By Lisa Buscani
emotions are a fat and pampered lot. I carry them with me like old
women hold small dogs. I knit them sweaters, give them their own
seat at restaurants, feed them on a steady diet of indulgence and
exposure. Is my happiness hungry? Does my depression-wession need
anything? Him such a good little black cloud, yes him is.
of all of the emotions I hold close to me, I think I love my anger
the best. It is a vibrant, frightening thing, my anger; a whip of
blinding light, a smack flat on the bridge of the nose; a sensation
that is both delicious and annoying. But I love it because, as the
song says, anger is an energy. If you harness it right, it can change
things, it can take you places. And that's why I love my anger.
Oh, the places we go.
that one time, on the subway. My boyfriend and I know they're trouble
before they step on the train. As we pull in I see them arguing
on the platform, he bends at the waist with a finger in her face,
spitting and punctuating, as she leans back and looks down sullenly.
She tries to break away and walk toward the train and he grabs her
shoulder and whips her around for a few final words. Then he grudgingly
releases her and they get on.
we aren't out of the station before it starts again. He starts yelling
at her in Spanish, which heightens the tension because we know he's
mad but we don't know why. He yells and yells, she looks at the
floor, popping in with a couple of quiet retorts that we don't even
hear much less understand. He hears them though, and he punches
her in the face, twice. She doesn't cry. She stares at him, then
turns and stares out the window.
oh. And oh. Here it comes, here it comes, my anger. Unsettling and
exquisite, clenching my stomach and prickling up each bone rung
of spine to the base of my neck where it stings and stings, burning
my eyes, weighting my throat, my smile drawn back in rictus, release
give me release. And it's so easy, so easy to give in to it because
it commands all my attention. It's all I feel, all I WANT to feel.
across from them, watching and rocking. I am seething and he sees
me staring at him.
gotta problem with me?'
it's on, it's on, the beast sees the meat in the killing ground,
I got a problem. You need to keep your fuckin' hands to yourself."
he looks stunned, like I verbally pepper-sprayed him. He looks like
he isn't used to resistance, like he always gets what he wants without
too much effort and he hates me for making him sweat.
is not your business."
made it my business when you punched her twice right in front of
then he says, "This is how white people get hurt."
I'm thinking "Suck my clit, you mean-hearted nightmare wetback,"
But I was just thinking that. No, the key is harnessing it, controlling
it. So instead I say,
got nothing to do with it. You need to keep your hands off her.
And you know what? She shouldn't go home with you."
she's coming home with me! She's coming home with me!" He stands
up and starts to come at me. And the boyfriend leans forward. Just
leans. The boyfriend is an emotional minimalist.
need to sit down, pal."
need to sit down. Watch your mouth."
man sits back down. Unfolds his hands. Folds and unfolds them. And
he stares at me for the entire trip and I stare right back because
I am good, I am righteous, me and my anger. Think of winged seraphim
flying by divine right, mighty steeds on their hind legs, rising
with marble warriors on their backs. Think of patrician women with
roman noses and flowing togas blind to evil, that's how right I
am, you bastard. I am . . .
and utter idiot. I see the girlfriend staring at the window for
the entire ride. I'm an idiot. Because you know what I did. She's
going to get it now, worse. Whatever she was headed for, now it'll
be worse. And you know she's heard it before, over and over from
her family, from her friends. Here I am some dumb woman with no
investment in this thinking that I can help her hear it. I'm an
idiot. Anger is an energy, yessir.
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