Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Bricks are hard. You could punch a brick and your knuckles would hurt a lot more than the brick would. You could accidentally crash your bike into a wall of them and the bike would be worse for the wear. You could scrape up against the edge of a brick and draw blood.

They’re not so big, but try moving a lot of them at one time. All together, bricks are heavy. By itself, you could pick one up and easily heft it about - play toss with a brick. Or you could take that one light brick and heave it as hard as you might through someone’s soft skull. Because bricks are hard.

But have you ever tried wearing away at a brick? It doesn’t actually take much. Something harder and a little time will make it give way. I could write your name in a brick with a sharp enough implement. Bricks are no match for water and air, given enough years of rain and wind.

Bricks are why we love fireplaces. It’s not the heat from the flames we feel so much as a brick’s capacity to take in all that energy and give it back to us one little bit at a time. I dare you to lay your cheek against a brick building on the hottest day of the year in the middle of a steamy teeming city. I promise you it will feel cool.

When you met me, I had carefully arranged a bunch of bricks around me to guard against the eventual onslaught of whatever you might bring. I had picked out my best ones and configured a convoluted maze of protection. I sized up your shiny skull and calculated how easy it would be to crush it.

But like rain, like water, you got in. Like wind, like air, you swept some of it away. And the feeling of you seeping in around my cracks leaves me wet and warm and this might be the softest I’ve ever felt.