This little piece was written for The Angry Hourglass Round 66 based on the photo prompt below.
“He did what!?”
“Wrote ‘Love Me’ in big bold white letters,” answered Victoria.
“Well I never,” said the stately old neighbor. “Glad I won’t ever have to see it…” She watched the shades close over Victoria’s normally big, bright, and open eyes. “I’m sorry dear…I didn’t mean…”
“It’s okay, Elizabetha, it’s okay.” Victoria sagged, and creaked. “It’s just I know he means well and, well I, we’ve lived across from each other almost as long as you and I have and I don’t know—”
“You love him don’t you?”
“I do, I really think I do.”
“You are young deary, so so young. I still remember when you were built like it was yesterday. So bright, so full of hope, so giving and open.”
“That’s the thing Elizabetha. I think he can be too. He used to be, remember?”
“I remember when you described him to me, yes. Every day you’d tell me about every little thing about him.”
“And now he’s closed himself off from me, asking…telling me to love him! It’s as if he hides behind that false exterior and I don’t know if he feels being a man means being just so…so…”
“Aloof?” Elizabetha, who smoked like a chimney, lit another in the cold cold night.
“No, that’s not it…Spartan. I don’t even know if that’s the right word, but it’s as if he isolates himself, hardens himself because he doesn’t want to appear weak.”
“Vulnerability, deary. He’s scared of being vulnerable.”
“You’re probably right.”
Elizabetha cackled and coughed. “Of course I’m right deary!”
“Oh, Elizabetha, I wish you could see him, just once.”
“From what you’ve told me my dear, I’ll never need to. But deary, remember, he has to let you inside. And he has to want to let you inside.”
“What’s the matter deary?”
“I don’t know, I think maybe I’ve lost my chance. He’s built up such a wall that I don’t think he even knows how to get out—how to remove even a single brick.” Her eyes began to fog.
“He wants you to love him because he thinks love is wrecking ball.”