Disappointment matures when anger and sadness come to sit side by side, in silence, instead of each scampering off to make its case heard and maybe even won. What disappointment knows is that there is no winning, no forced fading of the bruise, no taking back of the wince.

Sadness and anger typically take turns on a seesaw, sadness focusing on the loss to the self, anger concentrating its attack on the guilty other, both getting out of breath and sweaty, even tearful if too tired. Disappointment can empathize, casts no stones, sometimes even would prefer to indulge itself like them, but latterly prefers the calm of taking in the situation as a whole, melancholy and tart, to one-sided and premature venting.

Not long ago someone disappointed me. This is a person to whom I have given my trust and of whom I asked a small consideration, a consideration that I found was the next day denied. There was no practical negative consequence, though I thought that there could have been, which was the reason for my asking.

I think of William Blake, who wrote, “I was angry with my friend: I told my wrath, my wrath did end. I was angry with my foe: I told it not, my wrath did grow.” I will tell my friend my disappointment. In the necessary meantime I seem to learn a certain silence.

Some days later. . . I broke that silence when I talked to my friend. “My wrath did end,” and our bond continues, strengthened.

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