What is wrong with me? Why am I hurt so deeply, all the time? Crying on the outside, crying on the inside, work all day, cry all night. My apartment is dreary with tears, and mold is springing up in the futon from it.
I can’t stop crying or hurting. When I think about what hurts, it’s trivial. Junior high stuff. I’m alone. I’m tired of living. My ex-husband beat me and tried to sell me into prostitution. I live in a dump. My boss is a bully. I lost my loves. I think I’m gay. Stupid things, really. Everyone goes through these things, but they don’t cry about it forever. They get over it and go on.
When it got too bad, I would call my mother, who would listen for a while and then tell me about her aunt’s recent funeral or some such. Her options for flowers on the deck. Happy things. I felt less alone.
Finally, somewhere around 32, she cut me off. She found it too upsetting to listen to me talk any more, and wouldn’t accept any phone calls with me crying. I was four years old again, curled on the cold rug by her bed, with nightmares stuck in my brain,. But I kept calling her and saying uh-huh and yeah for an hour just to hear her voice.
I now know what it was all about. She was cutting the ears off a cat. The ears tell you everything: what the cat’s thinking, feeling, whether they’re curious, pissed off, going to pounce. She cut the ears off, and now I just always look the same. But I don’t cry anymore; ears have something to do with crying.