You be the judge – MWBB editing.

Below, I will post the first complete draft of my MWBB story this week (link here: http://thetsuruokafiles.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/mid-week-blues-buster-week-26/). It’s too long, by nearly 50%. So I’ll trim it down, and if you’re interested, you can read both versions and tell me what you think.

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I reached orgasm seconds before I realized that I had to leave her. Breathing hard from the exertions that went on much too long, I wrapped my arm around her as expected and 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, letting the weak breeze from the ceiling fan cool me for a moment before slipping out of bed. As I began pulling on my clothes, I looked at her once more. Beautiful even in the hazy streetlight coming through the window, the sight of her almost made me lose my nerve, but I knew it was for her own good and soon found my way down the stairs and onto the city streets.

I wasn’t walking fast, but the humid night air seemed to weigh tons as I tried to draw it into my lungs. 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 seemed to instinctively understand how to deal with me – studious, quiet, standoffish, even as a young child – so he let me have my space, doing things together when the situation called for it, and then walking away to do his own thing the rest of the time. My mom, on the other hand, never seemed to come to terms with the fact that she couldn’t emotionally connect with her only child, and she never quite stopped trying, no matter how many ways I tried to shut her out.

The buildings around me changed, as I crossed from my neighborhood into one I’d never been through on foot before, and wouldn’t have under any other circumstances. 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 so many blocks ago. She’d wake in a few hours to find me gone. No note. No possessions gone. Just a me-shaped void in her life.

That, at least, was something we shared.

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.

Nearly.

She changed everything about me except that which fundamentally defined me.

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

With a rush of agony, the wall exploded out of my mind, taking physical form in front of me. A three-story tenement building burst into life on what had been an empty lot, mortar decaying, but stout and strong. From inside I could hear voices, indistinct at first, then coming into focus like a radio station being tuned as I crept closer. They were the voices of my failures. My regrets. Every time I’d said the wrong thing at the wrong time. The times I’d been rejected. The weight of a hundred thousand choices gone awry.

My face grew hot and red, and I relived each of those shames again. Those moments 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 and pounded it with my fists. The brick was hard, but I heard cracking sounds emanate from under my hands.

And then one of the voices changed. It was alone in the din, the young voice of a girl I’d asked to dance in sixth grade. She’d rejected me out of hand then, but now – oh, 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 of.

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 then screamed into the night 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 in a cloud of dust and debris. A wind swept up the street, and I breathed deep, relishing the freedom that came with the wall’s release. And then a scent drifted along with the breeze.

Her.

The sun was just starting to creep over the horizon as I started running back to our home. My feet pounded on the pavement as I ran, pushed by the breeze, feeling lighter than any man had the right to. I didn’t stop, not for cars, not for lights, not for other passers-by, for there were none, at least as far as I could see. I made it up the stairs to our apartment in a handful of giant leaps, 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 hadn’t locked the door when I left, and 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. All the way in. 

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