When I was little, and it was thirty years ago or more, I was not a child who could start crying easily. People would rather expect me to argue, break up a fight, or be quiet in a sulky way until I get my way or this feeling releases.
I did not cry even when in one terrible cold January of 1985, compared to which this January of 2016 is nothing, my dad came to the school during the break. I knew that grandpa passed away. The grandpa, my mother’s father, who allowed me, his nine-year-old only grandchild, to sleep in the trailer which was left at his yard in Orebic, Peljesac by a German until next summer. He died when he was only a little more than 62. I did not cry, I just yelled “Why didn’t Milena die instead of him?!” … Milena was my mother’s mother, who was 89 when she died… There’s no need for tears. Anger was just enough. Back then.
And I guess that it is how things work, until you start to grow up, and then “adulthood” does not allow you to be a crybaby and shed tears for anything or anyone? Then it is not even OK to ask why someone died, and someone else did not. Also, it was wrong to ask my mom not to die before my dad, although I did. However, my Ljilja avoided that subject in her own style, with a laugh: “I don’t give a shit. When I die, do what you want… “, referring to the difficult relationship that I have had with my father from my childhood until today. A difficult man, a difficult relationship. Neither am I easy to deal with. He raised his only daughter as a soldier, and a soldier was rebelling against him … And that was the case all my life.
There were not many tears when my schoolmate Brana Milinovic was killed during protests in 1991. There was anger, disappointment, sadness, but not many tears. At 18, you are thinking about how to change things and not where to find paper tissues …
Then “adult things” started to happen. My cousin’s girlfriend went to give birth to a baby on one October day. She did not come back. They just returned to us a bundle of 6 pounds that we needed to worry about because there was no one else. And how could we give that little nose to anyone?… And the first tears that are hard to stop when the bundle had cramps, and at 23 I was carrying it from door to door, in a circle around the house… in shifts with other family members.
Then one police stick from of the cordon cracks your head in Kolarčeva Street during “Counter-demonstrations”. Blood is dripping down my neck, you do not know if you are going to stay alive, or healthy, your brain is, as in a convertible, drying out on a cold December winter day, but you are not crying. Are you changing the world? Change my ass! And who knows when tomorrow will be and if it is tomorrow anyway…
You are growing up as if you are not growing up actually, although your tears are becoming the only way to protect yourself from the things that you cannot change… You also cannot make many people change, although you are trying. You are helpless with a lot of them. Anger “does not work” anymore.
You are helpless when your friend from primary school is brought back after who knows how many years from Kosovo, where he was killed. You are also helpless when you find out that your mother is ill with systemic lupus and that only about 30% of people have lived more than 10 years struggling with it. You are helpless when you go to the hospital and find your mother’s mother covered with a ragged blanket, in a room with the greasy paint peeling off the walls, and the door had long been taken off the hinges. You are helpless when you get back home one day and you realize that he did not leave me any choice and decided to move 1,000 km away among other things because of the conditions in which your mother’s mother died 2 and a half years ago and only three months ago your mother, too. You are helpless when you see what kind of people have benefits at work. You are helpless when those who are supposed to help others are actually wicked. You are helpless when some first graders basic burn the cat in the sack and others, just a little bit older, put a firecracker in a dog’s mouth.
And what remains to you when you use up all the strength in anger, useless attempts to deal with the injustices of various kinds. In order not to get mad, you sit down and cry out. It helps.
Cry, you are not a child! Then we will see what happens, with clean, washed eyes and a calm head.
And with your hand on the trigger.