Primer, by Paxton Robel
Rage can get in the way, cloud judgments. It can make you do stupid things. It can make you do things you regret.
To avoid that, I bottle it up. Neatly jam all my anger into a corner inside my psyche and force it to sit, ignored. Sometimes bottles break, though. They shatter, which is why you find yourself sitting on the floor in the basement of your own house, refusing to scream because your husband won’t understand and your friends have long left you and you’re forcing yourself to think about what can be done rather than what is being done to you.
Sometimes a few shatter at once. Then you take a shower and scrub your skin raw because you need to feel something. And you start with one leg and then move to the next and then realize what the fuck you’re doing and begin to sob and keep doing it anyway. Moving from your legs, to your arms, to your torso. Scrubbing away with one of those bath puffs until you feel the first layer of skin peel away. When you finish, you see angry red marks up and down your body and you cry harder because you hate what you did and you hate what you’ve become and you hate what you let him do to you. You’re slim and pretty and nothing but some cock-tease whose bluff got called. Why the hell didn’t he just make it easy and kill you after he finished destroying you?
Another broken bottle and you have anorexia. The supreme art of control. Who needs food when water fills you up just as easily and much more cheaply than food ever will? And college is the ideal place to starve oneself since no one really sees you anyway.
Then graduation, and jobs and relationships in the real world and you bottle things up again. This time, in plastic, three-liter jugs. Stronger and better able to bounce when things get too tough. Women are strong. We have to be, no matter how alone we are. We can’t whimper and cry and dissolve into nothing, not when our men depend on us.
Now we don’t have shattering as an issue: we get overcrowding. Plastic doesn’t shatter. Fill another bottle and push it into the corner.
I would imagine, though, that even plastic has its boiling point.