I lost my temper Friday night, and I slapped a telephone pole. I really went after it too; I slapped it more than once, right palm and then left, and then right again. There was lots of gummy-looking stuff on its surface, but that stuff turns out to be pretty stiff. There are nails, staples, and splinters as well; all kinds of hazards.
I have five cuts on my hands today that still sting, and somehow I managed to get a piece of the gummy stuff from the outside of the pole underneath my skin. The skin grows together over the wound. That’s a bizarre thought for me, I have pole surface-stuff in my body now, I’m busy chewing on it and taking it apart and seeing what I can take from it; or at least I’m trying, for some values of I.
There’s one scrape a little larger than the others, it developed a red swelling around it, which had disappeared by this morning. The swelling had a similar shape to the wound, but it was much larger, and it was displaced, not evenly distributed around the wound. In effect it was like a shadow of a walking man cast from behind him against a far wall by a streetlamp he had just passed by.
The part of the wound that is left has three layers: the diamond-shaped tear in the skin, the rawer, healing red layer of under-skin exposed, and at the center of that, a deeper crater that looks like a tiny eye.
Retrospectively, it’s a little terrifying that I lost control of myself so completely. Imagine, what if I had swung at a person instead? Couldn’t it have happened that way?
The following could reassure me, but somehow doesn’t: what I was feeling at the moment I took the swing wasn’t the anger, but the glee, the pure, free joy of expressing that anger. That thought could reassure me, because I, taking me for me, I can’t freely express my anger like that on a person. If I expressed it, I wouldn’t be acting freely. I would be under control of my anger. People aren’t blank slates for my expression, the way that things I can’t damage can be.
But it doesn’t make me feel better, because it’s a new problem: if it feels so pleasant, who knows where it might take me next time, that free spirit, that glee. Since pleasant isn’t even the right word. I just felt liberated, in that moment, and I am afraid of that freedom. How far it took me, in one quick moment, before it left me so completely.