There were tears along with the chicken fajitas. To be completely honest, I didn’t really understand. I felt odd being the only dry eye at the table, but it didn’t mean I hadn’t enjoyed my week. For five days that summer, I’d attended sessions on poetry and book publishing, hopefully honing my creative voice more with each passing day. The pace was quick and we spent many an hour critiquing each other’s work in the classes. Once someone had passed a sheet of paper around upon which to write our addresses and phone numbers in order to keep in touch, I gladly added mine. They were all very nice people, from all walks of life, bonding over our love of writing.
But I didn’t cry.
I did not sniffle into my salad or declare that I had no idea how I would go on without the others in my life every day. It was Friday and I had met them on Monday. Sure, I’d made friends, several of whom I planned to contact, but to be at a loss as to function without the group? It made me happy to think of a rendezvous with my new friends in a carefree environment like a movie theater or restaurant, free from the constraints of class assignments. Yet my eyes remained tearless.
Was I just cold and unfeeling? I wondered if I should fake it. I’ve known how to cry on cue for years… recently my trigger image was a tragic short story I’d read in Spanish. Just as I was wondering if I should muster up a few tears for good measure, someone at another table stood up.
It was one of the self proclaimed hippies in his signature tie dye tshirt, his long blond hair streaming forward from his matching headband.
“Don’t worry, everyone!” He began to address the room, holding his water glass aloft.
The room grew silent.
He wiped a tear away. “We’ll always be a community!”