The aesthetic of his crying is pure control.
The male heart, conditioned to break in regimented format - without drama, without sobbing, without total loss of decorum - beats firmly within his chest.
He cries, but it is a welling of tears, a smattering of sadness.
Scofield eyes moisten and glitter and tantalize with the beauty of their glistening, even though the grief is solidly blatant and so very there.
The portrait of her sorrow is ultimate emotion.
The female psyche, adept at expressing grief - with lucid moments of anguish, with memorable instances of breakdown, with harrowing scenes of turmoil - resounds ably within her mind.
She cries, and it is total capitulation, a heavy metal-band of sound and fervor. When she’s alone.
Tancredi eyes smudge and deepen and recoil with the beauty of her tears, even though the sorrow is totally tangible and so very there.
They both hide their grief from the world. It is such an individual, private thing and they have never had the opportunity to half a burden by sharing it, have never entirely unloaded the full enormity of the sadness of life on an interested, important other.
She has wanted to dump the deluge, but has never trusted enough to understand how it is done.
He has yearned to lessen the lament, but has never understood the concept of how it is done.
She has grieved countless times during her relatively short life. She has cried numerous times during the course of her minimal existence. She has sorrowed enough for someone thrice her age.
He has mourned endlessly during his relatively short life. His eyes have snarled with tears so many times during the course of his minimal existence. He has grieved enough for someone thrice his age.
And they meet in the crucible of what is to be their most angst-worthy times.
Well he never reads and he never draws, and he never sleeps 'cause he's got bad blood yeah
I'm a stain, I'm a stain, I'm a stain, I'm a stain
“Stain” from Insecticide - Nirvana
Michael cannot remember a time when he was truly joyous for more than two days straight.
His earliest recollections are depicted in muted tones. Disused browns, washed-out charcoals, all the brightest colours of the rainbow stripped of life’s happiness because he often faced devastating news that would castrate an adult in the same situation.
Like his mother’s death, delivered to him with the candor of a race-call, all blustery and bludgeoning and brutal. The events manager had no bedside manner, absolutely no awareness of the shattering sounds echoing around a young Scofield chest that were remnants of a heart torn into ramshackle shards. His sorrow was so intense,
he often buckled in the middle.
After her passing, he was found prone on the ground, like a goldfish removed from its bowl drowning in a sea of tears.
He was discovered simpering and repressing huge waves of emotion as he huddled in fetal positions all over his hideous new world.
A world without his mother.
A world for sole siblings, cast adrift.
Michael’s tiny instances of relief from horror were found in Lincoln’s arms. Because Lincoln was there, larger, comforting, a bulky barricade where a smaller boy could hide his grief and expunge his wailing - Linc absorbed and shielded. Attempting to anaesthetize an intensity of pain unimaginable to someone of lesser comprehension.
After a suitable time of bereavement, Lincoln was able to move on. The older child seemed to recover more quickly than the sensitivities of one so advanced in so many different areas of cognition, yet very new to the way of loss.
Michael’s eyes never recovered from the loss of both parents. The death of his mother caused the fixings in the faucets to become so very, very loose, the subsequent abandonment by his father resulted in the floodgates opening and never being fully re-apprehended. To his sole mortification, Michael Scofield became the teenage boy who wept.
Frequently. Without warning, without any idea of damage control. Without guidance, with little understanding of another world where grief could be tended, understood, managed. Shared.
The adult Michael became accustomed to the warning signs of imminent grief exposure and utilized his higher IQ to control his emotion. He worked, and was able to shunt his mind into problem solving. He played, and was able to shift his body into meaningless places and faceless scenarios. He functioned, and was able to equate his parents’ loss with a time and a situation removed from his current being.
But Man-Boy Michael, in that testy, toxic, nothing-land of early adolescence had no such veneer.
The tears would seep indiscriminately and he would be mocked and belittled.
“Jesus, kid, hasn’t anyone ever told you that boys don’t cry?
Get a grip, Scofield. You’re only here for a while, might as well save your crying for a placement where your people ain’t so nice.
What’s going on here? Fuck me! Why are you bawling when most dudes your age would be jerking off over girly magazines.
Scofield, get your orphaned ass down here and stop feeling sorry for yourself up there on your bed. I hear you crying, you fag. What kid of twelve cries when he could be experimenting with his cock?
You little, no good piece of teary-eyed shit......”
And Michael learnt to despise the theatre of his emotion. It was there, it was uncontrollable, it made him hate it so much more.
Until he used his superior intellect to dull the strains of Beethoven melancholia reverberating through his mind.
But then, the unthinkable happened. Within the first few seconds of an unusual visit from his old friend, Veronica, Michael’s emotional nemesis catapulted to the forefront of his brain. And this time he grieved for Lincoln.
Fox River exacerbated his despair one thousandfold. From his visitation with his brother prior to his own interment, when he demanded Lincoln tell him the truth about Terence Steadman - “Swear to me” - to the severing of his toes and the bleeding of his former self into the rec yard asphalt. Michael tried to hide his tears while wandering within prison gates, but circumstances proved inexorable - the people, the horror of the place, the stench of death, the loss of souls.
And then there was her.
Causing him to grieve for his past life and former framework inside lawful society. Causing him to lament the fact he would be forced to coerce her, saddening him to a point where tears were shed in front of her, onto her, because of her. In spite of her.
Michael knew she saw his tears and was instantly protective, wanting to use her role to buffer him against the violence and distemper of the environment - so his tears got him what he needed, gained him her sympathy, and he became even more disillusioned about his ability to express emotion normally.
He was sorrowful. He was grief-stricken - but more than this, he was catatonic with guilt and racked with remorse and feelings of bile creating organ-eating juices inside his gut.
Michael Scofield cried a lot in prison. Sometimes because of physical and psychological hardship, often about the future of his brother. The majority of times he wept in despair about what he had become, what he was about to become and what he was doing to her.
Into your room
I’ve heard its lined
With the things you don’t show
“Hymn to Her” from Get Close - The Pretenders
Sara learnt early that sorrow was more than an emotion or a state of mind.
Sometimes it morphed into a banshee and sat upon her shoulder while she studied. Other times, it appeared as a black dog and followed her to school and home again. As an adult, her grief could even manifest as a phantom drug-dealer, in her face, on her back, shackled to the definite ridges of her spine. Beckoning, beckoning. Always goddamn beckoning. A featureless, hideous presence that induced more desolation than the scumbags themselves.
As an attractive, smart-as-a-whip daughter of a career politician, the youthful Sara was taught to obscure any sign of outward grief. As though tears, sobs, teenaged angst may have voters agitated and outraged that their favourite member was raising a dissatisfied and disagreeable child. Jaysus and Mary, they would have intoned, if Frank Tancredi’s only daughter is so upset and easily depressed, imagine what outcomes he will have on the constituents of his political outpost.
So, it was all an act.
In private, Sara would acknowledge her emotions with the true outpourings of the typical young woman. Dogged tantrums early on. Sobbing, heaving, breast-bud crying during the first stages of puberty. Dark, silent stares and gnashing of teeth as adolescence took hold, and then the drugs. The morphine. The true grief of addiction and never-ending purgatory of surrendering Self to Habit.
During the few times of clarity, while lying in the deepest hovel of dependence, Sara would almost laugh at the ridiculousness and irony. A regular fix allowed periods of sedation, of pain release and moments of forgotten woe - almost as if injecting the contents of the syringe was alleviating any grief or anguish from her life. In fact her highs, followed by appalling baseline lows, manifested in the worst of times. The saddest of sorrow. The most sorrowful of scourge.
Her grief was like a plague - spreading, rampant, uncontrollable, reduced to alleyways and appalling conditions.
Sara’s life before Fox River was clearly divided into two categories - pre-mother’s death/post-mother’s death. These markers became further advanced in the following years post death to include pre-morphine/post-morphine, and if she thought she had experienced anguish and upheaval during any of those “Pre” years, it was a mere drop in the ocean of grief compared to the tsunami of sadness the “Post” years would propagate.
Her godamned, booze-whore, wonderful, disgustingly-addicted, beautiful, liver-scared, fabulous, scotch-hooker of a mother.
Mom - her benchmark of all that is grief. Dad - her acknowledgment of all that needs to be hidden.
