And it all comes tumbling down *

I knew him. Knew him like my own flesh and blood, like my skin and the bones it stretches across, like the figure I tuck myself in and the sheets I sleep beneath. I let myself know him and get close to him because close was never close enough until close became a distant memory. Close was never close enough until, like all the others, he backed away. Then even far became too close, and there was no longer a need for close enough.

His smile is always too close, though. The twinkle in his eyes, the hope that they held, always haunts me in the dreams I do not allow myself anymore. He was everything I never wanted to become, and for that reason alone, his arms were home to me. He was a house on a hill with a light on, with the rain pouring down and a broken, battered woman crawling her way to the front stoop. He would stoop for anyone, bow to all that crossed his path, but he only smiled for me.

Late at night, I wonder if he gives the same smile to anyone else, all the time knowing he doesn't. I wanted to break him like life had broken me, but instead I fueled a fire that seared my skin and left a dark, ashy taste in my mouth and on my fingers. I wanted to break him, and I spent the nights crawling into his spaces, trying to make them larger. I wanted to break him, but he spent the morning rebuilding me. He spent the afternoons holding his creation, and I spent the evenings destroying him slowly.

I never succeeded, but he did.

The morning he finally rebuilt me, finally placed a small sparkle of hope in my eyes, he brushed off the dawn and told me he was going home. He never whispered words of me to the walls, but he did say that he was going home.

I knew when I wanted to be home for him that he would destroy me. When the door slammed behind him, I expected the walls to crumble, to fall to the floor with a weakness they had never known.

The walls never crumbled, but I did.

* "Dying to be Alive"
lyrics and music by Hanson