Anti-versary just passed. There’s been a lot of time to think in the past 12 years.
What is a marriage?
What is love?
What is forgiveness?
What is sacrifice?
Theirs was a gleaming white castle on a hill, the envy of those around. Beautiful, pure, and made with love that took and would last a lifetime. It was a place resounding with life and with adventure. It was a place safe to open tender and innocent hearts.
It tumbled down, crashing into a mangled heap of brokenness on that day. What other outcome could there be when a princess mines an abyss below the castle’s foundation, to look for forbidden jewels with ruffians, instead of tending to its upkeep? The work of building something enduring cannot compare to the thrill of hunting fleeting treasure.
Out of the rubble and ruined ground arose an ugly, black fortress, built solely to protect an injured heart from another mortal wound.
The banner flying over that fortress reads: Never love with your whole self – always keep a part back.
There are no tears at funerals now, even for those who were once close. There is only unfeeling, steely hardness. It is a cold, cold place inside that fortress. Even the memory of walking in the open air has passed into history.
On rare days, there is a spark of mysterious origin that flickers and lights the darkness. It wonders what could break down the ever-thickening walls and who could have the strength to do it.
Not him. He is too scarred from the battle and too exhausted from pretending on the stage of life.
Not her. She didn’t try to stop the building then and doesn’t try to find a way in today. Instead, she built her own dark and brooding fortress. There she hides, not from him, but from what she has done: "The thing that shall not be talked about".
Perhaps a different princess from a far-off land, with a tender touch and a warm heart, could find a way through the impenetrable wall.
But honour would not permit it: The stones would be replaced as quickly as they were removed.
And so, two fortress builders who once dreamed a castle to the sky carry on from day to day in a divided kingdom. There is no war, but an uneasy peace, and the land is not blessed. Instead of happiness, there is only duty.
And in the end, duty is why he settled on that day.
But the wasted land beyond the fortress walls cries out: "Was this prison worth the cost?"