When we first met, I lied about my age.
I was older than he, and embarrassed about it.
I confessed, and he forgave me.
It cast a faint shadow of mistrust.
The first stone was laid in the wall between us.
He came from another country.
He couldn’t move to be with me,
A single mother with a toddler in tow.
He had a job, friends and family. I understood.
So I moved abroad, leaving everything behind, for him.
He introduced me to his mother.
She expressed doubts about my motives.
He didn’t stand up for me.
He allowed her opinions to go unchallenged.
The second stone was laid in the wall between us.
We married, and had another child.
I was now a mother of two, isolated, lonely, in a strange country.
He carried on as if he was still a single man.
His life had changed, but only slightly.
The third stone in the wall between us.
He was a good husband. Eager to please.
But never understood my anxieties about the baby,
Or the anxieties of my older child.
For him, it was all so easy.
I felt stupid for being protective over them,
and sometimes powerless, being less than fluent.
The fourth stone in the wall.
In his culture, tradition is adhered to strongly.
I was always a questioner. Being brought up in a cult,
had made me rebel against everything.
He was not, I found.
He was a follower, and did not ever question ‘Why?’
We had many arguments about this.
The fifth stone was laid.
I began to notice things about him, I had been too ‘in love’ to notice before.
Silly things. The way he eats noisily. The way he walks, on slightly bandy legs.
The way he is a ‘Yes man’ to others, but not to his own family.
The way he laughs too loudly when drunk.
I didn’t feel love, only beginnings of revulsion.
The sixth stone.
We lived on, all together in the same house,
But not together in our minds, or in our hearts.
We became less intimate, we spent less time together.
We stopped having sex.
We became brother and sister, without the laughter.
It felt like a living death.
In time, the wall was finally built, and our children were perched upon it.
We daren’t break through the wall, or try to rebuild it,
In case they fell.
So we just sat on opposite sides of the wall.
Him looking over it towards me, uncomprehending.
And me with my back to the wall,
Pretending it didn’t exist, to everyone passing by.
There is no ‘happy end’ to this story.
No Berlin style, jubilant, breaking down of the wall.
The wall remains, and I remain, and he remains.
Until the so dearly loved children are grown.
Grown enough to jump down from the wall, and make their own way in life.
And then, who knows what will become of the wall…