There are two people you want dead right now-except one is already dead, but you want her to die again. A more painful one- like being pushed off the cliff and down she goes into the deep blue waters of the Pacific. She doesn't know how to swim, and that makes the climax more interesting to you. And for him, you want a cook's knife and his skin.
You don't have a mental disorder; you are not on Prozac or Alprazolam, and you definitely don't hallucinate- except when you find the scorpions crawling over your body. Their tiny legs like needles, more like arrows, poking at your crows' feet, your armpits, your collar bones, and then a sharp poke, like some pesky jumping cholla on your breast, stinging your nipples. You frantically seek the scorpion, only to find him in a faraway land in the Chinatown storytelling center or the Bloedel Conservatory, raising two girls now entering puberty. You wish(don't lie, it's more like a curse) the girl's scorpions who pinch them at their tender bellies, their soft cartilage, their chubby porcelain thighs, and their baby buds on their chest. After all, it's revenge; as they say, everything is fair in love and war. A war you did not start, a war you wish to end, except that you are now the only one on the battlefield accompanied by hundreds of scorpions. But you don't find him or him, or him. Time, like a heavy rug, one on top of another, has canceled every decibel of what once conspired and roared in your life. Nobody hears it anymore, even in the pin-drop silence, except you- and your ears that you shut but to no avail. Their voice, like a distorted electric guitar, growls in your ears, and you cover your breasts lest they invade them again as they did twenty-five years ago when you said no to the advances of his best friend.
"I'm sorry, I don't want this; please do not bother me again" was all you spoke, and five 11th-grade boys got against you. One day, at the end of recess, you are the only one in the girl's restroom. That's when they come. A snare you cannot escape. That's when it happens…five pairs of hands, five tarantulas, their pincers grab your breasts, they pinch, poke, prick, and then everything quietens. All that stays echoing in the restroom is -You don't say NO to my best friend. After a few minutes, you walk back to class.
It's Chemistry class, and Mrs.Despande is talking about acids- hydrochloric, nitric, sulphuric and you feel your nipples on fire.
Twenty-five years later, you stalk the head cockroach on Facebook, and it's two young beauties, and imagine tarantulas on their breasts too. Sweet Revenge!
You don't have a mental disorder; you are not on Prozac or Alprazolam, and you definitely don't hallucinate- except when you find the Bark scorpion, the color of poop, emerge every now from underneath your seat on the subway while commuting to work. You stand up and dust your trousers vigorously until it slips off your waist, attracting attention that causes much embarrassment. Something similar to what she caused when you were in 9th grade and suffered from all-consuming resentment for profit and loss, square roots, factorization, and area and perimeter.
You check the message from your school friend, 'Mrs. Vajrapati passed away last week. Remember our Maths teacher?' You zoom in and reread it, and again, and again just to be sure she is dead, finally dead, and six feet underground. The intense animus you have endured for years finally has an outcome- dead, and you want to rejoice and sip from a glass of chardonnay, except you find the bark scorpion truculently floating in your pale yellow drink, and you freeze, just the way you did when she threw your notebook out of the classroom door, and it landed next to the broom under the cemented bench. You missed doing the maths homework, and that infuriated her. She made no attempts to explain to your dumb self how to solve the complicated problems, and that infuriated you.
However, because she's older and a teacher, your anger does not count. You choose something more passive- like crying…more like weeping…weeping silently, spit coming out of your mouth, your face hot, and 40 pairs of eyes watching you for what seems like the third time in two weeks already. The two years spent with Mrs.Vajrapati seem like two dark decades of tilling a desert. What's left with you at the end is a skeleton frame and some pound of flesh without an ounce of self-esteem, leaving you unmoored. The yawning emptiness gives rise to self-doubt, and you move on from one subject to another, one grade to another, one degree to another, convinced that you are a loser. Your body grows, but your mind is stuck to 9th grade…right outside the 9th-grade classroom where she dug a small grace and buried your self-esteem. Nobody comes for help, nobody wants to explain, and nobody wants to teach. There is convincing evidence that you are not smart, like smart-smart, but to declare you mentally incompetent is a like being condemned to a future you do not choose. There are no embers of support from any corner to blow on. Years later, after you have slowly and painfully emerged back into daylight, you receive the news- she's dead, and you want to celebrate. You want to send a congratulatory note nestled in a bouquet of Chrysanthemums-yellow, orange, pink, purple, all, to her daughters and a tinderbox full of bark scorpions. After all, as they say, everything is fair in love and war, except you are still on the battleground, and she is now a ghost.
And that's how you hobble from year to year playing scorpion tag. Sometimes, they grab you; sometimes, you grab them, hoping to parcel them to their much-deserved recipients. You want to get revenge; the hurt refuses to dissipate; it festers over time and becomes an obsession; the notion of wild justice convinces you; it's the most bonafide feeling you have ever experienced. Except that retribution keeps your wounds exposed, no scabs are formed, and the infection spreads over your body and your life. You find it difficult to tether away from your past; your past is your worst enemy. You cause yourself the biggest disservice, but the scorpions creep under your pillow and whisper- nobody touches your breasts; nobody touches your self-worth.