Letter 7 – H—

When Olive is angry to the point of feeling helpless, she stands tall and stiff, fists balled, arms thrusting down, chin out and up. She grits her teeth and through them spits the meanest expression she muster at whichever of us she’s mad. In the shower two nights ago, it was you. “I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!” She can, in these states, articulate nothing but helpless anger.

I felt it tonight, her helplessness. I felt that anger at you as if I were Olive–felt betrayed and trapped and without recourse. I knew, like Olive knows, that no matter what I said or did, you weren’t listening. You weren’t changing your mind or the cool of your indifferent progress or digress. But I have, unlike Olive, no reassurance of familial affection and compassion at the cessation of sharp words. The tension only abates when one of us leaves.

You wouldn’t take from me the treatment you give me. You told me that. How insulted and small I felt. More and more I am convinced of your disregard for me; it’s working.

And I don’t know what to do–because I know that a seed, perhaps the seed of your anger and hurt, I planted long ago. And every stress and setback since seems to get tangled in the roots.

I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!

It doesn’t help at all.