Anger Issues

Amber Fraley
6 min readNov 19, 2023
The Struts in KC, MO, 2023. -photo by the author

The other night my husband and I went to a concert. It was somewhat unusual because as a rule, we don’t go to concerts that don’t offer seating anymore. We’re both over 50, and standing hurts after a while.

But… The Struts came to Kansas City, the ticket prices were super reasonable, and we knew we’d kick ourselves if we didn’t go.

After standing in line outside to get in the building, and standing in line at the bar, and standing in line to get t-shirts, we made our way to the crowd gathering in front of the stage to stake our claim on the floor.

The crowd seemed upbeat and positive. There was a man standing in front of me, who was two or three inches taller than me, which would’ve made him 5'9" at most. Occasionally, he’d chat with his date — or his daughter — I wasn’t sure which she was. He was a solid dude, who looked like he worked out. He was wearing a denim jacket with an American flag patch on the back.

As we were waiting for the concert to start, my husband went to use the restroom one last time, and I said I’d hold onto our spot. When my husband returned, he switched sides with me, so that he was now behind the guy with the denim jacket.

In an instant, this guy became like a dog in attack mode. He turned around and said to my husband, aggressively: “Are we gonna have a problem tonight, you and me?”

“Are we going to have a problem with what?” my husband asked, baffled.

“I don’t want you touching me all night. Are we gonna have a problem?”

“Buddy, I haven’t touched you once,” my husband replied, because he hadn’t. I’d been watching. My husband stood fast, not willing to move, because he is a big dude. He’s 6'2" and 250 pounds. I wasn’t worried about Mr. Outrage actually hurting my husband, but I also knew my husband probably wouldn’t fight this asshole if he took a swing — he’s a lover, not a fighter.

Meanwhile, I felt like a teakettle about to explode. This guy had said nothing while I’d been behind him. In fact, he’d had no problem with anyone, whatsoever. I’d watched other people touch him as they squeezed past in the crowd — men and women — and he hadn’t reacted at all. The only thing I could figure was this guy was triggered by my husband’s height, as he was a good head taller than Mr…

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Amber Fraley

Writing about abortion rights, mental illness, trauma, narcissistic abuse & survival, politics. Journalist, novelist, wife, mom, Kansan, repro rights activist.