Mother - her creator, her umbilical cord to this excuse for a life, her provider of nourishment, early enlightenment and the very first face she imaged on her newborn retinas as she was dragged into this world. Father - her provider of the second X chromosome, her handsome first love and Prince Charming, the individual most likely to enforce her to subdue her cries for help, the man who would maintain public face in the wake of hideous grief.
Mother Tancredi left Sara at the very instant when daughterly need was paramount .
Sara hated her mother. She loved her dearly. Sara wanted her mother. She replaced the maternal cravings with Morphine-Mom. Sara needed to hold her mother. She would push her away when the parent was unsteady and acrid of tongue and palliative of breath. Sara required to talk with her mother. She would ignore the ramblings and embarrassing declarations of a parent soaked in alcohol with a higher proof value than her very own age. Sara craved guidance from her mother. She would recoil and sneer when her mirror image - plus age - staggered towards her, arms outstretched, offering advise about life through Scotch-bottle glasses.
Father Tancredi left at the very point he realized his sole offspring was fundamentally flawed.
Sara sought her father’s approval. She got high and puked and came onto anybody in order to spite him. Sara petitioned her father’s understanding. She stole drugs, she blew for a fix, she fucked for less, she was discovered in situations by his associates, his minders. Sara yearned for his unconditional love. She did everything she could to ensure he was unable to give it.....she put him in a position to chose, and he selected Public Life. Sara hankered to be the daughter of two parents who owned a picket fence. She wrestled the goddamn very last picket from the manicured lawn and battered it against her own fucked-up head and rammed the dirty, pointed end through any empathy that may have lingered in her father’s heart.
Sara frequented her Self Sympathy Club, she was the only member.
Sara cried so that her mascara bled into the lining of her bedroom where she hid the majority of herself.
Sara sobbed into the lining of her pillow so the flimsy material was drenched with tears, but the padding absorbed the sound of wailing - just as Lincoln had buffered and cushioned the sound of his little brother’s wretched cries and moans of sorrows.
Lincoln’s little brother.
And then she met him and her sadness doubled. Her joy, too. Her sense of sexual excitement and anticipation and longing for something completely different, completely normal. When it didn’t come, when she realized the normality of life may just well be unattainable for her, a melancholia descended with the weight of bleak, blackened realization.
More frightening (and strangely alluring) to Sara, was the fact she almost absorbed and processed the Scofield sorrow. When he felt physical pain, she experienced nausea. When he became mentally anguished and borderline psychotic, she felt as though her mind was a sieve and her heart was slush. When he told her he was leaving, she felt as though she would avalanche, and when he left, her mascara bled into the cloth of her car seat for hours.
When he’d gone, her grief should have halved, but instead it multiplied by a factor immeasurable. When her father died, that grief split her in two and divided her life once again - Pre-Michael/Post-Michael...Pre-Dad’s Death/Post-Dad’s Death.
So many sombre divisions, so little time. So many segments in the life-altering equation, so little life.
Then they reunite.
Feathers on my breath, teardrop on the fire of a confession
Feathers on my breath, most faithful my love
Feathers on my breath
Teardrop on the fire, feathers on my breath
Stumbling a little, stumbling a little
“Teardrop” from self titled EP - Massive Attack
“You have to talk about it, sometime.”
“I know I do. You have to talk about it too.”
“I know. But I don’t want to now.”
“Me either. Not now.”
They hedge around discussing their recent losses and sadness like two prize fighters, buffed and oiled and sleek, evading the inevitable collision of the full-fist of conversation. It is the only thing they are keeping to themselves. They cannot keep their hands or mouths off each other, they expose their bodies with the same dynamic and earnestness that keeps their minds closeted. They are open in their foreplay and closed in their fore- thoughts. They are filled with physical vigor and rampant energy, they are empty of a desire to discuss death and explain grief.
They have been together for the three longest days and shortest nights of their lives.
“I’m not really that used to talking about things, about sad things.”
He’s amazed by this, thinking a female doctor would excel in the domain of grief; she would much rather hear from him, comfort him, than spill her own sorrow.
“Well, I’m not either, but apparently a burden shared is a burden halved.”
