By Glen Bawan
A painting of serene scenery portrays me for I have its tranquility. I am calm indeed. Yes, I’m calm, always calm. I haven’t been in any kind of fight since I was a child, or should I say since I was born, until the incident I will later divulge.
One thing I remember during my childhood days is that there was a bigger kid who always beat me after class and I didn’t fight back. I just let him do what he wanted. That was both why I always got my face beaten and why my mother always asked me what the hell happened. Every time she asked me, I only remained silent, not uttering a single word or sound. She didn’t even saw or heard me cry. Yes, I didn’t cry. I hated crying in front of others especially my family. And about that kid who…Oh! I didn’t even hate that kid who punched my face, until I had an epiphany.
All those years I realized I was wrong. I was completely wrong! Since I was a child, I repressed my emotions—sadness and joy, hatred and love, and especially my anger. It was the reason why I was always calm. I hid my emotions to everyone. That time, I really hated the kid who used to punch me in the face. I was furious that I wanted to fight back and blow him right into his soul that even all the devils in hell would be petrified! And the times my mother asked me what happened, I wanted to weep and tell her all what happened that even all the angels in heaven would hear my misery and get their sympathy! But I couldn’t. I regulated my emotions to cope in every situation. Repressing my anger made me dream all night about killing that kid with my bare hands which I used to believe as nightmares.
My feelings were repressed rather than expressed, and for all the years I repressed it, I found the time to feed my starved emotions. But still the tranquility remained, which I can expel any time I want, to unleash the beast inside me—my wrath.
Years passed and my life changed in some ways but I was still the calm person before. I had a normal life. Three months after I graduated college, I moved out from my parents. I worked in an office only a few kilometers from where I live now. I got friendly attitude towards my colleagues but not to my ill-tempered boss. I hate that irascible man! Yes, I despise that man! Now you see I’m not hiding my feelings anymore. Also, I hate noise for I’m a quiet person. I hate the traffic noise, the inconsiderate honking of horns, and the noise produced by a detrimental soul. The latter, which I always heard in our workplace, irritated me every time I heard it.
Every day was peaceful day until my boss scolds me. He shouted at me like I was his own child, angry for failing him. It was like a typical office scene on TV where the boss scolds the employee. Maybe he was being a perfectionist. I did nothing wrong to him but he scorned me.
He greeted me every morning with profanity. Profanity was the sugar of my everyday coffee. Every sip of my coffee, there was an equal curse. One morning, he furiously slammed a pile of papers on my desk. He ranted at me, demanded that I should finish it until 5—5 PM sharp. I did not continue to listen. I made myself calm and relax, breathed heavily a few times, saying the mantra in my head ‘keep calm, keep calm.’ I remained silent and calm, but I was annoyed for he didn’t know how to speak calmly and politely. But I was still calm.
I got used of his everyday ranting but my hatred for him grew. In spite of his aggressiveness, I still always made myself calm. But in my mind, I was already holding a knife, stabbing him right in his chest. He complained about everything—from small things to big things, simple to complex, trivial to important. He was indeed meticulous but in an awful way.
The humiliation and cursing continued, I always got scorned and devalued. He wrecked my self-worth without knowing that he just fed the beast inside me. It feeds and grows on every curse and humiliation I get. It got bigger and bigger as he made my self-worth smaller.
One typical day at the office, while all the people were busy and moving and walking fast as if they were rushing for the last trip of a bus, a colleague of mine greeted me a good morning. As what I usually did, I smiled and greeted her a good morning too. She was nice. As we parted ways, she walked to her desk, slowly, because she was holding a cup of coffee. She didn’t notice our boss was walking towards her, and he didn’t also notice her walking. He was busy talking on the phone and not looking on his way. Consequently, they bumped each other and she accidentally spilled the cup of coffee on his shirt. Shocked and nervous, she tried to clean it with her handkerchief, apologizing even though it wasn’t all her fault. He raised his hands and made a gesture trying to stop what she was doing. She kept on apologizing but it seemed that our boss got angrier.
The hot-tempered man reached his boiling point.
He slapped her, cursed her relentlessly, humiliated and wrecked her dignity.
I did nothing but to watch her unfortunate situation—the humiliation. She cried and covered her face for she has already no face to show because of the humiliating incident. Can you imagine that in just a single mistake, you would become unworthy of respect? But she doesn’t deserve it. And no one deserves to be treated such way. No one!
