top five times I cried in public in 2015

  1. On Halloween I was heartsick in head to toe black and I cried until my chest heaved, then heaved until I vomited between two cars and onto one patent leather shoe because a single moment’s damp eye contact had made astonishingly clear that this pain was not mine alone and that, more than anything else, was unbearable. A little girl dressed as a princess could see me but I only thought, well, and so she should. To smile would have made it only scarier, I was certain, too funhouse mirror horrible to bear, even if I could make my face follow that command. Later I lay on the floor with Stevie Nicks spinning around me and I held my ribcage together with my hands until the salt swam me to sleep.

  2. Every single time I listened to “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman while walking around the grocery store trying to remember what kind of food I like to eat. This happened to me more times than average, but not more than is reasonable or right for a bleeding, feeling human.

  3. I saw the movie Spotlight with my mother and when Mark Ruffalo yelled at Michael Keaton because lots of priests were sexually abusing lots of children in Boston and everywhere and in Boston and they were in Boston and Mark Ruffalo felt angry and ineffectual and he wanted to do something if printing a story in the newspaper is doing something and, well, I cried, not for more than a minute but hard and true so that for the remainder of the film and in the car afterward my body ached, and I felt really weird about it then and I feel weird about it now. I cross myself when I’m nervous but I don’t believe in god.

  4. One night I stopped at Target for tampons and moral support and while pacing in a makeup aisle a Maybelline advertisement featuring indisputable It Girl of the year Gigi Hadid caught my eye and I remembered out of nowhere a clip I had seen from a red carpet interview in which Gigi teared up while speaking about the struggles of her mother, sister, and brother with Lyme disease, and – gazing greedily into her perfect golden face, which had suffered the obligatory sullying from streaks of lip gloss and eyeshadow left behind by the dirty fingers of people testing makeup that’s not even for testing, like, christ, but sang a star spangled banner for me just the same –I teared up too.

  5. In June I walked alone to a chapel where I sat in a pew and waited for Judy Blume. Judy Blume touched my hand and smiled for a picture in which I smiled too. Judy Blume laughed because I told her I was nine years old when I read Summer Sisters and, having written Summer Sisters, Judy Blume knows it’s not for nine year olds. But you understood what you were ready for, she said. So it’s okay. You understood about friendship. About love. Judy Blume wrote, “To Tess Love, Judy Blume” on a book that I was allowed to take home with me. Outside, I sent a series of texts to a woman I had kissed for the very first time not twenty four hours prior, who I had thought about kissing for most of two years, thought rarely of anything else. I told her about Judy. I didn’t wish to be anywhere else in the world than where I was at that moment, except that I wished she was with me. For kissing, to touch my hand that had touched Judy’s hand, to be alive beside me underneath the navy blue sky that is only exactly that spectacular a couple times a summer, and only if you take the time to look. I wished that she was there to hear my fevered story in person but I knew that in the coming days she would be, and I would hear hers, that we would vibrate all our somethings into each other so that we were, neither of us, left again to feel the weight of nothingness. I knew all of this certainly, which is heavy emotional lifting for June. I had tripped headlong into love and high-fived Judy Blume on the way down, and I cried on the sidewalk licking a frozen lemonade in a paper cone because I knew in the soft middle of all my bones that I was incredibly lucky. The next day the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality.

About Tess

Tess is a prickly maybe-writer and aspiring dumb broad who likes vampires, the way cold mornings smell, and women who play guitar. She lives and listens to "Always Be My Baby" on repeat while looking at herself in a mirror in Massachusetts. Her mom is still hoping she'll become a nurse.

One comment

  1. wow. your way with words is astounding. they’re like wolves, really, and you’re running with them. i can feel the heartbeat of your writing all the way to a house in the woods in sweden. good job. keep on keeping on.


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