M y anger always woke up before the alarm. She ran five miles, and then she ran eight. She skipped a few meals, and then skipped a few more. When she went fishing with the boys, she threw the fish back into the water with the hook still in its mouth.
You see, my anger was born two weeks late. She wasn’t exactly breastfed. She had her own bedroom in the back of the house, and when she sat on the floor and colored, she pressed too hard and broke the Tickle Me Pink crayon.
My anger just wanted to go to the movies and see Aladdin, and maybe catch a ride on a magic carpet. Outside the theater, a smiling man wearing a shiny blue costume knelt down, waved his fingers in front of her eyes, and granted her three wishes.
Around a year later, my anger got felt up a few times. Kissed a few times more. But what’s kissing? What’s touching? She didn’t tell anyone, even though that one person knew.
My anger rolled down hills and tried to break her own arms. She ran into the woods and stomped on fallen branches again and again and again and again until she heard the wood crack and snap apart. She hugged papery birch tree trunks and missed them — longed for them — even though they were right there the whole time.
My anger fried ants on the hot driveway with a magnifying glass. She lit the kitchen on fire. One Saturday afternoon in August, during a heat wave, she hid behind the garage for five hours. They called and called for her, but she didn’t respond. Once everything was quiet, she opened her eyes, stood up, and walked back toward the house.
My anger did not belong to me.
Some nights, when my anger felt his wet slap slap slap, she would transform into a bluejay and fly out into the night. One morning, they found her little bird body asleep on the couch in the living room. She had drifted off while watching an early morning I Love Lucy marathon. Hello friends! My anger is your Vitameatavegamin girl. Are you tired, run down, listless? Do you poop out at parties? Are you unpopular? The answer to all your problems is in this little bottle.
My anger stole her calculus textbook from school and threw it into a bonfire. My anger was president of the National Honor Society. My anger graduated Magna Cum Laude.
My anger danced at dive bars and grinded up against men without faces. My anger woke up at 3am and rearranged all of the furniture. One afternoon, she pulled a slimy nest of her roommate’s hair out of the shower drain and vomited. My anger never napped. Instead, she sat on the edge of the bed and ripped out her shiny blue feathers one by one.
Things my anger is not: sharp or hot, broken or guarded. She is not dazed or fluorescent. She is not a lamb, a turnip, a stack of folded towels. She is not a pile of leaves on the side of the house, the screen door slamming, the screen door slamming twice. She is not fog and she is not two hundred soldiers standing in formation.
My anger cried in airport terminals. My anger had chronic diarrhea. My anger was return to sender. During the workday, my anger walked to the copier backwards and choked on her own breath. When she got called someone else’s name during a meeting, she just wanted to be punched in the face a few times. On late Friday nights, she needed whoever was in her bed to go home so she could cry herself to sleep in peace.
Things my anger might have been: a row of perfect teeth, long division, gold paint mixed with sand. Nomadic, clear, overgrown. She might have been the last key on the piano — the highest note one no one ever plays — or the shadow on the wall cast by the dying ficus. She also could have been my aging dog’s shallow breath or six bottles of bleach sold in bulk.
One day, my anger gathered everyone’s needs and headed straight for the ocean. Everyone’s needs can’t swim, so my anger tossed them into the breakers and watched them drown.
Now, my anger does not shave. My anger is never sorry. My anger leaves a tip for the waiter only if he has excellent diction. My anger watches porn at work, prays to the sun, and never reads instructions. She jaywalks and sends you straight to voicemail and remembers every single thing, including her kindergarten teacher’s birthday, which is May 19th.
My anger is perfection rising. She is a secret internal ignition. She is a spasm, a jerk, a deep breath. My anger does not compost and can’t stop staring. My anger wants to get fucked hard.
My anger is the little spoon sometimes. My anger is lonely like you can’t even believe. Last week, she called to request more information about a $22,000 expedition to the South Pole. Truth is, my anger owes me ten bucks. Sometimes after dinner, she sits on the stoop eating gummy bears and wondering when the smoke will clear.
My anger wants to forgive, but how do you forgive? My anger doesn’t know, but she still has three wishes left.