The Storm

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Minute prickling sensations told her they were coming, but she ignored them and went on with her homework. She was ready for a flood, a storm, whatever would come her way. Ten minutes later she stopped. The release she had expected hadn’t come. Was there something wrong with her? She never cried in public, but within the comfort of her room, only a calculus book and a cat to console her, she didn’t mind letting it go.

Sally was trying to chat with her on Facebook. Ignoring the tedious related rates problems, she switched her focus to the laptop perched precariously on the corner of her desk. An hour slowly passed, and her mother’s knelling voice called her down for dinner. The rain wouldn’t trouble her in the presence of her mother, father, and brother. She was safe for now.

Returning to her room, the prickles returned. Now they were more like needles poking into the corners of her fatigued eyes. She wasn’t tired; she was wide-awake now that nine o’clock had passed. But her eyes hurt. Strange, since she hadn’t been staring at a computer screen or reading that much. Maybe she was tired. Again, expecting a storm, she picked up her homework.

After 11 o’clock, she gave up on her eyes. Maybe they weren’t as reliable as she had come to expect. Maybe what she had going on in her brain had nothing to do with her tear ducts. Or maybe she didn’t care anymore. She settled into bed, wishing for a good night’s sleep. But one thought persisted – she had dried up.

If she couldn’t cry, she couldn’t feel. And if she couldn’t feel, she couldn’t love. So where was she then? She squinted as hard as she could, trying to make the tears swell and drip salty relief down her face. She thought about her horrible day, her horrible life, her fights, her disappointments, her dad’s affair with Mrs. Withers. But she couldn’t even get the prickly feeling back. She was a lost cause.

Five weeks later, two weeks after her parents filed for divorce, she sat down to do her homework. She bawled like a baby.





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