I Never Cry

May 16, 2013
Curled up in fetal position with my toes clamped together and my fingers intertwined, under a million red blankets. This is always what I’ve done when I have a shitty day. My very first day of school: It was terrible. I can't remember why now, it just was. When I came home I didn’t sob like most children do, I just pushed past my mom, barricaded myself in my room, and then curled up under the covers. I didn’t sleep, and I didn’t cry. I guess I just…Existed. When my goldfish died I refused to uncurl for three whole days, when my first boyfriend broke my heart I didn’t wail in agony, I merely sought solitude and curled up in a ball…It was always Mom who would come to check on me, try to get me to eat, rub my side, sing to me…Now those days are long gone. Today at my mother’s funeral there is no hiding, no blankets, no bed with red covers, just a sea of friends and family in black and I’m at the head of the wave closest to my mother’s coffin.
They’ve stuffed her into her nicest green floral print dress; no one would believe me when I said she was trying to slim down to fit into it. And they’ve placed her favorite straw hat on top of her head. She looks more like a chubby, pale, sleeping, garden goddess than Mom. Somehow I let slip a small chuckle and instantly five drooping heads lift and turn to look at me with scorn, fear, and confusion. I cover it by coughing and hang my head as if praying. Really I’m just thinking about Mom. How she’d fake laugh for me when I went through this phase where I said I wanted to be a comedian. I used to put on little shows for her and Dad. Dad would give me the old “Uh-huh. Nice.” Then violently flick open his news paper and begin reading. Mom paid attention, laughed, clapped, whistled, the whole shebang. When I moved out Dad was kind enough to help me pack and tell me how much he loved me and how proud he was that I was going to college, but it was Mom who begged me to stay crying and whimpering. Since I was “on my own” whenever I was so down on cash I had to beg it off my parents Dad would refuse saying it was a life lesson that needed to be learn…Then Mom would sneak me envelopes of cash. Not to say Dad was a bad father, he always loved me and cared for me but he didn’t baby me like Mom did…I remember this one time when she picked me up at school she called “my sweet lil’ baby” not only in front of all my friends but also my enemies who we were getting ready to have a showdown with. I was so mad at her I didn’t speak to her for the rest of the day! Abruptly the preacher interrupts my thoughts. “Amen. Abby? Would you like to come up here and say a few words?”
As I look at all the sad, tear stained faces surrounded by black, I feel a pang of stage fright wash over me and settle in the pit of my stomach. Act like you’re talking to Mom I tell myself in my head. So then I look down at her, take a deep breath, but then feel a strange sensation, a familiar one but yet new. Water springs forth and balances on my eye lids, my throat feels as if it’s coated with something, and my nose feels stuffy. “Mom” is the only word I can choke out before I break down into hysterical sobs. Every memory of her flashes right before my eyes and I sink to the floor. A few close friends of mine and my father race up and grab me by the elbows trying to pull me to my feet. But I am limp as a rag doll, to grief stricken to function. “C’mon Abby!” Dad while yanking me too my feet.
My best friend Celeste puts my arm around her shoulder and together they half lead, half drag me out of the sanctuary.
“I’ve never see her cry before!” Exclaims Ivey, my other good friend.
“Me neither!” Answers Celeste.
“Even as a kid she never cried much.” Explains Dad. “Here I know what to do.” Next thing I know I’m on the floor of the coat closet, so I do what I do best; curl up into fetal position. “I know princess, I know.” Dad coos to me softly while my two best friends gape over his shoulder. He takes his red coat off the hanger above me then drapes it over me like a blanket. So he has been paying attention. I think to myself. “Just let her be guys, she’ll be alright in a bit.” Dad says to my friends while rising from his knees. “She’ll be alright in a bit.” He leaves the door open just a crack and ushers my friends away.
So here I am again. Curled up in fetal position, with my toes clamped together and my fingers intertwined under a blanket.

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didi1121 said...
Jun. 9, 2013 at 11:54 pm
This story is absolutly amazing!  I am so sorry for your loss, but if your mother could read this, I bet she would be so proud of you.  The descriptive language and emotion that you have put behind the writing really makes it come to life, and I love how at the end it is as if life has repeated itself in one big circle.  Keep up the great work! P.S. You are incredibly brave for writing this (and screw the kids who were going to make fun of you at school)!
nelehjr This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jun. 10, 2013 at 11:30 am
Thank you so, so, so, much but I have to chuckle because this is actually a fictional peice I typed up on the notepad of my phone! My mother is alive and well and has actually read this...She got rather miffed off because I often kill off the matronly women in my stories and originally this was titled 'Mom'. Thank you so much for the wonderful comment! I didn't really notice the circle thing untl now. Thank you! I'm so very pleased you liked it!
didi1121 replied...
Jun. 10, 2013 at 6:40 pm
Oh!  Well that just proves how good a writer you are (being able to convince me that your mother was dead and what not).  Anyway, I am glad to hear that your mother is alive and well!
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