Never Again-That Night his crying
He used to hug me and cry about how everyone saw that side of him. How no one knew who he really was. Sobbing for hours he'd soak my shoulders with fears that no one knew or cared that it was all an act and he needed people to know how unhappy he was beneath the painted on smile and the big nose.
It was his shoes that got to me. Gingerly taking them out of a box he'd treat them as the soul of his happy self. Gingerly he'd handle them. I thought he was afraid of them. He paid utmost care and attention to them, as if they were glass, the only doorway he had to happiness, and the very thing that trapped him in a world of pain. He wanted to break them, feared them, was afraid to hurt them. Yes those shoes housed his other soul. As soon as he put them on, with their squeek-squeak-honk as only over-sized clown shoes can do. He went through the most sudden and strange transformation. From melancholy faucet of depression, tears and anger to bubbly wistful and laugh-factory.
It was a cold and moon less night. the shoes were in their box. He asked me to dance. We chased each other around town. I remember the wind blown jacket and wondered at something he said "you can't spell slaughter without laughter..." It didn't scare me at the time. But he did scare me, from time to time. Progressive his crying fits got more violent. I could hear him build himself into a rage. I knew when he was upset.
When the crying stopped I used to think how nice it was that he finally started getting over it. I was wrong. When there wasn't much else left to break in the house, I thought maybe he'd gotten it out of his system. I was wrong. When those shoes squeaked I knew I didn't have anything to fear until they came off. They squeaked as he paced and danced like Bo Jangles. They honked as he jumped and did hand-stands walking on the ceiling. Buand when the came off he'd cry or rage. But one night they came off and it was quiet. Silence, I learned, is the scariest thing of all. I thought He might be sneaking up in me with a knife or something. I was wrong.
I learned I was the weak one. I should have let him cry night after night. But when we started fighting, when hands were for something other than soothing, I withdrew. I decided I couldn't help him any more. I should have taken all he had to let go of. It's better than his crying and much better than silence.