By Cherimie Crane Weatherford
Like a gentle spring rain, a sudden summer downpour and the anticipated onset of a pending storm, most women fall into specific crying categories. Situational tears, conversational tears and the extraordinarily complex Oprah tears vary as widely as the shoes in our closets. As unique and telling as a fingerprint, each woman sheds salt water only she can shed. Few commonalities bridge the shed waters from woman to woman; typical tears are understood exceptions. Weddings, babies, bad hair days, monthly visitation and onions, are universal precursors to typical tears. Typical tears may fall without explanation or paper products. Kleenex is reserved for the spring rain and downpours, anything within an arm’s reach; sleeves, sheets, pillow cases even one’s own hair is perfectly acceptable absorbers in life’s sudden storms.
Unlike many women who rise from the puddles of tears looking like Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly, I join the ranks of those who could easily be confused with a wildebeest or a recent escapee from a rubber room. Obviously, I do my absolute best to reserve this spectacle for private moments, however, as all things, it doesn’t always happen as planned.
When caught in an unpreventable storm in the company of others, I feel certain the innocent bystander is questioning whether to hand me a Kleenex or a card to a skilled plastic surgeon. It isn’t make-up smudge, as that requires actual make-up. It isn’t delicate tear stains. It is the impressive swelling of the eyes, the luminous lobster tone of my moistened skin and the ever adorable running of the nose, easily confused with running of the bulls, but more hazardous and less containable. It is a Monet of monumental mess.
Maybe it stems from a childhood of being surrounded by so many females. Possibly I developed this astonishing attention grabbing skill out of necessity. In an environment with so many tears, one must find a mode of survival; hence the wildebeest.
Recently I was caught in such a predicament without an escape route or an explainable cause. It is said there are seven wonders of the world, when in fact, there are eight. Not one woman alive can explain exactly why such storms seem to occur in the isles of grocery stores, pumping gas, or even during a construction meeting to discuss solidity of a home in regards to hurricanes. When the damn breaks, the darn thing breaks; soaking all in its path.
In the middle of an explanation wind resistance and foundation heights the damn holding the Cherimie River gave way. Could be the long hours at work, the longer distance from family and the even longer time it seems to be taking to blow dry my hair. It is anybody’s guess really. I’m not a strategic crier, certainly not a master manipulator of perfectly timed tears. Never have I been a cute crier, a precious purveyor of pity or even a delicate damsel with darling little tears. No mam, when my damn breaks it is blowfish meets the Strawberry Shortcake.
Perhaps, it is the self-taught skill of strong women to withhold years of typical tears. Maybe we have a limit to our reserve. Those poor unsuspecting souls thought it was a construction meeting. Surely they were a wee bit surprised at my emotionality over concrete and windows. What can I say, I am passionate about plaster.
You can’t un-ring a bell, and my bell rang as if it was dinner time. Tears fell for a job that constantly requires the impossible, a vacuum that will never have a long enough cord and hair that has only one mission in life; to do that which I do not want it to do. I cried for lack of choice in politics, lack of muscle in my arms and lack of fat free cupcakes. The tears just kept coming. Tears for a dog that only chews red shoes, a husband who can name every fish in the sea but can’t pick up a wet towel to save his life and for twist ties that never twist right after the first go!
Regardless of the slight awkwardness of the entire ordeal, just as the conclusion of all storms, the clouds parted, the swelling eventually subsided and my nose had nowhere left to run. I continued discussing the dimensions of rooms, the stability of foundation and the quality of construction. Of course there are stronger beams than others, more secure fastening than some, and windows can only withstand a certain mile per hour wind. When a storm comes and it will come; the proper preparation, a solid foundation and Kleenex shall get them through. If not, the rubber room is always an option. Meeting adjourned.
By Cherimie Crane Weatherford