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Photograph by Glen Hush – Two moose finish their last meal of the day as the sun sets along the Snake River in Wyoming.

“A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.”
― Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

We live in our own castles, in the universes known only to us, keeping all the space storms and intergalactic collisions to ourselves. No matter how much we love, give, or speak of our thoughts; there is that kingdom far far away, we seek refuge in when we know that some words are unspeakable and some thoughts are too deep for anyone to understand. In the abyss of memories, pain, hurt, anger, grief and certain joy only we know of….there are things no one else but we ourselves understand. Are we really happy? Are we really sad? Is the grieving over? Have we really stopped loving? Not a single psychologist would ever know for sure. But within our invisible citadels we smile to ourselves and wipe away our tears slowly.

I remember when I wanted to know absolutely everything someone I love would be thinking. I wanted to know their deepest thoughts, darkest secrets and unfulfilled desires. I often forgot that thoughts were soundless and people can smile and cry on the inside. But I was wrong to think that when people love you and they are loved, they can actually reveal themselves to you like a see-through crystal. People are more complicated than that. Not because they want to be, but because they just are.

As time goes on, portals to our personal worlds shut down one by one so that others can’t get in. You can hear them close, with every trust that breaks, with every fracture of our heart and with every pain that stabs our soul. The real world becomes so unsafe we leave no entrance open for anyone to cross over to our sacred worlds. People often leave a mess behind and you have to clean up after them, and that isn’t easy because our personal universe retains stains easily.

I have closed up the portals as well. It took me a while to understand why but it happened. Now I don’t ask anyone what they don’t want to tell and when I listen, I try hard to listen to the silent pain and the secret joy that fills their words. I have taken my grand universe in all its misery and glory away from the one I live in, just to be safe. The portals are closed, the bridges are burned, chains are fastened and the tidying up has started.