Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Short Story: Tears

Once upon a time, there was a girl who hated to cry. Bad things happened in life, but she refused to cry. When her heart broke, tears refused to surface.


"I cry in my heart." Her plaintive, but pathetic voice excused her lack of tears.
Then times would come when she knew that she ought to cry. The girl wanted to cry, but couldn't seem to. In the quiet of an empty room, the girl whispered to herself, "It's okay. Now, you can cry." No tears ever came.

To this girl, tears portrayed weakness. Tears were for those who could not take care of themselves or who wanted to manipulate others to their own desires. And for vanity's sake, tears made one's skin motley, red, and puffy.

As this girl journeyed through life and continued to refuse to cry, she met many people. A curious thing happened. Some of these people were not afraid to cry and some shared the girl's own feeling of distaste toward tears. Yet, this girl found herself drawn to those who shed tears openly. They seemed freer somehow. These tear-shedders walked lightly and were not ashamed of their vulnerability.

In time, the-girl-who-could-not-cry discovered that she had begun to respect these others who felt no shame in crying.

"You must learn to cry." These told her.
"I hate crying?" The girl tried to say emphatically but ended in a question. With the passing of time, tears began to entice her. Crying seemed to hold such freedom and release.

Life brought this girl pain after pain. Never did a tear slid down her face or fog her eye. She went staunchly on; yet, out of the corner of her eye, the girl wistfully caught sight of those who freely shed tears on her behalf.

She wanted that.

The girl desired to cry.

On rainy days, the girl sprinted out to meet the teardrops of the sky. As these fresh water tears splashed on her face, the girl pretended that these drops of water came from her own heart. The rain danced down her cheeks as the girl spun in the rain with arms opened wide finally accepting the crying of the sky. Her pain seemed best expressed through this sky encapsulating cry. Yet, only the fresh water of clouds cascaded down her face.


Still, salt droplets did not come from the girl's own eyes.

Life continued bringing the girl both new pains and renewing old ones. And yet, things had changed somehow. No longer did she face these hurts in the same way that she had before. Before, she had chosen to be strong and show no weakness. Now, the girl wanted to embrace the freedom that she saw in the tear-shedders.

Even with this desire, no tears came.

On a day with no rain but lots of wind, the girl climbed a hill and considered her life. Abruptly, she sat amongst the tall grass. Looking at her hands, the girl noticed a small yellow bud of a flower by her knee. The flower's petals were crushed, bruised, and ripped. Yet, the flower still sought the sunshine. Just like she did.


The girl's throat tightened as she stared at the flower. Her mind raced. Surely, she would choke and die. Breathing seemed difficult with this strange tightening of the throat. Emotion rushed to her eyes and a liquid warmth filled her eyes and spilled over. The girl let the tears come. She did not wipe them away. She did not laugh in embarrassment. She cried freely. Her skin became blotchy and red. Snot dripped from her nose. And you know what? This girl was beautiful in her tears.


"A princess's tears are prized the world over. For centuries, caravans and traders traveled across sand and sea looking for this rare find. Like invisible ink, they are used to compose the sweetest of songs, the most beautiful poetry, and the most adoring love letters. For break-up letters or insults, use crocodile tears."
The Secret Lives of Princesses