Because after finishing my second semester of college with a 4.0 GPA, I spent tonight thinking about nursery rhymes.
And because I think everyone has a wall inside themselves.
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall...
She's not naïve enough to believe that the wall inside is truly gone.
Kate likes to think that she's simply on the other side of it. Now, instead of the wall directly in front of her, it's right behind her. A sanctuary that's lost a good number of bricks but has enough chips in the mortar that she can crawl back inside if she needs to.
Because even when walls seemingly disintegrate into oblivion, when they are nothing more than CGI generated images in history books and documentaries, the foundations are still there. The history is still there. And maybe that's what's more powerful than the wall itself: the memory that, at some point, a wall stood in that same place. At some point in time there was a reason for a wall to be there in the first place: intruders that needed to be kept out, an extra obstacle to keep out an encroaching army, something inside that was so precious and fragile that it needed to be guarded from the outside world at all costs. A reminder that if it was needed before, it may be needed again.
The more she thinks about it, she thinks everyone has a wall inside themselves. For some, she thinks, it may only be a retaining wall, a low-lying fence like the ones that surround flower beds in the suburbs, that warn people to watch their step but don't stop anyone from climbing inside. Others have those rackety wooden fences you see in sand dunes along the beach, high enough to keep people from stepping over them but wobbly enough that trying to jump them would only result in a nose to the Earth. For others, she thinks they're chain linked fences around baseball fields, the kind you climb over with your summer crush or your best friends, laughing at the "No Trespassing" sign as you run into the unknown.
But others are surrounded by barbed wire fences, walls laced with electricity that start out as a form of protection but end up being a prison: you can see what's waiting for you on the other side, feel the wind of freedom through the chain link fence but there's no way to climb over it without hurting yourself, without scarring yourself more in the process. There are walls composed entirely of stone, held together by the strongest mortar, completely blinding you to anything but what's left on the inside. The kind of walls that keep tigers locked in cages. A fence that whispers lies straight through your skin, lies like this is for your own good and we're doing this to keep you safe and you'll only hurt everyone else if we let you out. Lies that are so easy to believe once you reconcile yourself to the fact that walls are normal things.
Humanity is constantly surrounded by walls that trap and confine. Walls keep children inside the classroom, staring out the window on the most perfect day of the year. Walls keep businessmen trapped inside meetings on their anniversaries.
But walls aren't bad either. Walls keep the flies out of the kitchen on a warm summer day. Walls support the weight of buildings, buildings that lead to rooftops which bring you closer to the stars.
It's a contradiction: the walls that keep you dry in the rain are the same walls that keep you away from the sunlight; the walls that block out the wind are the same walls that suffocate you when the air conditioner breaks.
The wall surrounding Troy could not protect it from the Greeks and their determination to get inside.
The Great Wall of China didn't keep the Mongols out, but it did slow them down.
But at what cost?
Thousands of people died building the Great Wall of China, their bodies buried inside of it, their bones an unlucky support system for millions of pounds of stone.
How many people have been undeserved casualties of her wall: The Great Wall of Beckett? How many men had seen her on the inside and tried to climb it, only to fall to their deaths or give up once they realized that it was an impossible task.
She didn't want him to be another one.
More importantly, she didn't want to become one herself.
So she climbed it herself.
So no, she's not naïve enough to believe that the wall inside is gone.
But she knows that she managed to climb to the top of her wall despite all of the opposition, gritting her teeth at the shocks that rocked through her, biting back the gasps of fear when her feet slipped from the holes in the mortar. And when she tried to balance on the very top she tipped over the edge, gripping the top of her wall for dear life, because no matter how much she wanted to just let go, life on the other side of the wall was a terrifying thought.
She's got the ruined fingernails and healed bruises and ever-present scars to prove just what a danger the world beyond her wall can be.
And something that caused so much damage would always be there with her.
But now, settled in the v of Rick's legs on her couch as they watch a movie, his arms wrapped around her torso as she leans against his chest, Kate can't remember why the other side of the wall ever looked so appealing. It was still there, but she can't imagine ever going back to the other side.
Because Rick's arms offered protection without confining her to a prison, his presence acted as her guard against her own personal demons, and the scars and scratches only made the love and joy she felt now that much more wonderful, the healing cracks of her heart allowing more light to seep inside.
She's not naïve enough to believe that the wall isn't there anymore.
It's still there, just on the other side of it.
And she thinks it's fitting that when she finally lifted herself to the top, pulling herself over the edge with a strength she didn't know she was capable of, when she finally fell over the edge of the wall that had been her heart's home for so long, giving up the safety of the barrier for the freedom of open spaces, she didn't hit the ground.
She landed in his arms.