Crying in Public – I Don’t Recommend It

Like most people, I make it a policy to never cry in public, or in front of anyone at all, but there I am on the subway, headphones in, listening to “Somewhere Only We Know.” And not even the original version by Keane, but the medley by the tv contestants on the Sing-Off, an a capella competition. When Moi comes in singing:

“I came across a fallen tree, I felt the branches of it looking at me”   

in his deeply stirring voice, the bottom of my eyes droop heavy with tears. I just feel so bad for that tree. By the time he gets to the part of the chorus:

“Oh simple thing, where have you gone?
I’m getting old and I need somethin to rely on.
So tell me when, you’re gonna let me in,
I’m getting tired and I need somewhere to begin.”


I am in full blown sobs now. I am sniffling and crying, paying no attention to the fact that I have become the crazy person on the subway. The one that usually leads to me to get up and move to another part of the car. But I can’t help myself. The melody is reverbarating off me, putting to words this unspoken melancholy that I’ve been feeling. “I’m getting old and I need something to rely on.” The tumultuousness of life frightens me. My depression frightens me. My mood is so precarious, hinging on such unworthy things, that I can never really predict how I am going to feel at any given time, or on any given day. I want some core faith to rely on, something that I never question or consider. Something that I know to always be true. I need a fixed point to stare at when I feel myself tossing and turning.    

I get these sometimes, these bouts of soul-crushing depression. The worst part of these dark periods, even more than crying in public, is the feeling that they are never going to end. I start to believe that I will feel this way the rest of my life. That I will never smile genuinely or wholeheartedly ever again.  And if that’s the case, if this heaviness in my chest is never going to go away, than I don’t want to go on. I can’t bear to feel this way forever. I’m just not strong enough.

The subway pulls up to my stop and I shuffle up the stairs with all the other people. It’s raining out and they all pull out their umbrellas. I can’t be bothered. I want to absorb this pathetic fallacy as much as possible. I step out into the rain and let the cold drops trickle down me. My coat becomes damp and my flattened hair sticks to my cheeks. As cheesy as it is, after a couple of minutes, I can’t tell where the rain has stopped and my tears have begun. And in that way, I’m no longer crying in public, really. I sit on a bench outside the subway, taking a moment longer to cloak my sadness in rain.  How long can this go on? How long can I feel this way? “I’m getting tired and I need somewhere to begin.” I feel like I need a fresh page, a rebrith, a Wendy Spring and I don’t know how to do it. I don’t know where to begin.

My phone rings and I force myself to answer it.

“This feeling is going to pass,” my friend promises, “it always passes.”

I know she’s right, even if I don’t feel it. I have to believe it. Soaked to the bone, I get up and begin walking home.

I have something to rely on: this too shall pass.