Written by Meg Young
Illustrated by Shelby Kahr
Tonight, my bed is blue. A trembling feeling sends a fog through my room and my breathing slows. There’s a lightness in that moment—the feeling of a feather held between two hands, about to go adrift. The last thing my eyes want to do is lie themselves on the face of another person, to look around in a saturated place and squint from smiling. They want to lay closed, bored under sheets in the dusk of my room. I’m suddenly struck with the thought that I would be content to blacken my fingers with soot and write poems on the walls. My cheeks, soaked with tears like glass, are somehow red and happy. They’re glowing hearths for my sniffling face to grow warm by.
I can’t, in this moment, remember the last time I cried. But I know that this time, there’s a newness and refreshment I’ve been poorly missing. I feel like my own California in the wake of El Niño after months of drought; suddenly nourished and allowed to feel all the things the dams of my mind have prevented. Because when I cry, it’s after the wood of those dams has finally splintered, and once the flood begins, it grows and creates branches with each step. Crying has a way of doing this—of opening up doors you thought you’d forgotten. What begins as the aftermath of a simple verbal brawl becomes your first heartbreak, and social frustrations, and everyone you miss. It is the literal flushing out of feelings, moving across each piece of your mind and manifesting into tangibility. It’s taking down all the posters on your wall and inspecting each one, remembering how you used to stare at it and believe in it; wondering why you stopped. That’s why it’s such a conundrum, I suppose. Crying gives your unconscious a chance to move forward and become more. It’s no wonder we’re so afraid to feel publicly; feeling suggests unpredictability. Turbulence.
Before now, I haven’t been able to cry much at all. I recently started taking Prozac to fight anxiety and depression, and, as my emotions attempted to level out, crying became obsolete. But all the feelings were still there—the pressure building inside a closed room, waiting to burst. Except, the doors would never open to let anything out. The pressure kept building. So now, sitting in a pool of emotions separate from my mind, I feel good. Good, because I can see every feeling. They’ve been laid out on my bed covers, illustrated in saltwater, tinted with the run from my nose. They’re sitting there, glowing in the dark. Some of them are smiling at me, others are still crying, a handful sit blankly staring ahead. All these feelings, interacting and making new concoctions for me to witness. I cry because I see them sitting there, apart from me, and I realize I don’t control them. I wonder if I ever will. I cry because there is so much feeling that I couldn’t ever possibly lay it all out onto my bed. I cry because I only see what the river picks up along the way, so it seems I only truly, fully check in on myself when the floods come. That hurts to think about.
But I’m glad the floods come at all, and I’m glad that my sadness relates back to my happiness. I watch my fingers trace the skin on my opposite palm, wiggling them around to remind me how alive and real I am. The night is so young, and here I am, watered and ripened by my own feeling, waiting for it to grow old.
As I sit here in the aftermath of my own entropy, I stare across the bed at an abandoned bowl of grapefruit. It rests dusty-rose-hued in the darkness of my room, glowing the way yellow drips from windows when the day dies and the night turns young. When I take a bite, my tongue puckers, and I realize the bittersweetness of the pulp is no less beneficial or real than the tears running down my face. I can hear my own stifled sniffs as I swallow another bite and my tears mix with its sweetness. Tears are medicine, I decide, and I am healing.
The room turns turquoise as my phone illuminates. "Want to come over?" My face reflects the screen’s light and my mouth fills with the citrus taste of a resurrection.
"On my way."
Meg Young is a 17-year-old freelance writer from San Diego who likes analyzing screenplays and acting like a witch in her free time. You can keep up with her and her writing on Instagram.