One night, he'd drunkenly taken a knife to his wrist, sterilising the blade in a boiling kettle first. The next day he'd felt cleansed, walked the daylit pavements past the closed university, passed the bread-window where the woman handed out rolls in stiff paper bags. He'd told this to a doctor friend, a little ashamed, and explained the relief that cutting himself had brought him.
The doctor said, 'Did you cry?' That evening, he had sobbed gutterally, bounced his groans off the walls, reached the ceiling with high breaths, and muffled them in a pillow, behind sound.
'Tears are emotional. They can be caused by joy, anger, frustration, relief, hysteria or awe. As such, they contain emotional brain chemicals. Lencine enkephalin is associated with pain. Prolactin is associated with stress.' He scattered a leaf with his cane. 'The ability to cleanse the brain by crying separates humans from animals. Animal tears don't contain emotional chemicals. Women have 60% more prolactin than men. People suffering from depression cry much less.' There was a nip in the air after the doctor left.
He imagined cutting himself and not being able to cry. Or not crying before taking the knife to himself. His sleeve seemed to ride up as he reached to the glass, offered the money, held the roll.