Sel Forage had the face of a ditch, all carved up and messy. He belonged in a prison yard, not closing in on his eighteenth year as a case worker for the Chicago Housing Authority, ostensibly helping the same impoverished, broken families he was shaking down for sex and drugs. He got away with it for so long because, basically, no one wanted to hassle a guy who looked like that.
He learned from his mother, the first one, the one who disfigured him, that fury was the hugest, sweetest inhale of all. After she left for good, Sel took that lesson and made it his own. He held it close and polished out the rough edges. Then he packed it together all smooth and hard and dense and stuffed it way deep down inside him. He was eight.
It’s still in him, all that useless rage. But much like how he never allowed mothers two and three the satisfaction of loving him, Sel pays no mind. Not anymore. That fiery knot’s become such an integral part of what he’s turned into as a man and human being that after forty-three years his resulting choices and actions are now these things that just happen, like cell division or gravity. Because however long it takes, you eventually learn to accept the things you can’t control. Be it the color of your skin or the economic station into which you were born or the childhood that vanished *poof* the night she had one too many and then got hold of some scissors and started swinging.