Actually written on the 3rd of September. For some reason only uploaded now. Soz. In any case, the first line is taken from the list of story openers provided by that creative writing group I attended ages ago.
The girl looked frightened…as well she might. None who know me purely as an acquaintance, or for a relatively brief period, would suspect that I had such a ferocity within me. Mostly I managed to keep the rage hidden, below the social veneer of an affable, easy-going, chilled-out persona. When witnessing the volcanic eruptions for the first time, the most common reaction I would see on the faces of the victims was one of shock and disbelief. That, and outright terror.
This response always surprised me. I am not, by any measure, an intimidating physical presence. I have the braun of a stick insect with the combat skills to match. I go to great lengths to avoid conflict, argument and social tension. I aim, on the whole, to achieve a calm and relaxed interaction with my fellow man. Anything for a quiet life, as the saying goes.
My friends – those I’ve known the longest, at any rate – are familiar with my outbursts by now. That doesn’t mean that they have got used to it or tolerate it in any way; when I lose the plot on occasion, they tell me in no uncertain terms that my behaviour is unacceptable and warn me about my future conduct. Always nicely, always sympathetically. They are adept at taking the wind out of my storm-hit sails with such action, and know exactly how to handle these sporadic fits of pique. That’s why they’ve remained my friends, I guess.
Back to the girl. Her lip was quivering – I knew, too late, that I had overstepped the mark. Gone beyond the point of no return. Again. Tears began to issue forth…yet another woman reduced to weeping by my inability to control my mood swings. There was nothing I could do now. The damage was done. Like a genie released from a lamp, my fury had become a known quantity. Apologies might soothe the injury this time, but henceforth she would always wonder, always worry, always second-guess; ‘When will he next go off? Should I handle him with kid-gloves or respond in kind?’ Far more likely she would cut her losses and simply abandon me entirely.
I am not quite a lost cause.
It just feels that way sometimes.
Solidarity, brothers & sisters...☮