Elizabeth Pleurnichard

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She came into the world a bundle of fists, puce and squalling, starting as she meant to go on; desperate for the comfort and warmth of her mother's arms - only her mother didn't want her. She cried hot, determined tears day and night. Her mother couldn't even bear to look at her. Soon Elizabeth learned to comfort herself with the familiar sting of salt behind her eyes, the only thing she could rely on.

As she grew up, she trusted only books and made friends with journals. She warped the descriptions of protagonists with her tears and stained the pages of diaries with anger as she wrote about being alone. Awkward and bookish, she didn't fit in with the other children in her village, and they revelled in tormenting her every day. Curled up under the protection of her covers, she cried herself to sleep just as she did when she was a newborn.

Later, her chest racked heaving and uncontrollable every night for a week in an uncomfortable hospital bed as she longed to be 15 eternally.

At 17 she cried anguished tears of shame into the dark, damp air one fateful night in the Subway station with the cold and the putrid breath in her face and the unwanted hands clawing forcefully at her clothes, taking what was not theirs to take. For a while not even the comfort of her own sobs could send her to sleep.

Moving into adulthood, she flitted in and out of love and companionship, craving affection she had never known. Reserved and shy, she pushed people away to see how quickly they crawled back and shut out those who did. Dejection zigzagged down her face as she realised that anyone who claimed to love her always left her in the end. Sadly she concluded that the only constant throughout the pivotal moments in her life had been the hot, prick of tears that always found a way to spring themselves on her in defence. Crying came easy to Elizabeth Pleurnichard. Life, so far, did not.

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