Tears

Perfect Blue Tube

The bubbles in the seltzer water rise to the surface. I watch them rise & think about your tears. The way they rise & greet the orthodontist. She’s flustered by the water that leaks out of you again & again & again. How stress causes the salt to pour out of your body, slip onto your skin, stream down your face.

You are mine & I am yours. We have our tears in common. I like to remember the way our doctor greets this water: your tears are OK with me. Your tears are OK with me. These words now live in my body and I repeat until I hear: My tears are OK with me.

Are we ever OK with ourselves when the world says, wait, stop crying! Oh—tear people—we cry everywhere. Who offers you Kleenex? Who banishes you to your room? These tears come from the body, this very human body. I look it up to remind myself: the human adult body is roughly 60% water. I love the way the percentage symbol looks: I say it contains water droplets to match our very watery selves.

The water rises in me. It makes people uncomfortable. It makes me uncomfortable sometimes, often, sometimes. When my uncle died, I couldn’t stop crying, & I wanted to go to school. Part of me wanted to not be able to stop crying and see how the world reacted. I went to 8th grade & cried—my tears were everywhere.

The adult me knows there is no use judging the orthodontist. Or anyone who sees these tears streaming down my face and wants to run. Emotion is hard. Still, the times people saw my tears and said, how can I help? Ah, those times taught me how the human body needs to be helped. I answered, I could use some Kleenex.

Your tears are OK with me. Your tears are OK with me. I am OK with my tears. My watery body offers up its salt and tears. It releases my grief and stress and worry into the atmosphere. The atmosphere that is pouring down rain and wind and tornado spirals. The atmosphere is pissed. My body is pissed. We rain together. We get it all out. We regulate our percentages and stream water into the world. These tears, these tears, these tears. We cry.

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