(Fiction: because that de-escalated quickly!)
I wag my finger in your face with clenched fist and acid gut, grinding my teeth around bitter tongue. I decide that I cannot control me, so I will attempt to control you with twisted words and accusation.
But you don’t respond how I want you to: you just watch.
I stand taller with stuffy back and wounded mind. I crack my neck and bore into your soul with lit eyes: I cannot control me, so I will attempt to control you with more twisted words and accusation.
But you don’t respond how I want you to: “you just keep listening—it’s frustrating!” I say. “Why won’t you bite?!”
I dig my heels in; jaw set. “How dare you stand there so smugly in your perceived rightness?! How dare you act as though you’re better than me! I am right and you are wrong! Things simply must be done as I have said!”
But you don’t respond how I want you to: “why don’t you take the bait?!” I say. “I’m inviting you into a fight! I want a fight! Do as I say, or you’ll be sorry… I’ll… I’ll…”
And then you have the audacity to say: “Are you ok?”
“Am I ok?! Do I look ok to you?! I’m pissed because…”
And then you step into my protective space, and say nothing. Nothing!
“What?!” I yell. “What do you want from me?!”
And then you say the one thing I don’t want you to: “You. I want you!”
“Why did you say that?” I say. “You’re so stupid! You already have me!”
And then you blindside me: “No, I don’t,” you say gently. “I have your busyness, your drive, and your resentment. I have your need to please, your need to be needed, your need to control, and your need to stress. I have your distractions, your anger, and your jealousy… but I don’t have you.”
“What?” I blink.
“Where are you? You are hiding under all that… stuff! Come out, come out, wherever you are!” you say.
I know you’re being genuine. It scares me when you’re genuine because I don’t feel safe enough in this world to be genuine. You seem to sense this.
“Sit with me and watch the ducks,” you say. “We can just enjoy the stillness for a while.”
“But I was just—“
“Please sit,” you say.
So I do. And we sit beside the pond and watch the ducks.