The Red Zone

The red zone. We’ve all been there. You know, when your blood is boiling and you can’t think straight. When your breath is unstable and your fingers suddenly clench themselves into fists … or like in the cartoons where smoke comes out of your ears and nose until you’re about to explode. It’s like the only thing you can see is RED!!! You’ve been there and I’ve been there. 

I find myself seeing red when doors are left open in my apartment and sheer panic runs through my veins. I can already see the damage that’s been done: 

  1. My Jewelry holder knocked over- earrings and rings scattered across the floor. 
  2. B’s leftover water glass shattered on the floor with whatever remaining liquid was left from the night before (is he ever going to just put it in the DISHWASHER?). 

This time it was worse. We had just been in an argument the night before. I clenched my teeth and let out a growl. I stomped my feet like a toddler to the room and there it was.. The aftermath. 

  1. Glass shattered on the floor 
  2. Blue planter (with plant inside, or plant that WAS inside *rolls eyes*) broken 

Who would do this? A malicious… dare I say EVIL Mingus Gubgubgubbagubba (we can get into the name at a later time), our cat. 

I was angry. I was seething. I was in the RED zone. 

Fast forward 16 hours. It’s time for morning meeting in first grade- I was in the blue zone. Tired, grumpy, but ready to take a few more gulps of coffee to gather myself and get into the green zone for my kids: cool, calm, collected. 

“Good morning, Rachel.” we said in unison with a friendly wave and masked smiles. 

“What zone are you in today?” I asked. 

“The red zone.” she said proudly.

 I was taken back at first. The red zone wasn’t a common answer- especially first thing in the morning. Why did she seem so happy about being in the red zone?  I was worried but also intrigued. 

“Do you feel comfortable sharing why?” I asked cautiously, unsure of the answer I was about to receive. 

Rachel took a deep breath and began, “Well, I was running late for school this morning and my mom was telling me to hurry up. My sister hit the button and I saw the van door closing but I wasn’t even in it yet! We were running late so I ran to get in and my foot slipped. I fell on my nose and face… and that’s when it happened.” Rachel stood up out of her seat, put her hand on her chest and gripped it. She forcefully moved her arm away from her chest and gestured to the sky, “I felt the kindness leave my soul.” 

I cackled. I couldn’t help it. My head shot back and I let out one of the ugliest laughs from deep down in my belly. It was a knee jerk reaction, but boy did I need that. I immediately apologized for laughing and asked if she was alright. She said yes and that she laughed after it happened too. I assured her that I’ve fallen more times than I can count, and sometimes the best thing to do is laugh! No one likes to be in the red zone, but everyone loves a good laugh. 

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge! I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by.


  1. I was intrigued by your starting the piece with you in the red zone over your cat (I tend to think it’s funny, but it sounds like your cat is more destructive than mine!) I loved the classroom application and the respectful dialogue you share, until the belly laugh! But of course, the award for best line goes to your first grader! You described her gestures so well I felt I could see her. She is a poet and a philosopher!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That is the perfect way to describe the red zone! This is why kids are poets. I love how you wove the stories of your red zone, the cat, and the classroom. I’m so glad you captured this story!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my – this pops with energy from start to finish, for I can so relate to recently living in THE RED ZONE. “The kindness left my soul” – that is too, too priceless, and sadly, I know exactly how that feels! Loved every word and you have left me smiling. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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