Dedicated to Luminous Tears, which inspired a longer comment than I intended.
I do not shed tears for my own pain, at least not overtly. The last time I did was at the death of my grandmother, who had been my only shelter from an abusive mother and a disinterested father. A cousin caught me and rebuked me, saying she was only your grandmother, fagot. I was seventeen.
Once, I cried in fear. I was twenty-three years old, I was told I was going to die (consequented by an attack of Hepatitis B). It was 1965, I was twenty-three years old. Somewhere in the middle of the tears, I told myself, “Crying ain’t gonna change shit; better start enjoying what time you have left.” It is my testimony that, from that moment, my health began to improve. My family canceled arrangements to have my body shipped back to Chicago.
I did not cry when I discovered I had colon/rectal cancer at fifty-one, but of course, it was twelve years after the operation, chemo and radiation that my oncologist told me they hadn’t expected me to survive much longer than a year. That was twenty years ago.
But I am not immune to tears. I cry at movies. I cry for the beauty of it when I see a performer at the top of their professional form. Mozart, brilliantly played, leaves my face wet enough to grow roses. Maybe, among all these moments, are those tears that have remained, un-shed, for myself.
Note: Any designated errors of spelling are choices, not errors.