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E.P. La Brecque

We lived long enough to see the age when those in power outlawed the existence of tears. Certainly, they themselves grew unused to shedding them. You would think the rest of us would have risen up. But that didn’t happen. Too many other things jostled for our attention. We learned to shutter the feelings that brought tears, at least when it came to others. In time, we lost even the ability to shed tears for losses that were ours alone. The spouse abandoned by a partner, the lover plighted to a body bag, the parent bereft of a child: You might see them at night, should you pass by a picture window, sitting still and alone at the end of a long sofa. Or by day, ponderously lowering themselves to rest on the wide stone brim of the water fountain in the plaza. They were the weak ones, the ones who still believed they really ought to grieve, if only they could find their way back to what it felt like to care. The best, everyone agreed, never embarrassed themselves like that, never felt the need. My old friends, the few of us left who still read books and held ideals, would grip the table legs of the cafe in silent rage. We’re not even the same species, Czeslaw would say angrily, just loud enough for me to hear. Then he’d fire up a cigar. Someone would come from behind the counter and ask him to put it out. Fuck you, he would say. It’s the only thing that keeps me sane. Weirdly, no rejoinder ever came. Afterwards, we would drive out to Helen Putnam Park past the edge of town, climb to the remote ridges. We would lay face up in the soft autumn rain, shout and weep for our stillborn future. Did you do that thing again where you go to the hill? my middle daughter asks me when I return home, late and soaked, an oak leaf or two still clinging to the back of my coat. What it’s to you? I say. Gross, she remarks, gliding out of the kitchen.

E.P. La Brecque is a writer and essayist who divides his time between Northern California and Detroit. By day he works as a brand strategist and namer. His work has appeared in

On The Run and The Fabulist, as well as in Switch. At the moment he is writing this, he is in Danville, Virginia to work on projects for the city's public schools, historical society and comprehensive plan.

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