my mind, taking physical form as a three-story tenement building, mortar decaying, but stout and strong. From inside I could hear voices. The voices of my failures. My regrets. Every time I’d said the wrong thing. The times I’d been rejected. The weight of choices gone awry.

My face grew hot, and I relived each moment on which I’d built my entire identity. The flaws I couldn’t share with anyone, not even a woman who loved me enough to change the universe. With a cry, I ran to the wall, pounding it with my fists.

And then one of the voices changed. It was alone in the din, the voice of a girl I’d asked to dance. She’d rejected me out of hand then, but now – now it wasn’t even a memory to her. The pain was solely in my mind, a moment the rest of the world had long let go.

I punched again and again, and more voices joined the girl’s. So many wounds that I was the sole caretaker of. So many heartaches which weren’t registered in anyone else’s psyche. The wall housed my shame, but no one else cared.

I could let go.

I beat at the wall until it fell in, and screamed as the tenement fell, the pain and misery and embarrassment and shame and hate and fear and worry of a lifetime rising into the air. A wind swept up, and I breathed deep, relishing the freedom that came with the wall’s release. And then a scent drifted along with the breeze.


The sun was creeping over the horizon as I ran back to our home. I made it up the stairs to our apartment and realized as I stopped in front of our door that I was crying, tears streaking down my face, through the grime of my past.

I crept into our bedroom to see her sprawled on our bed. Radiant in the early morning glow, my desire for her was undeniable. I opened the drawer on my nightstand and pulled out the box I’d buried back in the corner. It was time to let her in.


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