AGGRESSION


As a young child, she was shy; at eight, bold.  As an adolescent, shy again although this time the shyness was a pose.  After college she was so grateful to be done with school that at the supermarket she let people cut in front of her on line.  Once she found a job and was obliged to work only for a paycheck rather than a blessing or condemnation of her soul, her confidence bloomed.  She asserted her rights on supermarket lines and encouraged her child to speak his mind.

A spate of killings took place of people who had asserted their rights and spoken their minds.  She explained to her child the ways in which the world had changed.  He forgot or was overcome with anger and spoke his mind to an eleven-year-old with a knife.  She took him home.  The next time someone got in front of her on line at the supermarket, she submitted once more.  The man had been joking and restored to her her place.  She did not know how to drive and was afraid that if she learned, she would assert her rights with the wrong drivers.

For there were unruly rebels in her mind which she suppressed not out of hypocrisy so much as consideration.  Alone, she indulged fantasies of mayhem.  Only the walls and pillows were privy to them.  It was a performance out of Strindberg.

She has observed that the personality of the old is often the negative of the earlier personality.  Sweet people reveal mean thoughts; criminals, regret.  Gogetters relax; ne'er-do-wells learn Russian.  She envisions herself an old woman, her cortex deteriorating.  The rebels take over or at least have their say.  She becomes like the portrait of Dorian Gray, her true self emerging in the pentimento effect of aging.  The truths she exposes are hideous for beyond that lies tragedy.  Revealed as revolting, she is reviled.

If this happens and she manages to avoid getting shot, she will at least disillusion those who had been taken in by her earlier, gentle philosophy.