This week we have four stories of ill-temperments from Shane Guthrie, Linda M. Crate, Debbie Felio, and myself. Four very different instances of temper tantrums told in four very unique styles. Interestingly enough, all four stories happen to feature adults as the distempered.
My voice hurt from growling at you
To go to sleep
To be quiet
To lie still
You were screaming at me, and writhing around
You were kicking me and following me
When I tried to calm down
In the living room
But I was the adult, so it is mine to apologize
Leftovers for Jan
Linda M. Crate
Didn’t they say temper tantrums were for peevish children that weren’t getting their way? Asia shook her head as she looked at her husband laying on the floor screaming, and pounding his fists. She knew that he was tired and he had a lot of stress on his shoulders but so did she.
She was a teacher in addition to being a wife and mother. She just hadn’t felt like cooking, and didn’t see why her statement would illicit such a reaction from her husband. Her kids didn’t throw a fit about leftover night so she wasn’t so sure why a grown man was displaying such childish behavior.
“Mom, what’s wrong with dad?” her nine-year-old asked.
“I don’t know, honey. Perhaps the stress of his job caused him to lose his mind, but he is acting worse than either yourself or your brothers ever did,” she told her daughter.
This seemed to sober her husband Jan up really quickly. He pulled himself off the floor, and brushed himself off, blushing profusely. “I’m going to go take a shower and cool off.”
“You do that,” Asia snorted, watching him as he walked away. She then turned to her daughter. “So how was your day today? Do anything exciting at school today?”
“If falling on your face during soccer in gym class counts as exciting then sure. I hate that I am so bad at sports. There are other girls in my class that are so impressive at sports, and then there’s me tripping over my own two feet. What a joke, huh?”
“I don’t think you’re a joke. We all have different talents and abilities, honey. That’s what makes us all so special and different from one another.”
“Maybe,” her daughter sighed. “I just wish I had better hand-eye coordination.”
“Well, maybe your brothers could help you practice after dinner.”
“Ew, no, Jamie, you’re a lost cause.”
“Yeah, you really suck.”
“Like really, really suck.”
“Boys, be nice to your sister. You can help her practice soccer. She used to help change your diapers, and she never complained. She used to read you books before bed, too, sometimes.”
“Geez, mom, you’re so embarrassing!”
“It’s my job as a mom,” Asia winked.
Her husband came downstairs a few minutes later pulling some meatloaf out of the fridge, reheating it in the microwave.
“Feeling better, dad? Your temper tantrum was a bit scary.”
Jan rubbed the back of his head, clearly embarrassed. “Yes, daddy just didn’t handle the stress of his job very well, but he’s doing better now.”
“That’s good because mom says we have to help Jamie learn how to play soccer and she’s pretty hopeless. We’re going to need your help, too.”
“Don’t be mean to your sister, you know she used to change your diapers, right?”
“Mom said the same thing,” grumbled one of the boys.
“Well, maybe you should listen your mother then,” Jan winked.
“Best advice I’ve ever heard you give,” Asia grinned.
Throwing a tantrum is so classless
when there can be so much more harm
done with less crassness
you don’t have to look the crazy
to do the crazy and with enough charm
to make it all hazy
you’re enraged at what ever = it doesn’t even matter
keep your cool and at the party
on her spill the shrimp and sauce platter – oops
the seats on the flight are too narrow to flip
her long curls over your tray
so make a gradual four inch snip – so sorry
he’s late again, you can’t raise a stink
his whites with the reds
now he’s in the pink – oh, dear
In the parking lot the sports car took the last 3
spaces for nongreen cars
walk slowly beside it with your own sharp key – la di da
passed over at work – no place to shout
put on your hoodie with a pair of gloves
and pull the fire alarm on your way out – whee
The gossip about you is too much to cope
send a well-timed letter to the culprit
“Personal! HIV test results” on the envelope. ohhh
There’s so much more evil in creativity
without showing your intention
you can get even and keep your pretty. you’re welcome!
The Locked Door
There was an empty bottle of sake outside the locked bedroom door. I had been at work all day in the neighboring city and was bone-tired. After I knocked on the door without a response, I went to the other side of the house to check on the kids. I opened the door and saw that they had fallen asleep in a huddle in my eldest son’s bed. I returned to deal with the locked door. We were staying at my parent’s old house until we got on our feet, giving me the advantage. I knew how to make those particular doorknobs give way.
Successful after a minute with the screwdriver, I walked through the master bedroom to the bathroom where my husband sat on the floor, back against the sink cabinets.
“What’s going on?” I asked. He just shook his head slowly back and forth.
I tried to be patient but eventually, in my exhaustion, said, “This is ridiculous.”
“Ridiculous? I am being ridiculous? No,” he stood, swaying on his feet like a boxer about to take a punch, “you are the ridiculous one.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Why don’t you think about what you did today? Huh? Like who did you talk to, huh?”
“I was at work. All day. I talked to you during my lunch break. I don’t understand what you are upset about.”
“You had quite the chat with him.”
“Yes, him. Ah, you remembered, huh? Yeah, yeah, I know.” And he glanced over at the computer screen where my Facebook page was still open. My conversation with my friend from high school was up in the right bottom corner.
“But we didn’t talk about anything,” I protested.
“Yeah, but I told you not to talk to him. That I don’t like him.”
“You don’t really know him. He’s just a friend. I mean, look…”.
I turned to walk over to the computer, thinking that if we just looked at the conversation rationally then he would see how insignificant it was but as I took a step, I was grabbed from behind. He threw me against the open door so hard that the hinges were pulled clean from the doorframe. Shocked but somehow I managed to get to my feet and rush into the living room.
The alcohol slowed him down and so when I saw his fist, I had enough time to move out of the way. The impact against the plaster wall created a small spider web fracture. I ran through the kitchen, barricading myself behind the laundry room’s slatted door. I listened for his heavy footsteps coming my way; instead I heard the front door open and slam shut. I had the car keys in my pocket: he couldn’t get far.
After the silence remained unbroken for over five minutes, I went to the kids’ room, locking the door behind me. I climbed into bed with them and my youngest daughter grabbed onto my arm.
Eyes closed and mostly asleep still, she whispered, “Dad’s been having temper tantrums all day.” I kissed her downy head and put my free arm across the others, trying to stop shaking so I wouldn’t wake them all.