A man was tender with me today. He asked how I was with a tiny tilt to his head & intelligent eyes. I barked my usual, “Super!” & echoed the question.

I barely know how to react to original kindness, authentic inquiry. My heart has set up ramparts of glass & settled in behind, keeping watch.

That moment unlocked a faraway memory – holding hands. Which led to memories of sitting closely together, resting in each other. The love I have now is a pac-man thing…its jaws are always working, devouring any scrap of regard. These memories are in a tidal lock to my soul – they face one way, their dark side never revealed.

I’ve become one of the guys for the most part, taking my turn at the end of the line after the alpha males.

When I say something, everyone wants to resolve it for me. “Have you tried…?” is a favorite, or “You know what works for me is …”Sometimes I just want to say something & rest in another’s reply. I don’t want to be sent to the store or the website or the next room for panacea. How about you listen & nod instead? It’s not like I haven’t already researched what they are telling me as the ideas are seldom new. Perhaps simple communication is all that’s on the table, or across it.

To be undone by simple regard makes me sad. There were those who fought for me, riding white horses into battle or placing a shield firmly between me & trouble. i would pull a handkerchief from my lacy sleeve & wave gratefully. Then the world changed; maybe I should say my world changed. I had to be ready at all times to thrust the masculine of me up front, take it on the chin, get another job, do it ALL which rapidly became metronomic & a condition to be borne rather than a defensive maneuver.

I make only the smallest repairs; my skills with a tool kit amount to finding a place to hide it until I need to look for a connector. My finest hours have come with the Duct Tape Final Solution. I can’t drive a straight nail, hell, I can barely manage a pushpin.

I wrote a poem called “At My Age” about falling in love. It’s buried deeply in the files. That says it all.

I can peer over the walls, but won’t fit across the drawbridge.

I need, perhaps, to tuck my heart into a Faraday Cage, forget unexpected kindness, rub my eyes & see what appears when I stop.

How is it fashioned? Did I give up on dreaming or did dreams give up on me?