Someone once said to me, “anger is always the second emotion” and while I nodded then, it wasn’t until recently when I was sitting alone on a pleasant winter evening that I realised what they had meant.
The realisation came like a breeze and the leaves that are dropped in it. Like the breeze, the realisation came unannounced. It made itself home, and then, the leaves fell all at once, ending their journey.
I realised I had been angry too. I had been angry for a while now. I had been angry at myself for leaving little pieces of myself in other people, and I had been angry at them for leaving parts of themselves with me. I was angry at them for leaving.
It made me furious — not knowing what they’d do to the pieces of me, or what I’d do to theirs. We were all linked in this interconnected web of the most pointless exchange in the universe, and I was angry. I was angry at its futility.
Then, the breeze picked up again. As it lifted the leaves, I dropped a piece of my anger on it, like I’d throw a pebble. To my surprise, it carried it with itself and didn’t look back. So, I did it every day. Every day, I’d sit there. Every day, the breeze would come. Every day, I’d chip a small piece into it. Months passed.
Until one day, the breeze came like it always did, and right before I picked a piece, I realised it was different. I looked at the piece I was holding, and I remembered who it belonged to so I smiled.
The breeze was baffled but it stayed for a while, waiting patiently for me to drop the piece. It didn’t discriminate between the pieces but I did. I held on to this one.
I scoured my bag and I realised the anger was all gone, chipped slowly into nothingness. Only pieces of people remained — pieces they had entrusted me with good faith — colourful and each different from the last. I let the breeze go.
I still get angry every now and then. So, I sit where the breeze arrives, and I empty my bag. I don’t know if the breeze visits the others, or if they threw the pieces of me into it ever, but I have it on good authority that if they were angry, they too would learn what the breeze taught me.
Anger may be the second emotion, but it was always the first to go.