Once there was a gentleman.
One with poise and manners, suited for his time and meticulous with his movements.
He spoke with a slightly nasal yet sharp voice that would echo in elevators as he would take his top hat down with a polite 'How do you do?'
His left hand would always tilt to the left pocket of his most favorite navy blazer. His right hand was free to roam, but his left would always stay just above the pocket, hovering ever so affectionately.
Lucy was a tenacious child of about four years of age.
Freckled face, pigtails and a bit of an oversized chin for a child her age.
As oversized as her chin was - so was her curiosity. She would watch the gentleman every day in their New York condo building's elevator. She lived in the fifth floor, and he lived in the top floor - the eighteenth one. They seemed to frequent a similar schedule, and Lucy's curiosity grew bigger every passing day.
She would squeeze her mother's hand as they entered the elevator seeing the gentleman there.
He would take off his top hat with the outmost grace Lucy has ever seen, asking his usual 'How do you do?'
Her mother would reply with a 'Why, very well. Much thanks' while Lucy's eyes would magnetically get pulled to the gentleman's left pocket. She watched daily as he caressed, as he touched, as he tucked his left hand in the left pocket of his favorite navy blazer.
One day, Lucy's curiosity grew into courage.
It was her day of birth and she felt like a grown woman, one that could converse with strangers in elevators.
And so upon entering the building's elevator and finding the gentleman there as in nearly every single day, Lucy turned to the man with her wide-open eyes and bluntly asked 'What do you have there, in your pocket, sir?' Her mother frowned, profusely apologizing for her daughter's nosiness.
But the gentleman exposed his rarely seen teeth-filled smile, saying 'It's quite all right ma'am. It's quite all right.' Then, he lowered his top hat, and kneeled down to the child. He was a tall man even without his top hat, and his slightly arched back revealed a bodily disposition that was not in the best of health so this was no easy task, and by no means was it meaningless.
'So, you wish to know what is in my left pocket, young lady?'
Lucy nodded repeatedly, while her mother shook her head in embarrassment.
'Some loves one must hold dear, even in their pocket.' The gentleman confessed. Then, he reached to his pocket and pulled out a small black and white picture. It was frayed in the edges and faded in its color. But Lucy could see the faint image of a man in there. It was a man much like the gentleman, with the same set of brown eyes, and the same high cheekbones, and the same scrawny figure. But this man in the photo was no gentleman. He was wild and unapologetic, wearing a torn shirt and expressing rage and rebellion. The kind of rebellion that belongs almost exclusively to the youth.
'This young man was I.' The man proceeded to confess, giving Lucy the distinct feeling that he has longed to confess this for quite some time. 'Back then, anger ran through me. I knew no kindness, so I gave no kindness. Manners, law and mutual respect were foreign unimaginable concepts to me. I lived as if I had no tomorrow, and my tomorrow was bleak indeed. I had a disease. It was The Fury. But the more I resisted my fury - the more it took hold of my life. I was a different man then. An unkind man. Since then, I have learned to love my fury and hold it dear. I keep my fury close to me so I will always remember to love it. You see, resistance doesn't relinquish suffering, but it is rather LOVE - that does.'
He noticed Lucy's slightly confused expression, and continued:
'This all may be a lot for you to comprehend, young lady, and here we are at the ground floor now.
You will go your way and I will continue to mine, but I hope you shall remember me and my fury. One doesn't receive a lesson every day. Thank you for reminding me of mine. In return, I hope this shall be one day a lesson to you as well.'
And with that, the gentleman tucked the photo of his old self - his fury - back in his pocket, and rose to his feet, saying the words 'After you, ladies' to the freckled curious child and her mother.
Lucy never forgot the gentleman and his fury.
As she grew older, she kept a photo of her old five year old self on her nightstand, to remember to love her curiosity, and to never let it go.
In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman