far too much writing, far too many photos

[continued from entry of 9/21]

Alicia eventually opened the door partway, blinking as if half asleep. Not yet understanding the turn her evening had taken. Rod shoved the door open, pushed her aside, stormed into the apartment, I followed. He began yelling, working himself up into a genuine state, Alicia trying without success to piece together a coherent response, me watching it all, waiting. And at some point, Alicia’s verbal stumblings incensed Rod enough that his hand whipped out, slapping her, her mouth dropping open as her head jerked back, eyes opening wide with surprise. I found myself going at him then — this despite him having several inches and 30 or 40 pounds on me — my perspective of the room suddenly shifting as we wound up on the floor, rolling over and over while we grappled until he came up against the wall.

Alicia got us to stop the wrestling, the only evidence of round 1 a small hole in the wall plaster left by the heel of one of Rod’s shoes. And the event continued in that veing — bouts of verbal chaos giving way to stupid moments of physical grappling. I have a memory of the three of us in the kitchen, he and I locked in a combative stance, holding each other’s shirts, his other hand brandished as if he were going to try and lay me out, my hand locked on his arm, turning the moment into a stalemate, despite his threatening rantings.

Sometime later, Alicia got me to leave so they could talk — her the only person who had actually been struck, despite all the showy physical goofiness between Rod and I. No one bore any wounds or physical marks, despite all the hooha.

Rod calmed down in the weeks that followed, eventually pairing up with a student from the department, the two of them ultimately tying the knot. Alicia and I remained a pair — a mismatched pair, it became clear with time — until she got a teaching job at a university in West Virginia and relocated to that part of the world.

And life moved on.

Fight #4: Much shorter story. Or at least I’m going to keep it short. For two reasons: (a) it was so fast, it hardly qualifies, and (b) it digs into family history whose earth doesn’t need to be turned.

What I’ll say is this: it involved my oldest brother, a guy substantially older than me. We didn’t have much of a relationship until I hit high school, when he apparently thought I’d become old enough (and thereby conscious enough) to be worth the effort. What connection we had turned out to be a rollercoaster ride, him often manifesting a sharp-edged insistence that he had the right to behave however he wanted in relation to me. An attitude I grew less tolerant of as years passed.

And of course our dynamic cut in both directions — we both combined to produce it. One of the last times I saw him, my clear refusal to accept his attitude of sovereignty had shifted into active assertiveness of me being me — at times unnecessarily so, I’m sure. Which produced sparks, finally resulting in a moment when he physically attacked me, a scuffle that passed like the ones with Rod, brief grappling, me essentially holding off an assault, blows threatened but none connecting. Flaring up then over almost as soon as it started, the old man rushing to the doorway as the action stopped, angrily aghast, then putting a hand against the wall, bowing his head, the other hand against his forehead for a moment before pulling himself together to yell at his two sons in furious amazement.

And that is essentially it. Four brief bouts, none serious enough to produce cuts, bruises, shiners, puffy lips. Nothing, really, compared to some folks’ history.

Which is fine with me.

*************

Primal sentiments from an anonymous slacker — the Langdon Street Bridge, Montpelier, Vermont:

Madrid, te echo de menos.

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