The things that make you cry don’t make me cry

The things that make you cry don’t make me cry.
The things that make you cry don’t make me cry.
The things that make you cry are the things that should make people cry, like
the funeral, her sons’ broken faces,
her husband reaching out for something to hold on to
because his grief was so overwhelming he was going to fall;
but the things that make you cry don’t make me cry.
I stand. I watch. My mouth makes a firm line.
I’m not even embarrassed by it any more.
I’ve learned how to stare at a spot in a way that makes me look reflective,
to nod at people quietly, to greet them somberly by just saying their name.
It’s not even remotely difficult.
I’m not blinking back tears. I’m not fighting for breath.
I just don’t feel the pain that you feel.
It doesn’t take control from me;
it doesn’t enter my body like a bullet.

The things that make you cry don’t make me cry.
But don’t suppose that I’m incapable of tears.
Emotion overwhelms me far more often than you might believe:
a thought, a song, a moment in a movie;
it’s always about togetherness or growth in some way,
someone helping someone else, someone achieving a goal;
someone realising a connection for the first time ever;
someone deciding that peace is more important than war
and rejecting the notion that resolving their differences with someone
is a gullible and naive and a weak thing to do.
Someone understanding something for the very first time.
Someone succeeding against all prejudice.
Someone speaking up for equality.
Someone asking why it is they should be expected to think of things in a certain way
and breaking free of a previous habit of thought.
I sit in a private bubble and fight for self-control.
I cannot talk.
I can hardly breathe.
I blink to try to stop the tears from forming.

The things that make you cry don’t make me cry.
But I do cry.
I do cry.

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