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Instructions to cry

Short story

By Cecilia Maria CimminoPublished 4 months ago 4 min read
My drawing, on photoshop (2023)

Before I knew you, empty

was my chest.

Before I loved you,grim

was my world.

With immensity

you gifted me with your strength.

I did not cry anymore, if not

tears of joy.

While I was going through my grandfather’s old photo album, I found this poetry, written with a beautiful handwriting and framed by an handmade flower pattern.

The massive tome was resting on my thin legs as my hands were touching every page with the utmost attention, like I was searching for something that could have gave me the strength to cry.

Even if I was only a child and I had recently lost my beloved grandfather, I could not shed a single tear.

My parents were surprised by my reaction to the news.

«Oh...I see.», I whispered, my eyes lowered to avoid crossing theirs, before I resumed having fun with my fantasy games like nothing happened. But inside me, deep in my heart, laid a volcano just waiting to explode.

Frightened by that feeling, I preferred to ignore it, deluding myself with the thought that my grandfather only went on a long journey and that I would see him again sooner or later.

Now, the morning before the funeral, I was in his small studio that smelt like chocolate.

My grandpa loved four things more than anything else: sweets, cuckoo clocks, photography and my grandmother.

At the time there were many things I could not understand about him, like how caring he was as father and how unique and special he was as a granddad.

I took his love for granted and inside me I knew I could not forgive him for disappearing so suddenly, without a word of comfort or a goodbye.

This is what I felt: anger and disappointment. Feelings that made me want to scream at the top of my lunghts.

But there was something blocking me, namely a heavy and unbearable sense of guilt.

The chasm in my chest was filled with anger, disappointment and guilt.

I abandoned him.

When I realized he got sick, I turned my back on him, pretending nothing was happening, pretending he did not exist.

And now, sitting in his big armchair, surrounded by clocks ticking as they were singing a solemn chant, what was left me of him was that poetry.

I was certain that in it I would have found the key to unlock my feelings. I was not fully aware of it, but those were my instructions to cry.

Before I knew you, empty

was my chest.

Now that I lost my grandpa, I felt empty, too. But at the same time, I was feeling like I was on the verge of exploding and I was afraid of this. I did not know what would have happened, what I would have done and what others could have thought about me.

Me, always so careful to not draw attention to myself.

I knew my grandpa since I was born and now that I lost him I became empty.

But, as I was brushing the rough paper with the photo of the marriage attached just under the poem with my fingers, I realized something.

My grandpa was still in my mind and in my heart. Until I’ll keep him in my memories, he will never disappear.

This trivial revelation led me to read the next part very carefully.

Before I loved you, grim

was my world.

This was difficult to understand at that age.

What’s love?

I could not give myself a valid answer because it was something too big to describe.

Besides, I did not know the meaning of the word ‘’grim’’ but it surely sounded ominous so I associated it with negative emotions.

I took a little chocolate egg from the bowl on the desk and I began to ponder while I was chewing it very slowly, savoring its sweet taste.

My granddad loved me because he made me laugh, he always gave me presents and he was always by my side. He was my best friend. My world was less grim thanks to him.

My cheeks started to burn and I felt something in my throat.

I read the next passage.

With immensity

you gifted me with your strength.

This one was easy.

I did not have friends at school. I did not have friends at all. My peers always bullied me and I spent my time alone, hidden somewhere so they could not find me.

No one was aware of this because I never told anything to anyone and the teachers told nothing to my parents; probably it wasn’t an a matter important enough for them.

But every time I knew I would have gone to my grandfather’s home in the afternoon, I was happy. Even when I was ridiculed and beaten, I smiled, because I knew he would be there to welcome me.

This was my immense joy and my strength.

My eyes were red and my heart beat furiously.

I missed him, I missed him infinitely.

I needed him.

What could I have done, alone?

I did not cry anymore, if not

tears of joy.

First question that crossed my mind was: «How can you cry for happiness?».

But deep inside me I already knew the answer.

I always thought that crying was a manifestation of sadness. But this was very reductive; you can cry for basically everything. Back then I did not know this but I would learn it soon enough.

What I could manage to think was that if I cried tears of grief my grandpa, somewhere in heaven, would have cried, too. And this was not what I wanted.

I felt the time was right and in the same instant anger, guilt and fear disappeared.

Immense love and a lukewarm sadness took their place.

Then I started to cry liquid joy. Like rivers, the tears flowed on my red cheeks and I stood like that, holding close to the photo album, sobbing until I fell asleep.

I dreamt I was with my grandfather.

There was nothing to forgive, nothing to fear.

He was there with me.

Short StoryPsychologicalfamily

About the Creator

Cecilia Maria Cimmino

Hello, I'm Cecilia, an Italian writer and artist.

I like write long and short novels. My stories are especially of genre: sci-fi, horror, gothic, fantasy and psychological.

For all my social links: CLICK!

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  • Test3 months ago

    Wonderful writing and a wonderful story!s

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