Anger, and Mercy, and the Spaces between our hearts


The quality of mercy is not strain’d
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes…

Shakespeare – The Merchant of Venice 4.1

Sam sat in a ceramic explosion. But as soon as he saw me, his vampire grin turned to dust  “I was so angry.”

“Is this why you called me?” I scowled from the door.

“Yes.” He made fists and pounded the carpet. “I was so angry, and I smashed Pandy!”

His beloved panda bank was tonight’s victim. “There’s not much we can do but clean him up and throw him away.”

“No!” Sam leapt up bawling. “Please! I need something to remember him by.”

Sam has an innate ability to work sophisticated words and phrases into his conversations with perfect usage. His mood disorders are real, but they don’t somehow supersede the Asperger’s. It all works together in his body, and sometimes, like last night, it all works against him. He’s a smasher. An impulsive destroyer of objects. His destructive capabilities far outstrip his self-control.

But here’s the thing. So am I. I like to throw telephones. How many of our early dates did Scott spend reassembling the cordless phone I had just hurled against my parquet floor? How often did he take it on faith that my fury had nothing to do with him and everything to do with the English department?

“Maybe I can glue some parts back together,” I told my son.

“Would you?”

 “I’ll try.”

Scott ferried me pieces as he found them, and I reassembled Pandy shard at a time. My fingers were superglued together before I completed the first match, and I left skin behind at every turn thereafter.

Sam stared until he got bored; then he slunk off to the living room. “Watch him,” I told Scott. We both knew the dog, a constant victim of our son’s temper, was on the new couch.

After barely five minutes, I heard. “Sam, let Chewie have his … bone.”

“That pause sounded bad.” I looked for someplace to wipe my fingers that wouldn’t leave me permanently affixed.

“Almost. How’d you see that go in, buddy?”

“It was shiny.”

“What happened?” I gave up trying to clean my hands and held them away from my body as I ran for the living room.

“Look at that.” Scott extended a battery to me. “Sam pulled it out of Chewie’s throat.”

“The hell you say.” I gave my son an all-elbows hug.

“Last week the Skittles. This week, the corrosive acid. He could have killed himself.” Scott embraced Sam, too, and I returned to the bear.

Finally, I said, “Son of a bitch,” to nobody in particular.

“Now what’s wrong?”

“I’m pretty impressed, actually. Do you know you found me every single goddamned piece?”

I brought out the bear, and Sam smiled, his eyes blessing me, answering a prayer I didn’t know I carried in my heart.



About jesterqueen:
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.


Anger, and Mercy, and the Spaces between our hearts — 24 Comments

  1. An incredibly well-written post. It had me captivated through each line. I love the connection you draw between yourself and Sam–hurling phones instead of pandas. It instantly makes the piece relatable. Who doesn’t smash things every once in a while? But I mostly love your use of language: “He’s a smasher. An impulsive destroyer of objects. His destructive capabilities far outstrip his self-control.”

    Just magnificently written. Thanks for sharing this sweet family moment.
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  2. Nicely done, Mama. I’ve only ever broken one thing in anger. I make up for the lack with the cost of said item. 🙂

    Your writing is beautiful. Now that I’ve met you, I imagine your voice when I read.
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  3. Oh Jessie, this is so heart-wrenching and heart-tugging at the same time, I found myself listening to you tell me this story, right here, ‘The hell you say’, heard every syllable.

    I used to throw lots of things, even through my engagement ring at John once, in total frustration. I haven’t broken something in a long time (maybe I should do that and release the angst)

    but that said, you finding all the pieces is poetic, the glue holding it all together , the image is making my eyes swim in tears. This was just…well beautiful and important. Important because you remembered it and wrote it down, important to us now, because we read it.
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  4. Ive never been a breaker of things but I do understand the level of fury to do so…what a great story…you captured such remorse from the little guy…

  5. I’m glad you were able to piece Pandy back together, and that Chewie was okay. Like LIsa, I imagined your voice as I read this.
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  6. It looks like you did an amazing job. Well done you.

    That sudden rage is tough to control – it’s good for his sake that you understand that, however frustrating the fallout.
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  7. I love that you were able to mend Pandy back together. I know that anger as a kid, destroying something you love so, and then instantaneously regretting it. You are such a good mom to piece things back together. Next to that prayer in your heart is a lot of love.
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  8. You can’t control the anger but you can alleviate the regret that the loss of a favorite object will bring. Great job mom..both writing and mending

  9. I love how the story about the battery came right in the middle of the story about the smashing. Something broken, something saved, and something put right back together. There is so much optimism in this post, I want to read it over and over again.
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  10. When I was much younger, I used to really enjoy the sound of breaking glass when I was angry, or upset. As a result my mom got new glasses every couple of months. There is still something soothing to me, when I am angry, about the sound of breaking glass. It probably acts like a chi ball for Sam, and with each explosive throw, some of the abundant energy that he feels dissipates.

    Batteries in bellies are no good though. I wonder how long it would have taken to begin fading away into the rest of the goodies in the tummy? Odd thing for the dog to eat too, would Sam feed something like that to him?

    Great read, from a determined parent!
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  11. I really loved your honesty. This is one of my favorite posts this week. You did a great job not only in the writing, but putting it back together and your handling of everything.
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  12. Tender, loving, dynamic, poignant (are you rolling your eyes yet?) piece. Gut appeal aplenty, plus beautiful writing. Thanks for sharing.

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