All Those Parties We Didn't Cry At
by Natalia Theodoridou
"Here, let me," Hayley says. She holds my eyelids open and drips a few pseudos onto my eyeballs. Then she lets go and the fake tears run down the sides of my eyes. Her breath is hot on my damp cheekbones. It's the most erotic thing I've ever experienced.
"Now do me," she says and hands me the bottle of eye drops. She tilts her head back while I run my finger over her jawline. She holds her lids open for me and I squirt some pseudos into her eyes. I watch her blink and fake-cry, her cheeks streaked with mascara. She pulls me towards her and kisses me. Her pseudos taste like strawberries. I prefer salty--more natural, more like the real thing--but I don't say anything. I try to focus on the sensation of the tears running down my face. Feel the release. I don't feel a thing, but it's fake it till you make it, isn't it?
I look around the room. My cousin Ari is in the corner sugaring up a girl, going on about all the times he's cried before, cried for real, and how absolutely fantastic it felt. Trying too hard, as usual. It's the same at every crying party, ever since we were kids, even way back, when we could cry at every little thing. The girl doesn't look impressed, but she wipes away his fake tears anyway and smiles.
I've never done this with Hayley before. We've met at other crying parties a couple of times, but we've never shared. I know she expects me to, so I go ahead, give in.
"So when was your last time?" I ask.
"I was 12," Hayley says. "My dog had died. His name was Rusty." She closes her eyes. The underskin moist, smoky. "What children we were, back then, eh? I bawled for two days straight." She sniffles. It all sounds a bit rehearsed. "You?"
Can I tell her? "I don't remember," I lie.
She looks at me sharply. "Come on, be real."