Why are you so angry, she accuses me. She is slightly drunk, having yelled at me in the middle of the restaurant and again on the street. I walk calmly to my car as people all around us stare. I say that I am not angry, but that I am not going to let you treat me badly anymore. She throws words like immature and sanctimonious at me. She plays the victim card again - all my life I’ve had to take care of you children, when your brother was in the hospital... I cut her off.
It’s not anger. It’s standing up for the little girl who was too afraid to say anything. You were not the only one, I say. There were four other people that were hurting, being hurt. She has told me on several occasions that she doesn’t want to know me anymore. I feel guilty because she is 80 years old. This may be the last time I see her. But I will not back down. Am I angry? Perhaps. But it doesn’t feel like anger. It feels like empowerment. You never apologise, I say. For what? she yells. For when you were suicidal she sneers. You called me 11, 12 times to tell me you were suicidal. So, I ask, why didn’t you help?
I realise I am angry. I can no longer keep silent for the sake of keeping the peace. Because my soul, my self worth is on the line. You did your damage to me when I was little, I think, but I am little no more. You stand there, throwing gasoline on the fire, and then innocently stand back and ask why everyone is so upset. I have my own daughter now. I can’t imagine saying the things to her that you said to me. You yell at me, you don’t know what it’s like, you have the perfect child. In my mind, I think, you did too. You just never saw it.
I am very angry.
Later when I am alone I remember that this argument and all the others - they don’t matter. What matters is my anger. And that anger is a misplaced part within me that I need to heal. It doesn’t matter what she says. The thing to concentrate on is not her and her words, but how I feel. In my gut I feel rage. And the rage is the thing that I need to heal or I will never be free. So I sit and close my eyes and breathe and watch the rage go from white hot to blazing orange to a dull yellow and then to nothing. And I feel my anger go from a 10 to an 8 to a 5 then...calm. And I realise the important thing is that I can heal myself, bring myself back to a place of calm, without an apology or outside influence. The important thing is not that anyone is right or wrong. The important thing is peace.