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By Lisa Buscani

My emotions are a fat and pampered lot. I carry them with me like old women hold small dogs. I knit them sweaters, give them their own seat at restaurants, feed them on a steady diet of indulgence and exposure. Is my happiness hungry? Does my depression-wession need anything? Him such a good little black cloud, yes him is.

But of all of the emotions I hold close to me, I think I love my anger the best. It is a vibrant, frightening thing, my anger; a whip of blinding light, a smack flat on the bridge of the nose; a sensation that is both delicious and annoying. But I love it because, as the song says, anger is an energy. If you harness it right, it can change things, it can take you places. And that's why I love my anger. Oh, the places we go.

Like that one time, on the subway. My boyfriend and I know they're trouble before they step on the train. As we pull in I see them arguing on the platform, he bends at the waist with a finger in her face, spitting and punctuating, as she leans back and looks down sullenly. She tries to break away and walk toward the train and he grabs her shoulder and whips her around for a few final words. Then he grudgingly releases her and they get on.

But we aren't out of the station before it starts again. He starts yelling at her in Spanish, which heightens the tension because we know he's mad but we don't know why. He yells and yells, she looks at the floor, popping in with a couple of quiet retorts that we don't even hear much less understand. He hears them though, and he punches her in the face, twice. She doesn't cry. She stares at him, then turns and stares out the window.

And oh. And oh. Here it comes, here it comes, my anger. Unsettling and exquisite, clenching my stomach and prickling up each bone rung of spine to the base of my neck where it stings and stings, burning my eyes, weighting my throat, my smile drawn back in rictus, release give me release. And it's so easy, so easy to give in to it because it commands all my attention. It's all I feel, all I WANT to feel.

I sit across from them, watching and rocking. I am seething and he sees me staring at him.

"You gotta problem with me?'

And it's on, it's on, the beast sees the meat in the killing ground, ARRRRGH!

"Yeah, I got a problem. You need to keep your fuckin' hands to yourself."

And he looks stunned, like I verbally pepper-sprayed him. He looks like he isn't used to resistance, like he always gets what he wants without too much effort and he hates me for making him sweat.

"This is not your business."

"You made it my business when you punched her twice right in front of me."

And then he says, "This is how white people get hurt."

And I'm thinking "Suck my clit, you mean-hearted nightmare wetback," But I was just thinking that. No, the key is harnessing it, controlling it. So instead I say,

"Color's got nothing to do with it. You need to keep your hands off her. And you know what? She shouldn't go home with you."

"Oh, she's coming home with me! She's coming home with me!" He stands up and starts to come at me. And the boyfriend leans forward. Just leans. The boyfriend is an emotional minimalist.

"You need to sit down, pal."

"But she --"

"You need to sit down. Watch your mouth."

The man sits back down. Unfolds his hands. Folds and unfolds them. And he stares at me for the entire trip and I stare right back because I am good, I am righteous, me and my anger. Think of winged seraphim flying by divine right, mighty steeds on their hind legs, rising with marble warriors on their backs. Think of patrician women with roman noses and flowing togas blind to evil, that's how right I am, you bastard. I am . . .

A complete and utter idiot. I see the girlfriend staring at the window for the entire ride. I'm an idiot. Because you know what I did. She's going to get it now, worse. Whatever she was headed for, now it'll be worse. And you know she's heard it before, over and over from her family, from her friends. Here I am some dumb woman with no investment in this thinking that I can help her hear it. I'm an idiot. Anger is an energy, yessir.

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