Some time around puberty, I conceptualized as a physical presence inside of my body my angst, my anger, my fear, my hate, my dark yearnings, and my shame. I had visions and feelings of it growing inside of me like a cancer fed by the toxic spill of my emotions; bloody, pulpy, cartilaginous, pulsing, roundish, and with creeping black tendrils.

It would move between my gut and my chest, and I used to imagine cutting myself open and pulling it out, or that I could somehow cough it out, or that I could shit it out to be free of it. But as the years went by, I learned to live with it and its moods.

Sometimes it would be front and center in the middle of my chest, pulsing wildly, and I’d wonder, “HOW DOES NOBODY SEE THAT MY CHEST IS ABOUT TO EXPLODE LIKE THAT SCENE IN ALIEN?!?” Other times, most often in the shower, it would be a boa constrictor squeezing me, making me feel weak and hopeless, and I fervently wished I knew what it would take to get it out of me and run down into the sewer where it belonged.

And then there were the times it would be silent and unmoving, hiding like a tiger in the night waiting to pounce and devour its unsuspecting prey. Those quiet times bothered me the most because I could feel it if I went looking for it. It was solid but slightly yielding in that fleshy way of gristle.

Then a few years back, I noticed it was gone. No trauma knocked it out, no nirvana was acheived to banish it, no treatment cured it – it was just simply not there. I didn’t even notice when it left.

Beside the relief, I’m slightly vexed.

Was it ever really here? If so, where did it go? Why did it go? Was it something I did? Did it just find a new way to be sneaky and hide from me?

Will…will it come back?

Vexed, indeed.

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