Cry Me an Ocean (Story #8)

I think it’s pretty common knowledge that hair can weep from time to time—hair being the most sensitive part of the body and all.  Of course, when Ocean was a kid, hardly anyone knew that.  They just assumed that people sweat a lot.  In Ocean’s case, even that seemed unlikely though.  His hair wept more than anyone else’s, which meant that his hair was always dripping all over everything, which meant he wasn’t exactly what you’d call popular at school.  Though some of his classmates assumed it was sweat, by and large, they believed it was something ickie, like grease or oil or some kind of liquidy hair product.

Now, though it’s true that tears passing through hair can often times seem greasy or oily even, it was neither in the case of Ocean.  He was no super-hero, we should say that from the start.  But he did have a special ability.  Just by looking at a thing, he could sense its story.  More specifically, he could sense what emotion caused the thing to come to be.  (Sadly, back in his time, he found that most things were caused by sadness.)  You name it, even common things had sad little histories: a crack in a sidewalk was caused by a tree’s branch trying unsuccessfully to be free.  A happy-face balloon floating above meant a child, who for some reason let go of its string, was crying somewhere.  Even the heart-shaped stain that appeared on his school wall when he was in the 5th grade, even that had a sad story.  (In fact, the stain had a doubly sad story because it was made by a sad old janitor who had to use smelly and sad paint to cover up a spray-painted heart made by an even sadder young man who was in love with a girl who didn’t love him back.  The girl, by the way, was not sad in the least.)

As he got older, Ocean tried to explain his talent to his parents.  They were, as you can imagine, concerned about their child’s weepy hair.  They didn’t think it was oil, though the idea did cross Ocean’s father’s mind from time to time.  His mother, however, being more sensitive herself, knew better, but she was at a loss.  This caused a lot of sadness in Ocean’s house (and a lot of puddles.)  After a while, his father couldn’t stand it.  He was bald, for one thing, which didn’t make him insensitive, but it made it hard for him to express his grief in a way that his wife or Ocean could understand.  So he started yelling:  “Wear a hat, boy, for goodness sake.”

Ocean tried to listen to his father, but he had a lot of hair and there were so many sad things out in the world.  His father looked on as Ocean ruined hat after hat.  He put Ocean in a helmet, then a swimming cap, but nothing worked.  Haircuts didn’t work either.  He’d taken Ocean to countless barbershops, and the result was always the same: the barber would pull him to the side and tell him that he couldn’t help and point to scissors that had rusted shut.

By the time Ocean was in high school, his father was at wit’s end.  His wife’s hair was always weepy now, which meant their bed was almost always wet, which meant he couldn’t sleep vey well.  And Ocean’s hair was so long that it was almost dragging along the floor, which was a hazard, or at least it was quickly on its way to becoming one.

Ocean’s father had to act decisively—that much he knew.

Ocean tried to tell his father that the problem wasn’t physical; it was his feelings.  So finally after not listening to his son, as some fathers are want to do, he did listen.  Ocean needed a feelings doctor, which is how he and his father ended up in Dr. Wehr’s office.

Dr. Wehr, like Ocean’s father, was bald, but even more so—the man had absolutely no hair on his body.  No hair on his head, none on his face, or arms or legs.  He didn’t even have eyebrows.  Ocean’s father approved of this (though in truth he was a little freaked out by the eyebrows, or lack thereof. )  He also approved of Dr. Wehr’s furniture, which he noticed was made out of something that seemed a lot like rubber and which was super-absorbent.  “Yes,” the doctor said after noticing Ocean’s father’s smile, “I had my chairs especially made for children like your son.  Can’t ever be too careful or dry, for that matter.”

Ocean, unlike his father, was not pleased by the doctor.  Though Dr. Wehr had a smile on his face, and lots of sunlight came into the office, and though there were bright pictures of smiling children on the wall, Ocean could only see Dr. Wehr’s sad history—how the doctor had once been a scared little boy covered in thick, weepy hair.

“I have just the thing for your son,” Dr. Wehr announced.  He was now holding a pair of clippers in his hands.  “They are rust-proof.”

Seeing this, Ocean’s mother was concerned and his father was enthusiastic, but Ocean, surprisingly, did not really have an opinion one way or another.  The more he looked at Dr. Wehr, the more sadness he felt.  His hair was now like a raincloud and he couldn’t hear anything over the downpour.  The doctor was the saddest person he’d ever seen.  Sadder than the sad school janitor who’d lost his wife to Cancer.  Sadder than the tree whose roots had been snipped by an even sadder gardener whose son was being deported.  Sadder even than his father who was so sad that he didn’t know what to do with himself.

As a result, within a few minutes, there was water everywhere.  Ocean’s hair wept and wept and there was no stopping it.  Inches became feet, which turned into miles.  Salty, blue water soon covered everything, which ironically is why Ocean’s hair stopped weeping.  You see, all that water wiped everything sad from sight.  There was only blue and the sun and the sky overhead.  But more to the point of this story, as Ocean looked on at his folks and the good doctor, each of them seated in their floating rubber furniture, it was the first time in his life that his hair was dry and his heart was happy.

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Tags: , , , ,

Categories: fiction

Author:the circular runner

g. martinez cabrera currently lives in San Francisco with his lovely and talented wife. He holds degrees from Columbia and from the Harvard Divinity School where he spent three years thinking about lofty things. Since then, he tries to write some lofty and some not-so-lofty things down so others can see how lofty he sometimes is. When he’s not writing or spending time with said wife, he tortures young people with learning. He blogs at www.circularrunning.wordpress.com and Tumbls at www.circularrunning.tumblr.com

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