Tears That Never Dry: A Story About Loss

Smells like Babylon.

The waiting room was a wall of miserable, silent faces. All were attempting to sneak a peak beyond the expired magazines–trying desperately to size each other up and see who was the merriest whore in the room.  

It was endlessly quiet and crowded. Shamelessness was winking cunningly at each of them, daring someone to lift her head ever so slightly or decisively.  Ah, found one; the girl had a boyfriend in tow.  Bold. 

Besting envy, Lannie tried to humor herself.  “Wow. These are the other trollops I’ll be sharing a hostel within Hades.  We won’t even need icebreakers.  Look at this one.  What a mess.   Hmm.  Can you smother someone to death in Hell?” she thought.   She tried to just sit there, but she couldn’t.  Her mind raced in and out of half-truths, muting her reason for being there.  A name was called, launching an immediate searching of eyes, but she didn’t join them.  She was fixated on the only one who wasn’t watching, the decisive one.  It was the girl with her head resting safely against her boyfriend’s chest, his arms holding her too damn tight.  Lannie tasted hate move dangerously close the tip of her tongue.  A voice called her name a second time. Stung with embarrassment, she quickly left the room–obediently following the woman in scarlet scrubs.


Lannie tried to focus on the shifty, crumpling paper beneath her lower half.  Legs open, belly full, she laid motionless on top of a display table–the bright lights boxing her in completely.  Both the room and his hands shared an eerie chill.  Was it the temperature, or was it her soul leaving her for the heavens, forever done with this damaged vessel?  She was weighted in fear.  The worst was his questioning stare because she couldn’t quite decipher it. He wouldn’t look at her in the eyes long enough to establish comfort or trust. Was he disappointed at her, or was he just tired of so many opened legs thrust wide before him, all with the same fleshy predicament? Perhaps it was his own conscience. Maybe it haunted him like an angry ghost, waiting to terrify nights and destroy dreams.  Certainly that kind of work hadn’t been a part of his life-plan.

“Ouch.  Is he hurting me on purpose?” she questioned.  Lannie wondered if she was sampling punishment.  After what seemed like forever in the dark, the doctor confirmed what was already her truth, never looking into her eyes.  He was done with that part.

The Awakening 

At the center of a large room, the unthinkable began to unfold.  The anesthesia hadn’t been enough, and time was beginning to catch up to Lannie.  Fading back in was awareness.  Slowly she began to see a room and people.  “What?” She felt herself say quietly.   She was beginning to think,…to have questions.  What was going on?  Who were those people?  Then, her mind opened.  It all came pouring in, and Lannie remembered everything.

It was a typical, quiet day in grandmother’s house, but Lannie was in the bathroom mirror staring at a small, swelling body–caught somewhere between fascination and guilt. “My nipples look different.” she thought with great interest.  Were they supposed to be darkening already?  Her body was changing so fast, but hadn’t she only missed one period?  Had there, in fact, been two?  She smiled timidly.

“I think this is a girl,” she wanted to tell him, wanted to share with him, but he had already said, “It’s not up to the guy in these situations.  I’m not ready to be a father, and you’ll either decide to keep it or you won’t.”

“Shit.  Why can’t I remember my last period?” she wished.

Over the following days, desperation began to make an entrance, and Lannie really wanted to talk to someone, especially a doctor.  Yet, with her last name, she knew she’d be found out.  The city was a small place, and you couldn’t walk from one day to the next without someone suffocating you with what he’d heard about so-and-so.  It was already bad enough that she was hiding her sickness and trying not to display emotions at work.  Sharing her unsaintly news might as well have been a billboard portrait of her with “Harlot” written across it. What would her dear students say to her many grueling lectures on abstinence and protected sex?  Hypocrite or human? The principal was her dad’s brother, and her mom worked with both her coworker’s parents and her boss’s boss.  More difficult was that Lannie’s favorite mentor had recommended her for that job.  He’d taught her so much and had always believed in her aptitude even more.  What would he disappointedly discuss with her peers and the other mighty mentors about the amazingly ambitious girl now turned irresponsible adult?

