Men cry. We rarely admit it but we do. Someone recently asked me when was the last time I cried. It was some time ago, but I remembered. I woke from a dream very early in the AM with this weird empathy for the world flowing in me. I felt bad for having a good nights sleep because someone else wasn’t having a good nights sleep. It was like the kids in the sweatshop threw some shaman on the new pajamas I was wearing and I felt their pain in my sleep. It was a very solemn cry. I just sat and let the tears roll down my face in silence. No sobbing or anything. But I felt like Mother Theresa when I was done, and kind of have been ever since. It was life changing. But was it moist? Nope. Before that I hadn’t cried in a year and before that in nearly a decade. I don’t shed tears too often, but when I do, sometimes, I let go a little too much. I’ve bawled and begged and pleaded and pledged. If you measured the pool of water from the tears I shed, then these are my top 10 moistest moments.
1. I share this story in my autobiographical essays on site, but if you haven’t heard, I was extremely traumatized by the Sesame Street movie “Follow that Bird”. In the movie, Big Bird is kidnapped by The Sleaze Brothers Funfair. and taken to a circus where he is dyed powder blue and kept in a cage. Each time the rest of the Sesame Street gang get close enough to rescue the bird, the carnies get one step away. Now, I am 5 fucking years old, and I haven’t quite learned plot lines and climax, so I start bawling on my grandmother couch because I think that Big Bird won’t ever come back and this is the end of Sesame Street. My grandmother had to console me for the rest of the movie, while my father and my uncle called me a pussy and laughed for weeks.
2. Another one from back in the dayzzzz. When I was a kid, my mother kidnapped me. I think I talked about this one before too. Its some tragic shit, but it ends with me leaving my father in a police station, hopping into my aunts station wagon, hours before leaving Chicago and everything I knew for Tulsa Oklahoma and nothing I knew or wanted to know. My mom decided she was tired of Chicago and decided to take us with her. I hated her for it for a long time. I am sure she knew it was coming. I cried for 11 hours. 725 miles straight.
3. When I went to college in Oklahoma, I was a little awkward in my own skin. I grew tall and lanky and because I didn’t have a lot of money, my clothes were pretty used or pretty tight fitting. I was kind of a loner and kind of a rebel and looking for a way in the world, but stuck in Tahlequah, OK. I had a few good friends, and one day I went with my buddy Tasha to see a chick flick, Sweet November. I don’t really remember the scene that set off the waterworks, but when the credits were over, I made Tasha sit with me while I finished my pussy tears. I couldn’t let anyone see me crying.
4. I cry when I do nice things too. Joy makes me moist. I had this basic ass girlfriend my first year at TSU. I think she still hates me. I am okay with that. She got a bit chunky and she was never too bright. I doubt I’ll miss her affection. Anyhow I set up this scavenger hunt on her birthday. I guess it was thoughtful and took some time to plan. I stuck a gift in her mailbox and left a gift with a friend of mine and at her job, etc. and by the end of the night, when I got home, she returned to a candle light dinner. Pimp Shit? Swag? I know – I was there, you don’t have to tell me. But I really just wanted to impress her/make her happy. I guess I didn’t know how deep it would affect her. She starts bawling right then and there and she is grasping on my neck and wrapping her legs around me so damn tight. I guess I’ve never felt loved before then. The next day my guy is telling me how she was happy as a kitten when he gave her clue #2. I had the evening to myself, and just caught myself at home alone reflecting on it all and started to cry tears running down my face to the crevice of a silly ass grin.
5. I cried in jail. It’s not gangster, I know. But I didn’t cry because I was scared. To the contrary. I actually sat on the edge of my bed letting my tears fall free for all around me to see. What scared man does that in jail? I didn’t fucking belong there, and I told them the same thing when they asked. These ignorant ass South 8th and Lischey Avenue ass niggas were sitting back snorting cocaine mixed with Cheetoes (to hide the drug) and I had mid terms in 12 hours. I am not saying I am better than anyone, and I was in jail for a crime I did commit, I guess. But I’ve always felt like the Feds would be the ones to get me, not some fucking beat cop or some petty charges because I couldn’t handle my temper when challenged by some punk ass Knoxville boy. I cried because I was in the system and I knew it. Wasted my fucking semester and i knew it. Fucked up. And I knew it.