She finds his use of adage corny and fluffy and can’t help but feel scorched by his closeness. He mentally kicks himself for talking such non-helpful crap.
“I wouldn’t know where to start...um, I don’t even know how to phrase stuff like this...isn’t there much better things to be doing with out time?”
He agrees, yes, absolutely; she realizes they are so intimate in many areas already, surely no actual communication for one more day won’t matter.
“We could play a little game.”
She can hardly believe a man can be so child-like cute and so virile in the same breath. He wants to make love to her with undeniable immediacy when she smiles at him like this, but they need more privacy.
“Oh-Kaye, loving the sound of this.”
He knows if he proposes a quickie in the train restroom she will not deny him, she’s ready to play any game he wants and snuggles closer in the train bench seat.
“It’s a new game, called share a sad secret and it only has two players.”
She’s completely disarmed by this man as he places his arm around her and kisses her forehead. He wants her to start with a sad secret, but knows he will have to:
“The only time I hugged my father was the other day when he died in my arms. I felt like shit.”
He’s blunt and sombre. She’s shocked, sympathetic, amazed, attracted, frozen with fear because it’s her play.
“Um, my father came to see me at my apartment and I told him I was scared after you got out. He hugged me and told me he would help me. When I found him hanging, dead, I was repulsed and after I tried to help him....I, I....I......vomited.”
She’s disgusted with herself, remorseful she didn’t respond as a professional after the fact. He’s so very, very happy she’s talking, they’re talking, he moves as close as possible and whispers in her ear:
“When I heard about Lincoln’s sentence, I locked myself away and cried for two days. I only ate ice-cream and drank beer. The day I robbed the bank, I was so sick in the stomach, I doubled over with cramps.”
“On the night after the riots, I went home and locked the door. I sat in a blanket and drank Whiskey until I numbed the pain. Then I lay unconscious on the sofa until it was time for work.”
“When my mom died, I held Lincoln’s hand so tightly he had grip bruises. I cried on and off for a year....I thought the pain in my chest would never go away....I dreamt of her until I was about sixteen....I still dream of her, and sometimes I wake up sobbing.”
“When my mom died, I fell off the rails.”
“The day you stormed out of the infirmary, when I asked you to leave the door open, I felt like I had raped you...”
“Dad told me my mother was dead but didn’t hold me for very long.....I think it was because he was so upset...but I needed to be held.....I still miss her. I need her always......”
“I used to cry all the time when I was placed with new foster families...”
“I’ve spent times sobbing in alleyways when I couldn’t score....”
“I was physically sick when you left me that note in Gila........”
“After you fled Fox River, I sat in my car for two hours and I have forgotten what I did, but I know I hardly.....I hardly......I couldn’t seem to breathe.......I had a pain.......”
They touch and talk and feel and feel. They commit each other’s stories to memory and make mental notes about the expressions and the voice intonations and the mannerisms accompanying each disclosure. They comfort each other with lips and hands, they use shoulders to support, they use arms to embrace and fingers to soothe spots of tension.
He cannot believe the feeling of an overwhelming weight being shifted from his heart, she is delighted by the looseness of her upper spine, as though she is starting to unhinge the monkey of morphine.
She kisses his cheek each time tears well in his eyes, he presses his lips to her forehead every second she gasps a small sobbing breath.
Michael is unable to continue the conversation when he tells her about his mother, she waits patiently and stokes his skull as she cradles his head to her breast.
Sara is overcome with emotion when she begins to speak about her parents, he holds her so tightly he wonders if she will have grip bruises over her kidneys.
She sobs quietly at times and uses his sweater to muffle the noise of sorrow. He stifles sobs and simply allows his eyes to well.
He thinks this is the first time in his adult life when someone has listened and cared and soothed and absorbed, Sara knows she will never need a pillow to soften her grief again.
Michael learns about the importance of sharing a burden this day.
She finally understands the concept of a significant other.
He recognizes the closeness being forged on words and grief alone.
Sara knows these shared revelations will simply bring them closer.
It impacts upon the way they are with each other that night as they re-discover true hedonism of their physical desire, but this time it has the full emotional baggage in tow, it has strings embedded in joined hearts and opened minds.
She’s rapt. He’s ecstatic.
And they cry true tears of joy.