From the Sky - Part XVIII

I cried after Gio cut down the honey locust, because that signaled the death of my childhood. I cried again after the jet engine fell on his house.

And sometimes I cry because of my mother and the callous way she vanished from my life. Oh, I've tried to forbid myself from crying over her, but there are times she still gets the better of me.

So except for these and a few other rare occasions I've managed to keep from crying over the years. I used to worry that the tears I'd bottled up lay deep within my heart, waiting to erupt and drown me. I was right, as it turns out, but more about that in a little bit. Now isn't the time.

I do know that most folks aren't like me when it comes to crying. I also know people at the other extreme as well, people who can blubber at will. My friend Tessa, she's like that. She cries when she sees pictures of stray cats in SPCA commercials. She cries when she sees that poor old woman on Mulberry Street, the one who pushes a grocery cart full of cans to the scrapyard a couple times a week. She cries when a contestant loses on one of those idiot television talent shows. She even cried once when the strap of her purse broke. We were at the counter in the Burger Shack when it happened, and she immediately burst into tears. Everyone behind the counter stopped working and watched as Tessa held her broken purse tightly to her chest and sobbed. Tears poured down her cheeks.

"Who gave it to you?" I asked. I was certain it was a precious gift from her husband or perhaps her parents.

"I bought it at the mall," she sobbed. "But it's my favorite!"

It was a six dollar bargain store purse. Who cries over such things?

"Your shoes have scuff marks," I said. "Are you going on suicide watch?"

"My shoes? What's wrong with my shoes?" she gasped, fresh tears bursting from the corners of her eyes. She took them off and plopped them carelessly up on the stainless steel counter for inspection, knocking an order of onion rings from a waiting serving tray. The little bits of deep-fried heaven scattered all across the counter, and a pair of them escaped over the edge and fell to the floor.

A miserable-looking man wearing a dirty red baseball cap was at the counter next to me. "Hey," he yelled to the manager who was already headed, full steam, towards the counter, "If that's my Bonzo Burger Meal she just destroyed, I want another order of rings. Don't scoop those up and try to slip them back in the box. They're contaminated now. God knows where this idiot's feet have been. What if she was tramping through the gutter? We'll all get the cholera. You better sterilize this counter. And I want my onion rings for free, too!"

I was tempted to make him the second fellow I assaulted in the Burger Shack.

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