I cried my way through my morning coffee this morning. I'm a girl. Things are hard. Sometimes girls cry when things are hard. Sometimes girls just cry. It happens.
I cried my way through my morning coffee, with a ragged piece of toilet paper balled up in my fists, making desperate attempts to swipe at snot and tears without ruining my makeup.
Then I cried on my way to work. Same ragged piece of toilet paper clutched in same white-knuckled fist on the steering wheel.
I parked my car in front of the office, shut off the engine, and spent a few, just a precious few, seconds with my head on the steering wheel. I gave over to it, just for a few seconds. Let my shoulders shake. Let my breath come in gasps. Let the tears flow.
Then I picked up that same ragged scrap of toilet paper, one more time, dabbed at my face, and then pulled myself together. I pulled myself together and I walked into work composed and steady. Buttoned up. No one would ever know.
A few minutes ago I walked into the bathroom. I was struck by the face in the mirror. Staring through red, puffy eyes ringed with faint mascara smudges. The shoulders drooping. The smile not reaching the eyes. Bits of toilet paper lint clinging to eyelashes, and stuck in hair, and all down the front of the shirt.
So much for pulled together. Still, it's a quiet day here in the office. I don't think anyone noticed. But from now on, no more crying through coffee. No more tears after makeup.