I slammed the door, even though no one was in the house to hear it. Just my dad, working out in the garage like he always does. How can a couple motorcycles need that much maintenance anyways? What about me?
I wanted to punch a wall. And break my hand in the process. Then he’d feel sorry.
But the reality of that awkward age between naïve kindergartener and rebellious teenager is that you aren’t afforded many possibilities when it comes to dealing with your emotions.
So I shut myself up in the only space I had, my corner room with the tiny latch put on the door to give an illusion of security. And I looked around, not even knowing what for.
I saw a giant stuffed bear, weary with age, that we had gotten at a garage sale. I saw picture frames full of a younger me, fishing or hiking or playing baseball, doing those things more for him than for me. I saw the precariously large Lego set that I had saved up for months to buy. And I saw a solitary juggler’s ball.
There was my target.
My dad knew how to juggle, and he had tried to teach me once. They were a Christmas gift from Grandpa Phil, and the instant the last shred of wrapping paper was pulled off we had opened them. All I remember was my hands being too small to do it.
This juggling ball didn’t mean anything to me before this moment. But now it was my target, and I pounced.
I flung it to the ground, as hard as I could. Over and over. The seams between the patches of blue and yellow and red began to wear. Again, harder still. I wanted it to break open and spill out all over the room, cover every inch.
But it wasn’t that easy. The ball wouldn’t just split, it was made to stay together through such torment. So I looked around again. There’s gotta be something I can use.
The nearest thing I can find is a little plastic pen. I aim for the seams and stab. Nothing. Again. Again. There! Little pink and blue beads spill out.
I thought it would be satisfying to see that ball bleed pink and blue. But it wasn’t. Even though I was alone, I felt embarrassed for some reason. This wasn’t me, I don’t do these kinds of things. I was the calm one, the mature one, never any trouble, I remember a teacher saying once. And now, this? Now I couldn’t even learn to juggle if I wanted to. I wished I hadn’t done it. I wished it would just go away. So I swept the remains with my hand into a CD case and zipped it shut. And didn’t open it for many years.