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October 29, 2022 10:04 pm  #1

ARO: A Tearful Night

Lying on the couch on a quiet Saturday evening, listlessly swiping between apps, I felt a familiar lump in my throat. Setting my phone down on the coffee table, I rolled over onto my side, sighing, pressing my cheek against the cushion.

If I just swallowed down the ache, found something to distract myself, played a song that made me smile, I could ignore it. The possibility of crying would pass me by. I wouldn't have to deal with the headache, the tissues, the tears. But this feeling — this dull pressure at the center of my chest — would cling to me, until I found some other way to let it go.

I closed my eyes against the faint prickle of heat at the corners. Rather than fight it off, I let the feeling wash over me, the tears welling up behind my eyelids, clinging to my lashes.

For a moment, I thought it wasn't going to happen — that the tears would pass as quickly as they threatened to come. Then a sharp breath hitched out of my chest, and the tears began to spill over. With one side of my face tucked against the couch, the first tears soaked into the cushions, immediately starting a patch of damp that I could just barely feel.

On the other side, tears pooled between the bridge of my nose and the corner of my eye, eventually spilling in two paths, over the bridge of my nose and down the side of it. A silent sob shook through me, making the tears come quicker. My lips twitched as I tasted salt — I had barely noticed the fresh tear-tracks reaching the corner of my mouth.

Soon, the damp patch on the couch under my face got too uncomfortable to lie on. I sat up slowly, the tears immediately finding new paths down my cheeks. I rubbed the tears from the bridge of my nose and the side of my face with my sleeve, but I didn't bother with the rest of my face. The tears weren't going to stop anytime soon.

Resting my elbows on my knees, I leaned forward, silent sobs shaking my shoulders. Just as I'd settled myself, my phone buzzed harshly against the coffee table, startling me so badly that I sobbed aloud. I considered ignoring it, but it buzzed again. I picked it up, curling my trembling fingers around it to make sure I didn't drop it, if only to silence it so I could cry in peace.

The buzzing was my friends in our shared groupchat, talking about making plans tomorrow. A few tears dripped onto the screen, lingering there as I typed a reply — I was free tomorrow afternoon, but not in the morning. There was no way I'd be presentable before noon at the absolute earliest.

It ached, to talk to my friends and have them not notice. As little as I wanted the attention — I wasn't crying about anything they could comfort me over — sometimes I wished they could read my mind, know that I needed to be reassured that they didn't mind me like this.

I'd never know if I didn't ask, but I didn't feel like asking. So I just watched them talk, sobbing quietly, tears splashing onto the screen and running down the backs of my hands, trailing down my neck and soaking into the collar of my shirt. I dropped in an affirmative occasionally, just so they knew I was listening.

Eventually, finally, the conversation trailed off. I said goodnight, flicking a teardrop away from the onscreen keyboard with my thumb. Putting my phone on silent, I set it down on the coffee table and laid back on the couch, my head leaned against the arm of it, so the tears trailed down my cheeks and temples, dripping into my hair.

My eyes were starting to ache. I covered my face with my arm, pressed my other hand over my mouth, and shook with sobs.

By the time I uncovered my eyes, it was entirely dark outside, and late enough that I really needed to get to bed. My sleeve was soaked with tears, but it hadn't caught or dried everything — my face was soaked, too, and the hair at my temples.

And I was still crying.

I sat up. Tears splashed onto my thighs as I caught my breath, sobbing softly. It took a few minutes before I could make myself stand up, heading to the bathroom to brush my teeth before bed.

Glancing at myself in the mirror, as I brushed my teeth, I winced. My face was red, slightly swollen from what must've been an hour of crying already, just as soaked with tears as it felt. There were thick trails of tears streaming from the middle of both eyes all the way to my chin, dripping steadily onto the front of my shirt. Tears were running from the corners of my eyes, too — both outer corners, and the inner corner on the right side — the tracks not quite as full as the ones in the center, but still overflowing.

Blinking was a whole different story. It sent tears scattering from my lashes, dripping to random places on my cheeks, splashing onto the bathroom counter.

It was almost a shame to splash water on my face, but I did, not bothering to try to actually wash my face when I was just going to keep crying anyway. I filled a cup with water from the tap and drank it slowly, watching in the mirror as I kept crying, whatever thing that had come unstoppered inside of me seeing no reason to stop now that I'd started.

The tears were already dripping off my jaw and chin again, running down my neck. When I tipped my head back to drink, tears ran down my temples. I squeezed my eyes shut, and felt tears spill from the corners of my eyes, trailing down my cheeks.

I drank another cup of water, just to stave off the headache. My flushed face in the mirror barely looked like mine, streaked and splashed with tears. I set the cup down and turned away from it.

By the time I was getting into bed, I was almost sobbing again. I buried my face in my pillow and let it happen.

I'd be asleep before long, and the morning would be a little brighter.


October 29, 2022 10:34 pm  #2

Re: ARO: A Tearful Night

Beautifully written, I love thick tears leaving multiple streaks. I wish I could comfort and take care of your tears.


October 30, 2022 12:35 am  #3

Re: ARO: A Tearful Night

That's a beautiful story. The sort that stirs my craving to comfort and console.

"Bless me now with your fierce tears..."

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