Who had left the Polaroid at my door?  Who else, but her, had ever seen or known about the picture?  Is this her way of telling me something? Or, should I be wary of someone or something else?


My calls to her phone went unanswered. I decided that the only way I could truly know was to make my way back to the building and see if something awaited me there.


I approached the staircase deep in thought.  What had been my role in what went wrong?  Hadn't I done my best to make sure this relationship wouldn't end as the others had?


While ascending the stairs, I paused to rest and peered over the railing, examining the fragile tiers below. I began to recall a school lesson about the Ziggurat temples of ancient Mesopotamia. When advanced age or disaster had caused their walls to crumble, the rubble was not cleared away. Instead, it was reinforced with stone to serve as the base of a new temple.


I realized that, in much the same way, I had built my relationship with her atop the ruins of those that had come before.  Every carefully-worded phrase, every timed embrace, and every regretful lie had been re-employed in an effort to make the relationship last this time and, like the temple, span the distance between heaven and earth.


The emotional wreckage left behind was never really cleared to leave room for something new.  The damage was patched just enough to allow me to move on.  In the end, it took only one powerful earthquake, a burdensome revelation, to split the foundation and bring this temple to the ground.