Claire wondered how she had acquired the reputation for making people cry. Or rather, she wondered why people seemed to weep so easily over such relatively unimportant things. There was no question that people cried in her presence with some regularity. The tears frequently came on the heels of something she said, and she was always surprised when it happened. What did people hear in her words that she couldn’t?
Perhaps the question wasn’t why did other people cry, but why didn’t she? From the time she was very small she had wondered why she didn’t cry much. Even in situations where it would be expected, there were no tears. When she tore her knee open deeply enough to expose ligaments in a bicycle accident, there were no tears. When her father died leaving her with an uncaring stepmother during her teenage years, there were no tears. When the first man she ever cared for date raped her and then tossed her aside because he chose a life of drugs over her, there were no tears.
So now, having seen so much pain in the world, in her own life and in the lives of others, there is only irritation when tears flow because a woman gets no empathy describing her descent from debutant and privilege to middle class school teacher. There is only irritation when tears flow because Claire stands up for herself when wrongly accused. There is only irritation when tears flow because circumstances prevent her from attending a friend’s function.
This, then, is how Claire acquired the reputation for making people cry.