Sunday, September 26, 2010


T was assigned to read a McCullers' short story for English class this week. I was surprised to discover that it was one I had never read before. The pivotal moment in the text happens when the main character finally loses his temper at his young cousin who has always worshiped him. His anger is not read hot, more like the raging white of a heated poker. He even says that if he had been loud things might have been easier to fix; but his tone was quiet and even, his words filled with hatred and the damage irreparable. I have been known to have moments of loud and seething rage, an unfortunate characteristic I inherited from those who came before me. What angers me most are the loss of moments and situations that cannot be fixed or repaired even with the best superglue: deaths, breakups or treasured mementos that accidentally slip to the floor from the hands of a child. I am not one to throw or hurl objects, rather I seethe then weep at their fragile, broken state. When discovering chipped cups and plates that have accidentally jostled too harshly in the sink, the loss of control rears it ugly head. I am blinded, wishing that I could somehow turn back the clock as if the moment hadn't happened.. Though I tell myself sometimes scars and cracks add a layer of beauty. Still my life is not one you would read about in a magazine where everything is placed just so; more like a story in an old used book, the pages dogeared from rereading. Our family's tale is filled with beauty, anger, joy and pain. All of those moments add up to a life, and without one you couldn't appreciate the other. We are not glossy or shiny, hiding our true feelings beneath the surface. Rather our edges are occasionally tattered and torn but we move on, using superglue or the emotional equivalent whenever needed.

I have so little to write about anger. I could tell a few stories about M's temper and how I learned to laugh at the vibrant shade of red his face reaches at certain key moments of the weekend, but thanks, I'd like to stay married. I could describe how angry I was at the dentist for making me feel bad last week because I was half an hour late for L's appointment when it was all their fault for sending the wrong time in the email confirmation. But that would be embarrassing, because it was actually my bad - apparently I was confirming the correct time for a different appointment on a different day. I could poke self-inflicted fun at the way I got mad at him when M pointed out I had a scratch on my lens when really I was furious at myself for never buying a clear lens cover. I could admit to getting mad at B the other morning when he needed to be held and I needed to make breakfast for humans, dogs and horses; I could describe how loudly I yelled (very) and how hard he cried as he wandered upstairs looking for Daddy, how he scowled at me later on from the comfort of M's arms and said, "Mommy is mean." I could tell you: that judgement broke a little bit off my heart that won't grow back. But that's a bit saccharine and not quite what I was thinking, which was more along the lines: you won't be two forever. "Make an angry face," I told T this afternoon while we waiting for somebody, anybody to buy cub scout popcorn from us outside the local video store. He complied and we laughed. Yes, I get angry sometimes. But mostly it's all terribly entertaining.


  1. Beth, I cannot picture you angry. I trying, but I can't. What a great post though. It is an important time in life when you realize that your anger can destroy things and you must be very careful where it lands. Keep up the great writing. Love, Marjorie

  2. So THAT's what that was about...