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I never learned to cry with style, silently, the pearl-shaped tears rolling down my cheeks from wide luminous eyes, as on the covers of True Love comics, leaving no smears or streaks. I wished I had; then I could have done it in front of people, instead of in bathrooms, in darkened movie theatres, shrubberies and empty bedrooms, among the party coats on the bed.
His crying was both ferocious and noisy. He blinked briny tears from bloodshot eyes, his thick lashes stuck together in clumps as if he'd been swimming. The tears made wet tracks down his face and dripped from his stubbled, wobbling chin. Clear watery snot streaked from his flaring nostrils down his red mottled skin to his open quivering lips. His hands open and closed, rhythmically clenching as if there could be some violent solution to his pain if only he could find it.
I've seen the movies, and the shows. They never truly cried. From what I have seen when someone cries it's not pretty. Their eyes swell and turn red. They are unable to speak, unable to breath, nothing. The world around, becomes a blur of color that melts to gray. The weight in their chest and locks in their throats. The pain in the back of the mind the comes forward by the slightest reminder. A small token of sorrow and misery. Of course we can't forget the tears. Small crystal beads that trail down the cheeks to the neck, and the chest. Only to melt into the cloth they wore or to fall off their pouting lip.
A single tear slid down from his warm, butterscotch eyes, followed by another one, and another one, until soon, a steady stream of salty tears flowed it's way down his pale cheek, releasing the sadness and sorrow that has been held inside of him for all this time but still he did not make a sound. At the same time, a girl with deep, blue eyes, let out a heart wrenching wail, that was followed by a series of blatant tears. One would ask. Is it better to rack your body with noisy sobs and let the world know of your pain, or to slowly release your emotion within yourself with silent tears?
Dry racking sobs, tear-stained, blotched, mottled skin, puffy eyed, bleary eyed, nose running, blowing nose, distraught, great heaving sobs, intense, crying in abject misery, silent tears rolling down her cheeks, devastated, pink eyes, red in the face, seemingly endless flow of tears.
First, her nose grew very red at the tip; then, her small mouth screwed itself around by her left ear; gradually, her round face wrinkled till it resembled a withered crabapple; and finally, if one listened intently and watched closely, one could hear small sniffs and see two infinitesimal drops of water issue from the nearly closed and wrinkled eyes.
When he cried there was a rawness to it, like the pain was still an open wound. He would clasp onto something for support, anything, a table or the back of a chair, and then his whole body would shake. The sobs were stifled at first as he attempted to hide his grief, then overcome by the wave of his emotions he would break down entirely, all his defences washed away in those salty tears. When he at last turned his face to Teela he was a picture of grief, loss, devastation. It was the face of one who had suffered before and didn't know if he could do it again. Then, just when she thought the breakthrough would come and he would trust her with his vulnerability, the shutters would come down, his emotion walled off behind a mask of coping. He would just wear it until everything was right again, he didn't know another way.
He would describe her crying in the most skeptical terms. He would say that she turned the tears on, was crying on cue, or weeping crocodile tears. Always, faced with such hostility and callousness she would hold her in her hands and dissolve into a puddle of tears.
I stumbled to where I guessed Ari sat in the darkness of our new home, and sank down beside the whispering, weeping figure. “Hey, Ari… Are you okay?” I idiotically blurted. She was clearly NOT okay. Ariadne raised her hand, ghostly in the firelight, and wiped the tears pouring from her eyes away from her cheeks. The tears under her pale pink mask however were another matter. She stuck her fingers under the edges and wiggled them around a bit, slapping away my hands when I tried to help her. As soon as she had cleared her tears away, a fresh torrent bust forth. Her body was wracked with great sobs and she shook like a leaf. I pulled her to my chest where she stayed until her crying subsided. When she finally looked at me, her beautiful brown eyes were swollen and sore.
My eyes were burning and my chest felt heavy as if it were filled with lead. I could no longer see clearly. All I knew was that she was gone, out of my life for possibly forever. Alone in a field I stood up and reached out my hand so that I could clearly see it, there were no markings at all. She was gone. Forever. A drop of water fell onto my hand I looked to the sky and even though the sky had been grey and looked like it was about to break into a heavy downpour, not a drop came from the sky. Looking down at my hand again another drop appeared and I realized that the liquid was coming from my eyes.
