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Boys Aren’t

Meant To Cry

Jennifer Wu

Isobelle Carmody Award

For Creative Writing

Highly Commended

He sits alone at the window, ears tuned to the steady rhythm of the

clock ticking on the kitchen wall. His hands tighten around the ring

in his hand, fingers clutching at the metal; grounding him. Blue eyes

dart back to the clock on the wall – the hands move at a dizzying

pace as his eyes follow the movements. He shakes his head, runs a

hand through his hair, and grits his teeth as he struggles to hold back


After all, boys aren’t meant to cry.

He glares down into the bottom of his cup, studying the image of

his distorted reflection, and he thinks back to a time when he had

really looked that young; when his eyes still held that spark, and his

cheeks had held that rosy glow. And then he remembers his twelfth

birthday –he remembers the celebrations and the constant buzz of

conversation, the heady feeling of exhilaration, and then, he

remembers the day after. His father had taken him shopping for a

birthday gift after the party, his excitement still present as his blue

eyes darted around to each store’s window display, before they

settled on the lacquered varnish of a new bicycle – the bright pink

paint still shining on the frame as the polished metal of the bell

sitting on the handlebars winked at him.

He had walked into the store, smiled brightly at the cashier, and

pointed at the shiny new bicycle sitting in the store’s display. His

father took one look at the bicycle and the expression of confusion

on his face morphed into one of anger. He shook his head quickly,

his eyes hardening as he turned his son away roughly, before calling

the shop assistant gruffly – “Can we get one of those blue bicycles

on that rack over there?” The shop assistant nodded cheerfully,

making small talk with her customer. The boy glanced at the blue

frame of the bicycle. It looked so dull and bland in comparison to

the striking magenta colour that covered the bicycle resting at the

window. The boy’s father smiled coldly and adjusted his tie; “Yes,

the blue one over there should be perfect for my


.” The boy

looked on with wide eyes as his father pulled him outside by the ear,

forcing him down by his shoulder to sit on a nearby bench. “Listen

here, boy; no man, and certainly no


of mine will be participating

in these feminine activities you’ve taken such a liking to, do you

understand?” He could only nod his head weakly, his mouth dry, as

he forced back the words he could feel scratching their way up his

throat and the hot tears that clawed at his eyelids, threatening to

spill out.

After all, boys aren’t meant to cry.