A child disguises her weeping

She wept easily. This did not mean that she felt things more deeply than others did. It certainly did not mean that she was fragile or sentimental or ready to bring that sodden leverage to bear on the slights that came with being the baby of the family. When she was four she had wept for three days over the death of a dog in a radio play. Every time she teared up a little, her brothers and sisters remembered how she had sobbed over Heidi and Bambi and the Babes in the Woods. Which they read to her dozens of times. As if there were any point to those stories after all but to elicit childish grief. It really was irritating, and there was nothing to be done about it. She had learnt to compose her face, so that from a distance she would not necessarily seem to be weeping, and then they made a little game of catching her at it — tears, they would say. Ah, tears. She thought how considerate it would have been of nature to allow the venting of feeling through the palm of a hand or even the sole of a foot.

Marilynne Robinson, Home, pp14-15

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