‘The Demon of Hunger’ by Tania Malyarchuk
From World Literature Today:
My throat hurts. I can’t speak much. And to be honest, I don’t have anything to say. I think a lot, but for some reason I don’t have my own opinion. I don’t know how to gauge what is happening with me and with people I know. I just know one thing—I’m very sentimental. Don’t be offended that I cry so much. That’s normal. I can cry even more. It’s just when I hear a sad story, tears gush out on their own from my eyes. I can cry all day and another night—I’ve confirmed that. When I cry I feel happy. Cleansed.
I love to hear love stories the most. Sentimental ones. When two people love each other, and something external prevents them from being together. I love it when the two lovers live their entire lives separately, and die separately, but always remember each other. They have different husbands and wives, but they never forget that strongest love of their lives. And when, for example, a man dies in the arms of a different woman (who, perhaps, also happens to love him), the other woman stands at the window, then at the cemetery, but not with everyone else, but off to the side, just to see him for the last time. Oh, you see, I’m already crying, but it’s normal. Don’t stop me.
Other people’s love stories affect me more than my own because I’ve never loved anyone deeply. Perhaps I still might. I don’t know. But my own stories aren’t particularly striking. I don’t know why. It certainly depends on the way they’re told, because you can tell them in one way that makes everyone begin to cry, and in another way that makes everyone laugh. The very same story.
My grandmother always told me stories in a way that made me cry. She cried, too. Both of us cried. That’s when I understood for the first time how nice it is to cry from hearing stories.