I need to start pocketing tissues for these girls who shouldn’t shed tears.
It seems to be happening too often these days. Like someone is lining them up along my path to class and asking me to dish out It’s Gonna Be OKs and Don’t You Worry, Darlings for all these sad souls.
And I don’t even know why they’re crying. Don’t even know why the tears are littering their cheekbones. All I know is that it’s too much.
Too much for the library bathroom stall next to mine. Too much for the snotty mess of I’ve Just Got A Cold that keeps cropping up every time I enter an empty restroom.
Every time I’m least expecting a puddle of tears and a bucket of I’m Sorrys, she’s there.
She’s standing at the sink now, blowing her nose like she’s fine, just fine. But I know she’s not supposed to be in here at all. Not supposed to be stringing misery along like it’s a dog she keeps walking because her neighbors paid her while they’re on vacation.
It’s a funny feeling, this happiness that sits in my stomach while everyone around me is drudging up memories of vocabulary terms learned in January and geometry proofs memorized over spring break. It feels wrong, so very wrong, to be singing behind ear buds to my very own Pandora station.
The soundtrack of my life. Playing softly in a silent library. One story above this sniffling girl.
One story past this crying in public restrooms. Two chapters later. A couple thousand words beyond Goodbye, Goodbye, I Don’t Think I Love You Anymore.
But my time here is not long enough to place pick-me-ups along her daily route. On the bus seat she always slides into. On the desk her elbows sometimes lean upon. On the library shelf her fingertips trace as she searches for the book with all the answers.
The book to reset her broken heart. The essay to reaffirm her shaken soul.
I know she won’t find what she’s looking for in this library. Won’t want to listen to the same Pandora station anymore. Might need a mixtape that sounds a bit like mine.
Happy. New. Reassured.
Maybe a handful of brightly-colored tissue packs to pair with it, stuck in places she always visits. The side pocket of her Jansport back pack. Her bedroom desk drawer. Her shower caddy and linen closet.
Leave her a few tissues and bright words where she least expects it.
It is a hard lesson, learning the time is dwindling on this proactive approach to bridging others’ heartbreak with my own words.
But I know this – someone else will be in the adjacent bathroom stall next time, and she will surely know what words this brokenhearted girl needs to hear.
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