I wanted to help her at that moment, but I couldn’t. Not that I didn’t want to risk my job, but I thought it was still not the perfect time yet, the perfect time to unleash the wrathful beast.
Days after that, the happening was still in my mind. I saw myself on her being humiliated, being battered when I was a child up to the humiliation I always got from our boss. All of these flashed backed in my mind as if it were movie scenes, and all of these fed the beast. Then it came to the moment where the beast was already full, hungry no more; ready to be unleashed and ready to express itself; a bomb ready to be detonated. This is the incident that I will divulge.
I didn’t plan it; I simply let the things flow. But I found a good timing and I can say it was a perfect timing. I saw an opening and I grabbed the opportunity with no hesitations. It all happened on a single day.
That was, again, a typical morning at the office—same atmosphere, same people, and same attitudes towards each other. But I felt different that day and I didn’t think much about it anyway. I sat on my chair, got myself ready, and continued the yesterday’s unfinished works. I grabbed my cup of coffee and waited for its sugar—my boss’s profanity. Here again, the relentless ranting and cursing. And here I was again, keeping myself calm. He made me look like an idiot as he instructed me on how I should get the work done.
I started to become irritated by the sound created by the detrimental soul. I threw away all the things from my table…but it was only in my mind. How I wished I could do that! How I wished I could do that to release my anger. Then I remembered it wasn’t my job, it was the job of the beast inside me. I started to have evil thoughts as he continued to rant. His ranting only broke the chain of the wrathful beast. I saw its cage, the door ajar. I clenched my teeth as I thought of his demise.
I waited for him to stop but he didn’t. His mouth was like a train, the unpleasant words were relentless. I uttered a single sound, just a mumble, and finally it made him stop. He was outraged by it. Maybe he thought I disrespected him, and I do not usually do that every time he ranted at me. I didn’t know but I felt good knowing he got outraged by it. Then I thought of something that made him angrier.
I just smirked and he instantly flew into rage. I got his short temper. He saw the smirk of a devil, a devil that would hold him on the neck and would torture him forever. He needed to do something to prevent the devil so he fired me immediately. Yes, he fired me and I thought it was only because of that. And it was like, again, a typical scene on TV where the boss fires the employee. I felt nothing but fulfilled for the wrathful beast would be able to paint his masterpiece.
He said I must go to his office immediately and I went with no hesitations. There was strangeness when I entered his office. My sweat was cold and my hands were shaking. Was the beast calling me? Was the beast ready?
My boss, or should I say my former boss, was sitting on his chair and apparently not at ease. I didn’t know what was bothering him. Maybe he had foreseen the coming of the wrathful beast. I didn’t know. Only one thing I was sure of, that in any minute or second, the wrathful beast would break its chains and would devour everything on its way. Then my former boss started to rant about what happened earlier that day.
I tried to make myself calm but this time I couldn’t. I tried several times but I failed. I couldn’t make it. The beast wasn’t on its cage anymore. Every word and sound coming from him became more painful in my ears, and for the beast, those were whips on its back. We couldn’t stand it anymore!
I threw all the things from his table. This time, it wasn’t only in my mind. I did it, but I was still not contented. His eyes grew big. He didn’t expect I can do that. There was fear on his eyes for he saw a man with a wrathful beast inside. He was unable to speak, unable to utter even a single sound. His aggressiveness was lost; the beast took it away from him. He was now only a man covered with fear.
The beast insisted to finish our masterpiece so I grabbed the sharp pair of scissors on his desk and got a tight grip on it. His fear grew and I saw it as I walked towards him with the scissors in my hand. He shrieked in terror with the great fear still on his eyes. For the last time, I got irritated by the sound of that man so I went closer to him. He tried to stand from his chair but I immediately stabbed him on his chest a multiple times.
It doesn’t end up like this on TV. The wrathful beast was unleashed. The detrimental soul was silenced. And it was time to get the beast back again to its cage. I walked away calmly from his office with a smile on my face like nothing happened, for I was fulfilled for the masterpiece we have painted.
The painting of serene scenery has a secret, and the secret was revealed—the violence behind its serenity!
“Behind Serenity” © 2014 Glen Bawan
© Glen Bawan and Dark Narratives, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Glen Bawan and Dark Narratives with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.