Now red, tear-rimmed eyes stared back at me, with watery streaks falling down my freckled face. I smoothed my now chaotic hair and wiped the tears from my cheeks which were now blotchy and mottled. My whole face was now washed with a dull red, including the very end of my nose
The old woman just sat, sat and listened to the tale of her granddaughter, Tabi. Times had changed so much and so little. The technology was all different but the tale was the same. High-school was awesome for the “in” kids and hell for the rest. She raised a withered hand and stroked Tabi's back softly like she was a kitten. She felt the heaving and shaking through Tabi's union-jack t-shirt. Her eyes were red, puffy and snot streamed clear from her nose. The old woman passed a tissue before speaking in her slow and measured voice. “You have one good friend, Tabs, that's good. It's all most folks can hope for. Teenage girls can be very cruel. They can hate you for being too pretty, too smart, too popular with the boys, looking different, being fat, and just because they want to pick on someone. We all love you and school doesn't last forever. In a few years they'll be out of your life and we won't. Then you can make mature friends, ones who aren't raging bags of hormones.”
Crying had always been a healthy release, but for Cara it was a habit now. The blue feeling washed in like an unwanted wave, knocking her sandcastles flat. Then what? Was she supposed to construct them again? Get that bucket and spade out and make it pretty all over again? She sat. No more building, no more castles. She sat and stared out of the window, more tears, no surprise there. She let them fall, not raising a hand to stop them. They splashed down onto the couch in a rain-like pattern and soaked in leaving dark splotches on the coffee coloured fabric. There was more where that came from, what percentage water was she anyway? Less than a cucumber but certainly enough to cry for hours. And what then? Then she'd drink another glass of water and start all over again.
When the tears weren't even half way done Dana was empty. She couldn't have cried even if she wanted to. She hadn't experienced this feeling before. The sadness was still there, but not raw anymore – now it was an empty unhappiness - the kind she didn't think would easily lift. She felt like Simon could surprise her with the cutest kitten on earth and she wouldn't feel a thing. She stared around her as if she was in a pit. Her surroundings were exactly the same, but they gave her no emotion. How could that be? She needed emotion to feel alive, to feel love.
Crying is how I understand myself best. When I cry I know who I really am. I cry when others hurt as well as myself. I cry at the brutal world news and stupid soft movies. It's my strength and my weakness. Strong because it brings understanding and weak because who wants the listener to weep when they are looking for a strong shoulder? I wish I could turn my tears off, I do. Or perhaps just save it until I'm alone, but I'm not wired like that. My emotions swirl like ocean currents, deep and strong. Sometimes I'm scared to dive in incase I don't make it out again, but I can't be anyone else, I don't suppose any of us can.
Leon followed the sound of the sobs. Lucky for him Gayla always cried like there was a gale inside her fighting to get out. He sat on the damp pavement right next to her and followed her gaze to the moon, saying nothing. She wiped her nose with her sleeve and glanced his way. “I always fail, Papa. Always. Why do you even bother?”
“Gayla, I was there when you came into this world. I know you, the real one inside, not the one you show the world. You're beautiful.”
“But I rage, I get angry, I forget what you said and I mess up all over again.”
Leon held her gaze, “I love you and that will never change. You are human like the rest of us and you make mistakes. You will continue to make them too, as do I. But what's so special about you is that you own them, feel the hurt and force the pain to make you better.” Gayla's sobs had ebbed to a trickle and she took Leon's hand. He gave it a gentle squeeze and together they walked back into the house.
When I cry it's never a trickle and it never starts in my eyes. It begins as a feeling in my chest and a sadness in my brain. The leaking water is only a blessed release, it's one way my body chooses to cope and I guess it's a way to communicate too, whether I want to or not.
I was jerked awake to violent shaking from next to me. I rub my eyes, not really sure why I got up in the first place. The violent jerking made me finally look down. Brandon was curled up into a ball, shaking. His breaths were uneven and hitched occasionally. He sometimes sniffled which brought me to the conclusion that he wasn't just having a bad dream.