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Do Men Cry?

You do know you are a man, and men are not supposed to cry, mother had said. Kunle had heard those words ever since he was a child, mother always said that to him, he’s 32 now, and those words still had so much control over him.

He never thought mother was wrong, and he invariable never thought he was wrong, how can he be, when he’s suppose to have so much authority over what his sisters were allowed to freely engage in at their choosing, actually, he’s heard mother tell his sisters on more than one occasion, “Cry it out dear, then it’ll all be over” he’d wondered why his sisters were allowed to cry it out and never he, well maybe they were just weak and didn’t have the strength like he did to hold in a little bit of pain, even when the pain feels unbearable.

Mother was never wrong then, but now? She is.

 Yes, at the time, mother hadn’t been wrong. He had as a teen, reveled in the fact that he had control over what his sisters didn’t, that meant he sure was stronger than they were. He didn’t have to feel guilty or skeptical about his strength, because it didn’t matter that his sisters did all the house chores, or wakes up as early as 5am to prepare meal for the house, boils water for his bath, before they both go to school, neither does the fact that she goes to the shop directly after school to help mother matter, he equated his strength with his ability to control his tears, that for him, as a teen was best. But mother was wrong now, mother never taught him about emotional outlets, he just didn’t know how to let lose so it’ll all be over for him, when he needs it to be. And his failure at that had showed itself in more ways than one, but still mother had said.

He hadn’t known what to do when his best friend had committed suicide and they told him “it’s not your fault Kunle, Emeka was just depressed”, he’d felt his heart split, he literally saw blood come out his heart, but mum had said “men do not cry” so he hadn’t, he’d instead swallowed the pain, and that had been his first known ghost. He was equally envious of his sisters who’d just kept wailing for the death of his own best friend, he was not only jealous, he was angry, how dare they show such fake feeling towards the death of someone she had known through him, and he isn’t even doing that much, she must be lying, someone cannot cry that much over Emeka’s suicide when he isn’t doing that much, she must be lying or this must be a joke to her, or maybe mum is right she’s just too weak. Three years later, Kunle is still angry, especially when the thought of Emeka comes up, but he always sees his sister and Emeka’s mum smile whenever they hear his name and say “he was such a sweet kid, I hope he found the peace he sought so much”, Kunle had always felt like screaming at them, there is no peace, how can you smile over Emeka’s death, why can’t they just get it or instead why is it different for him, why still does Emeka’s death pull at him this way? He’d always wonder to himself.

Kunle had studied almost all his life to pass his ICAN exam, on the day of the exam he was so confident, he went in, did his bit and came out with the biggest grin on his face, he carried and felt the grin of that day right in his heart until the result came out and it happened he’d failed instead. Mother was distraught, dad was clearly disappointed, Kunle was confused and drastically hurt, he’s been at home for 3 years after school, and this exam was suppose to get him a job as promised by his father’s friend who needed an accountant with a good result from ICAN, this was suppose to put him out of the shame of his joblessness, he remembered countless times he’d had to swallow his pain from not being able to support his family or go out with friend and support them with even a bottle of soft drink, he’d instead stopped going out, how can he miss such an opportunity, but he isn’t suppose to let emotion show, mother had accused him of being uncaring towards anything, but he’d rather not show any emotion at all since he didn’t know how to, instead he learnt to put up his defensive wall, maybe if he didn’t care about it, he wouldn’t have to disappoint mother and the world by doing what he truly wanted to do, which was to wail uncontrollably. At the very least, even if mum is disappointed, society isn’t, they’ll all continue to think of him as a man, well, a man who was a failure maybe, but a nonetheless.

Mother is wrong, about everything she’s right, but about crying being a woman thing, mother is wrong, crying doesn’t show weakness, mother cannot be blamed though, the society has fooled everyone and mother was merely a product of such foolery, the society has killed a lot of our young boys who couldn’t live through like I had, the society had killed Emeka, the society has shaped us in ways that obstructs the human emotional setting. Kunle had stumbled upon the bible verse that said, “JESUS WEPT”, isn’t Jesus suppose to be a man according to society, why then did he weep like his sister’s did, does that make him weak, then why does society follow the teachings of weak man. How about our men who died fighting the country’s wars, they too have cried when they lost a comrade, that doesn’t make them weak. Mother had been wrong, mother had allowed society fool her, and society hasn’t just fooled us on this, society has fooled us on a lot of things.  The society is wrong.

This day, Kunle cried when he saw his girlfriend crying after he’d propose to her, he cried when he saw her walking down the aisle, of course she’d looked so beautiful and she had done it for him because they had agreed she wasn’t going to adorn her already beautiful self with more makeup than necessary, she had kept to that, and that had only made Kunle cry harder, maybe not for the case of her less artificial beautification, but just because he’s found his soul mate, not many people get to have that. He had cried when she told him she was pregnant with their first issue which was a girl, and he had almost fainted when he saw her go through labour to birth their baby, he cried when he saw his little bundle of joy and he had cried together with his big baby while they held their little baby. He still cries today when he feels the need to, like when his little baby ad said “dada” instead of mama which had been what his wife had kept drilling into her while she breastfed her, his little baby defied nature and followed her tiny little heart, that was everything to Kunle. He knows he was still going to cry on the day he’ll give her hand out in marriage. On the day his mother had died Kunle cried, she smiled watching him cry, “I can safely go home now oko mi {my husband}” she said while she struggled to clean off the dam falling down his face, Kunle remembered the eve after his mother’s death, he had stayed snuggled in the hands of his wife while she cuddled him to sleep, spitting sweet words to his hearing, till he slept and dreamt of his mother waving at him as she went home.

He wasn’t going to let society tell him what to do, how to feel or how to act with the way he’s feeling, he was going to do that his way from this moment on. He had read from the poem of a great poet “Mirza Ghalib” and the following lines struck him:

“It is only a heart, not a stone or brick,

 Why should it not be overcome with pain?

 I will cry a thousand times.

Why should one torment me”

About That Girl Writer

I'm just an average girl that loves writing and who believes we can all help set humanity back on its feet. Let us feed humanity together.

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