Sunday, October 26, 2014

No Tears

No Tears
I tell myself, “No tears.”  
I am aware that crying is cathartic.  
I know that every once in awhile you need a good cry.  
A year-ish of my life was spent crying in the car and in the shower
And that’s all well and good
and private.  
But it’s the instances I don’t want to cry, I will myself not to cry, when it happens.  
The only person I can blame is myself.
I hate that.

After running up the basement steps and slamming the door,
I literally ran into my built-like-a-brick-wall father.
As soon as he laid his sparkly blue eyes on me he knew something was wrong.
I told my little sister self, “No tears.”
“They...” I tried to explain, but what followed was gibberish.  
He picked up my petite body and discovered they wouldn’t let me play with them;
they didn’t want me to play with them.  
My sisters then barreled through the door.  
Possessing quick reflexes like any good dad of accident prone daughters,
he turned on ice cold water and stuck my hand under it.
“She slammed her finger in the door,” 
he explained so that I wouldn’t lose face.
This way, they never knew how badly their words hurt me.
No tears.  Easier said than done.

Standing behind my sister as she read slowly and clearly into the microphone.  
Waiting together through the song that played between our readings.  
Strength in numbers.  
We looked out into the church full of our family, friends, and people we had never seen before.
As I waited, my body shook,
I had never been this nervous.  
Despite dozens of performances and read alouds.
I read my reading and together we walked back to the pew.  
I passed the coffin, made eye contact with my best friend,
“No tears,” I told my mourning teenage self.  
I made it back to my seat,
turned to face the priest,
the tears began rolling down my face and onto my lips;
the salt in my mouth.
No tears.

Staying  after school with my best friend, 
My all-star athlete boyfriendwaiting in the parking lot,
his view blocked.
Snowbanks encompassed the parked cars on a bitter cold January day.
Descending the stairs we were surrounded.
His friends
armed with snowballs.
Catapalulted from a few yards away,
It physically hurt; that didn’t matter.
They couldn’t see me upset; couldn’t beat me.
We continued walking.  
He had missed the whole thing.
I couldn’t even explain.
I began driving home, “No tears,” I told my embarrassed self.
They streamed uncontrollably down my face the entire drive home.
No tears.

Walking down the hall after a horrible meeting with my not so mentor-like mentor,
the bitter winter my first year of the real world.
What did I do wrong?
I almost made it to privacy when a best friend ran up behind me  
Joking about one thing or another, typical
Teasing me, typical
I repeated over and over in my head to my newly professional self:
no tears, 
no tears, 
no tears.  
As soon as our eyes me, I had no control
My eyes filled up.  

Sitting at the airport bar after an uncomfortably silent train ride;
we sat in different rows.
I kept thinking, should patch things up before I got on the plane,
otherwise regret would haunt us.
“We’re just never going to be able to get rid of each other,”
he smugly declared
As his Budweiser bottle rose to his lips.  
Picking up my purse, I said to my heart worn out self,
“No tears,” 
got up and walked away.  
The tears streamed down as I waited,
body shaking, overheating, recomposing, in line for security.  
I looked back once, our eyes meeting
the last time I saw him on purpose.
No tears.

Crying is cathartic.
Every once in awhile you need a good cry.
No tears.
Sometimes, it’s necessary.