What happens when the tears just cannot come any longer?
Sometimes I hold her at night and stare out of the window, hoping that they will come. Hoping that somehow the silence will be broken by my own whisper, my own quickened breath as I can feel the tension finally give way and the sting begins in my eyes. I want them to come, I need them to come. I need to feel something, I want to feel human again.
I cannot see what I see and lose myself. I cannot sit there in the corner and watch this drama unfold upon these innocent creatures and not feel anymore. Why can’t I cry? Please God remind me that it still works, that my heart hasn’t finally broken.
He was four years old. The blood was still visible on the back of his pants when they brought him to me. I knew the older boy he had been with and I knew, deep down inside my tortured and fleeting soul, what had happened. I couldn’t ask for a minute. I watched this boy, his mother couldn’t stop crying. I asked what had happened. I was right and I hate when I am right.
Normally I try to find the window, to look out and remind myself that there is more to it than this. I try to remind myself that there is good in the world and that I can smile at someone, that there will be no strangers today but then when I meet this little one, he will share the most intimate details of his violation and we will not be strangers.
In fact he will forever be part of me now. I will carry his pain forever. I always do.
Today there is no window in the cold hospital room. Only a curtain meant to hide the victim’s shame. It does nothing to help anyone escape the pain. From now on he will look suspiciously at everyone as if they all know what happened to him.
I almost fall back when he describes what happened. The boy who did it. The memory comes back to me like a painful bolt. It was just four years ago when he sat before me and shared his pain. His mother had been addicted to drugs and had always been high. He and his brother were in the back of the car and watched as their mother ran down two of their classmates on the street. They heard the innocent children cry and scream and then stop suddenly as the car came to rest upon both of their small now lifeless bodies. They watched as their mother jumped from the car and ran away. They never saw her again after that day. She still sits in jail.
I had to try to put his pieces back together. I had to listen then and comfort him. Try to explain why we had to handcuff his mother and why she went away. He cried then but then, after a while his tears just stopped. His face lost its emotion. Became cold and almost robotic. I lost track of him for a while and today, today I must find him again.
The cries of the boy as the nurse looks at him rush me back to the here and now. I have to leave, I can’t breathe. I run for now. I will find the other but not tonight. Tonight I need to lie in her arms and cry.
They never come. I fall asleep and they never came. She held me tightly before I slept and I know she would make them go away but they didn’t come. Is it possible to run out of tears? Is it possible that the last straw finally snapped and the now fragile frame of my once whole emotional self finally gave way?
I pray not. There will be others and I still need to care. I still need the tears to come just as a release. Maybe tomorrow they will come. Maybe tomorrow will be different.