Whenever he’s anxious he counts the lines on each knuckle. He matches each number with a breath and if he has to, he starts again and does it all over. This time he’ll hold his breath to match the line he counts. At first this was a challenge but now it’s getting a little too easy, maybe it’s time to think of something else to do on a third round. Maybe he could hold no breath, empty his lungs for the count of each line.
In quiet moments he’d rather be anxious. Just so he could practice holding his breath. But in quiet moments his compulsion is not to count. In quiet moments he flicks the tips of each finger on his left hand, as fast as he can. It doesn’t hurt but his right hand gets tired. It does fill the silence though, with the thump of each flick and the tiny snick of the fingernail on his right index finger pushing against the calloused skin of his thumb.
When he gets angry he doesn’t have a tic. It takes all his energy just to stop himself from exploding. It passes quicker if he squeezes his hands real tight and breathes real hard, hard enough to make his nostrils flare. If that doesn’t work, he walks. Anywhere. Even just back and forth in the bathroom is good enough.
He likes it best when he’s happy. It’s got the best tic of all. He smiles.