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The Crying Game

Emotional ejacta.

Lacrimal laments

Salty snot

Therapeutic tears

We all blub at times. My latest outburst was two weeks ago, at the end of watching Kong: Skull Island. Yes, I know it’s hardly the film you’d expect to provoke that sort of reaction. I remember watching King Kong – the 1970s version with Jessica Lange and Jeff Bridges – and dissolving into tears when the giant ape was finally shredded by helicopter gunships. But at least I was a child at the time. For Kong: Skull Island, I was on an airplane. The main film itself was fine and then during the credits, the WWII pilot, who had been lost on the island for over twenty years, is reunited with his wife and the son whom he’d never seen. It’s almost an after-thought, put in by the director at the last minute. No dialogue, not even a full-screen picture, just tucked to one-side next to the rolling names. It was such an unexpected moment. My chin buckled and suddenly my eyes were all watery… fortunately everybody else around me was too busy enjoying their own in-flight entertainment and food to take any notice.

Not long ago, one of our pet rats had to be put to sleep because of a brain tumour. We knew it was the right thing to do but my daughter was distraught. I was pretty sat too, having grown fond of the little fella, but I was sadder at seeing my daughter’s distress, knowing that the only thing I could offer was a hug and some attempted kind words.

My wife, @Fi_BGB, writes picture books. She was working on a new one three weeks ago about a Japanese ama diver and a whale. It’s about looking after the environment, especially the sea. It was so emotionally charged, that Fiona couldn’t explain it without bursting into tears. If she can translate that passion into the words and pictures, it’s going to be a huge hit, that book.

So, it’s been a wet few weeks for the Barker family, and I’m not just talking about the lousy weather. This Thursday will be my last day at the company I’ve worked for since 1999. I expect I might have something in my eye as I leave that office for the last time. At least as an author I know this all adds to the well of experience I can draw on when writing the sad moments in my books.