But Brittney’s rage simmered just beneath the surface, and there were times when it almost bubbled over.
When she was frustrated. When things didn’t go her way. When she was short on time.
She would snap at a classmate who would then look at her, frozen, eyes wide.
She quickly smothered her uglier impulses, apologized as sweetly as she could, and said it must be her “monthlies”. Good thing no one was keeping track of her little flares of temper, because they would have noticed there were times when they were spread out throughout the month. Talk about your menstruation and no one questions you.
It helped that Brittney didn’t really have friends, so no one ever witnessed her lose her composure more than once. And when she did happen to lose her cool more than once a month, she was extra careful to take precautions.
Brittney thought of it like the boiler in The Shining (one of her favorite books): she had to release the pressure on her anger every so often, or it would build up until she exploded. She couldn’t afford to explode. For a woman to lose her temper in public was for that woman to put herself in danger. And Brittney refused to put herself in any more danger than she was already in.
Brittney’s safety valve was writing. She would take a notebook and write down everything she was thinking. She would describe, in detail, every awful thing she thought of her father. Every awful thing she wanted to do to him for hurting her. To her mother for letting him. To her teachers and classmates for assuming she was weak. She tortured and slaughtered them all with ink again and again.
Then she burned the pages.
To be continued…