These Bricks Don’t Stack Themselves

You’ve got quite a bit going on with the bricks here, Hunter.

I do.

What are you building?

Things.

Like, walls? Things to keep people out of—

No, not walls. Not anymore.

I’ve been building castles, roads, benches, paths, towers, bridges. At least I hope that’s what these bricks will be.

Yeah, I — I can see that happening. It’s, uh, a good start.

Yeah.

No, don’t get me wrong — you, you do great work — it’s well-crafted. I mean, you’ve got these courses weaving in this

I know, I’m not bad at this. It’s just . . .

I’m sorry, man.

It’s just not much. It’s good. It looks good. What’s there is good. It’s just not much.

You’d love a city, wouldn’t you. Or just to have a single castle, like — whoa, that one, right over

Yeah.

Wow, that one across the hill. That’s amazing. Look at the siz—

Yep. With the crenelations, parapets, I know, I’ve seen it.

Geezus. How long was that guy at it?

Oh, he — I don’t know. I don’t know them. But they have machinery. Some help along the way. Things like that.

That’s impressive.

Mmmhmmm.

Hunter, you do good work, man. I can see it in the details. You care about this, and you—

I’m sorry, I do have to carry these bricks over — do you mind —

Not at all, pardon me, I’ll get out of your way.

I’ve carried a lot of these bricks. My hands are calloused over to where I no longer feel the rough faces of the stones, but I do still bear their weight, brick by brick and heap over heap.

Perhaps I would appreciate machinery. The timely boost. Seeing my bricks, rows, wythes, link together, fitting tidy without needing every firm fingerprint of my own hand.

I try not to sweat it, lest I raise my head and wipe my brow to catch a fleeting glimpse of the greater cities, towers, bridges, all sprung up so quickly beyond and around me. I hold a brick to the sun for shade, and there I spy other bricklaid paths — those seem as if they’d take me ages beyond what my age can spare. I was not fortunate, nor timely enough, it seems.

Hunter?

Yeah?

Why not just—

Quit?

No, not quit, per se. But you, you don’t have to do—

These bricks don’t stack themselves. Not like they do for others. I’m good enough with the bricks to where I can’t let myself down. It feels like, like I’d be wasting what little I have. I might have a bridge, or a park bench, or maybe just — you know — this nice looking part of a wall. And yes, I do wonder if I’ll be happy enough with that. But, like, I thought I was good at these. I feel like I am. People tell me I am. It’s just hard — y’know — seeing those great cities, and I just . . .

You are a different kind of brick, Hunter.

It must be an autistic thing, I guess.

How so?

Even though I don’t really succeed, I don’t quit.

2 thoughts on “These Bricks Don’t Stack Themselves

  1. Oh, the bricks in my life are a plenty. Many to ‘protect’ me, and many I’ve laid in my favor. Recently, in the last few years, some of my ‘finely built masonry’ has begun to crack and create space in the best way. I’m planning to put in a window or two in the voids. Thank you for this.

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