For all of us, there are a few select people we let into our lives. Really let in. Sometimes the reasons are obvious: a common love for certain books, a shared lust for This American Life and good margaritas, a mutual admiration for how the other conducts his or her life.
But I also like to think there's something a little cosmic in the connection. Some sort of star-crossed "meant to be".
Whatever the reasons, we form bonds. They start off flimsy and tentative, but thicken the more we give: information, time, respect.
And then, inevitably, we hurt each other. A wall slides into place with a scraping concrete thud, leaving the two people on opposite sides, either looking for a way over, or turning their backs with arms crossed, faces set in stubborn grimaces.
I am, probably, especially guilty of this. J. often accuses me of defensiveness.
But everyone lets it happen. We sense that we've been too welcoming and we start with the trowel, the brick and mortar. Or, once it's built, we are afraid of scaling the wall, of risking a long, painful tumble over the other side with no one to catch us.
So we navigate these relationships. We say things. We hurt people. Walls slide between, and hopefully screech away again, like scenery wheeled across a stage.