6. I cried when I gave my ex girlfriend Brennan her pet dog Brownee. Again, it was one of those tears of joy things. But with this one, I knew Brennan loved me. I cried because it was the first time I had done something sincere for her and given anyone a gift they really wanted and loved. I’ve made her smile many times before and I have given her gifts, but you know how gifts are when guys get what girls don’t like. Those gifts are tacky sweaters, only to be used in cases of novelty. She mentioned wanting a dog around Christmas and I brung it periodically for damn near a year and when her birthday came, I found the first pretty breed I could find and picked her’s out. I had to drive 100 miles to Clarksville to get the pup with the pedigree and the breeder lied and said it would be a smaller size, but she didn’t need to know that. She wouldn’t have cared anyway. I remember how her mom looked at me like, “Why did you bring that dog here?” (she still lived at home- college years) and I was like fuck, now I made her mom an enemy, but after a few months even Brennan’s mom started to come around to Brownee. I am glad I had the balls to do it.To this day, I am still a little pissed that the dog grew to be more than 10 lbs though.
7.When I graduated from college, I was tired, hungover, cranky, and a bit smelly. I partied all night and made it home 20 minutes before I was scheduled to line up for the ceremony. I made it to the line moments before they led the group into the building. I still wonder what happens if you are late for a graduation role call. After three hours of sitting and standing, the loud applause of the families in attendance, and the mounting dehydration from the previous evenings moonshine (Jon Jackson approved!), I would have skipped the dinner after my own graduation if I could have, but my grandmother and brothers and aunts all came down from Chicago and were going off a full nights sleep, so I had no choice but to suck it up and take the day as it came. If you look at my pictures from that day, you can see the stress on my face. I think I smiled in 1/10 graduation picks. Fuck it. I earned it. And when I went home after it was all over, I cried from exhaustion. I cried because it was over and I would have a new beginning. I cried because my family was there to support me as always. But mostly, it was because of exhaustion.
8. One day, I went to the Dallas Museum of Art with my ex girlfriend, Laura, the bitchy one, and a few other pals to celebrate their recent graduation from chef school, but you know, the expensive one. I kind of felt like a pimp because I’m surrounded by three chicks at the Art museum, but then again, that’s basic shit. I love art, but you knew that though. I went to catch this exhibit by Jose Guadalupe Pasado and found a new favorite, The Mourners: Medieval Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy. After the end of the day, I was still affected by intricate carving of their faces, each telling grief in a unique and different way, but each face just as heart piercing as the one before. The exhibit is worth seeing for the sheer accuracy to the human experiences of sorrow and despair. Bravo.
9. My grandfather’s funeral. Both grandfathers are dead and gone, but I let it go last winter when my grandfather Charles passed. I blame my grandmother for getting me worked up and nostalgic before the service, with her talk about the past and how they moved and settled the family on the south side of Chicago. I hadn’t seen my grandfather in a decade. Every time I visited, I made the rounds everywhere but to visit him. I am not sure why. I think I might have felt a bit ashamed to see him because it had been so long and I didn’t visit him after he survived his Aneurysm like everyone else did. At the funeral, his brother and immediate family were a bit upset that we were passing the mic from grand-kid to grand-kid You know how black people are when they are footing the bill. I intended to just say thank you and Amen but I started mumbling instead and before I could control it, I was bawling. Right there in front of everybody. I cried during the whole funeral, but didn’t notice how uncontrollable it became until I was up front and couldn’t speak. Imagine that? Me- Speechless.
10. It’s hard to choose the last one. While I want to give some record to the tears shed when I broke up with the bitchy one, they were alcohol fueled crocodile tears at best. And I don’t feel sad as much as disappointed about that. When I lost my tooth in high school, I managed and was cool, but I cried like a bitch when my flipper (fake tooth) broke and I realized know matter how I hid it, I REALLY was missing a front tooth at age 17. But there was another break up that really gets me sad still when I think about it. When I was in second grade, I had a girlfriend who was the prettiest girl I had ever seen. Shemeal O’Neal (where are you now?) She was cute and smart and the kind of sharp witty girl we all wanted, so she could fight them off if she wanted to, but she let me in and before I knew it, we were walking and talking with each other all the time. All the time during school at least. After school, I couldn’t hang out on the street with her and ride my bike. I didn’t have a bike. And I had to watch my brothers until my mom came home from work around 9 pm. I sat in the windowsill and watched her peddle by and cried, listening to BBD’s “Tell Me When Will I See Her Smile Again”. Whenever I think about girls and heartache and all the bullshit parts of love, I still see this one blazed on the front of my skull. This is the one with the stingy memories. Queue the BBD.
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