And her dearly beloved sisters.  She had recently gotten into a fist-fight with the oldest’s, man-child of a husband.  His haunting insecurities repeatedly guided his boyish thoughts and decisions further into what often seemed to be closer and closer to infinite darkness.  This time, he had crawled himself directly into the imaginary belief that Lannie called him a bitch; the tantrum that followed was immediately hands on.  Seriously?  Though she had wished to the gods that the word had even been tiptoeing around her mind, in that moment of argumentative subtleties, she had unsuccessfully called him no names.  In his own home?  Never.  However, what actually happened on that most bitching Sunday morning was of no interest to anyone but Lannie.  She’d fought back, and now, in place of clarity, a shadow loomed.

Another sister, “Go-getter of the decade,” literally didn’t have the physical time.  She had been handpicked to be relentlessly amazing, and nothing kept her from her devotion to success.  She was very grounded and strong yet remarkably sensitive when it came to her loved ones; Lannie knew that her sister couldn’t handle the type of distraction that came with that sort of news.  Besides, Lannie was afraid of being judged indirectly by that sister’s beautiful, unwavering soul.

Admitting serpentine indulgence to her younger sister just wasn’t an option because Lannie habitually looked up to her.  Some bright lights in the world just shouldn’t ever be burdened with the platitudinous confessions of ungodly desperation that goes on between older sister’s soiled thighs. Friends could only add haze to Lannie’s confusion; none of them had any children anyway.

“Oh, no.  Grandaddy.” she thought and came undone.

He was such a proud, dignified man and would never look at this “princess” the same.  It was all too much to bear, and time was of the essence.  A decision had to be made.  Lannie sucked in her truth and haphazardly stuffed all of the pain and contemplation behind a terrible shield of cowardice.  Little did she know, that stuffing had begun a slow pushing out of everything she recognized as herself.  Hasty feet had erred on the wrong side of caution, and Lannie would surely come to know the loss of prosperity.

Ships and Icebergs 

And there she was, on a cold table in the center of a dark room.  A lonely survivor trapped in a power struggle with a capsized boat, staring desperately at the mirage of a lush island.  The reality of a closer look confirmed jagged cliffs standing erect within a beckoning ocean, no beach.  Her mind raced forward and backward, forward and back again, but physical movement was impossible.  It didn’t matter what anyone thought anymore, she was sinking. Frightened that she was beginning to lose consciousness again, she surged.  “Please wait.  Wait!  I’ve changed my mind.  Hey!  I’ve changed my mind!” Lannie shouted from a tiny space locked between awareness and her subconscious mind.  She struggled.  Her body screamed pain at a thousand stabbing questions like a drowning third-class passenger begging for one chance to live, brutalized by icy waters in the middle of a black, heartless ocean.  She could see them working diligently in their blue sheets, tucked safely away in their lifeboat.  They were unaffected and not at all vested in her.  She sensed herself growl as determination poured itself into her palms.  She fought hard to get out, to get to them, to claw them to pieces.  Lannie screamed as loud as she could.  Their ears and hearts were without vibration,  but she could feel it.  She could actually feel it.  Why was this happening?  So fast, too fast!  Had she truly chosen this fate? Why can’t they hear me?  Please, help me!  Please!  Suddenly, she was jolted away from her struggle.  There was a tug, and the room just stopped.

When sound came pounding back in, bearing hope, Lannie thought she knew it at once.  She was no longer confined, so she leaped triumphantly.  She soared directly through those barriers of darkness with great power and magnificence, arms and legs marching onward, valiant, but it was too late.  She had lost.  A horrible trick.

Outside of her body, she found herself suspended in air, outstretched arms still grasping for a life, now lost. So easily, so hastily, there had been a tug. Her eyes grew heavy, and she began to fall.


Inside the recovery room, there was a familiar chill.  The noise.  It had remained It followed her there and would never leave.  Loyal.  Such a dizzying sound, it nauseated Lannie, snatching every thought before her mind could hold on to one, but it had stayed with her.  She opened her eyes.  Gingerale.  There was a soothing crunch of red onions and pickle chips on a tuna sandwich with black pepper.  She desperately wanted to think freely, to go back.  However, yesterday was gone, and new routines were no longer relevant.   She would hold onto nothing, and there would be nothing to hold except the noise…and the damage.

Posted by Sabreena Shouts

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