I am not afraid of your hardness. I know it grew out of necessity, just like mine did.
I know it keeps you safe and in control, and that’s okay.
I see the part of you that is soft and open and wants to have the conversation, the one where you’re heard and seen and don’t have to prove how smart or successful or resourceful or worthy you are because we both know you’re enough without all that stuff.
Through your eyes I see the softness wriggling in the cage of your heart, trying to find a way out, and how some of that softness turns into anger, and how that too is valid.
So we talk about where you’re from and how long you’re visiting and the ages of the kids.
And I want to thank you for reminding me of myself, or say something to crack the superficial exchange, but instead I just smile into the space between us because then you’ll know there is a bridge your heart can cross when it finds the key to that cage.