February 15, 2006

The Bully

Snapshots In My Time...
Of My Time.....Hauntings.

Middle School 6-8th grades

My middle school years were terrifying times for me. They were also good times as well. The worst of it was dealing with bullies. I had two in particular who I remember to this day. I was going to a school pretty close to were I lived. So close in fact that I could walk to and from school. Being the daughter of a school teacher, pretty well made me the perfect target for those two girls. Heifers really.

One girl was a little chunky, short hair -what my mother would say was a "pepper head." Let's just call her Pepper. Pepper lived in the neighborhood but at the opposite end of a very long street. She and another girl lived to torment me on the way home from school. The other girl let's just call Bubbles. Bubbles was a very large almost obese girl. She live on another street in the neighborhood about a block away. She lived closer to my house than Pepper did.

It was a daily ritual in the beginning. I would be walking home minding my own business and trouble would begin. We had a bout a mile to walk thru some woods on a trail until we got to the neighborhood. That wooded are was the place I came to avoid. I would be walking with a few friends or even by myself and they would begin to verbally taunt me. I would ignore them. They would begin to jostle me and push me, books falling out of my hands. They would do this for several weeks. I still ignored them. Then one day, I heard the verbal threat that they were going to beat me up. I heard them behind me talking about putting on rings to scratch up my face and I began to run home. They never caught me. I began to make sure that when they left, we were not in the woods at the same time. I would leave before they did or make sure that they were well on the way home before I left.

I lived in fear and I learned to run very fast to be safe. I did tell my mother about these girls daily and that I wanted her to do something to help me. She never did. I begged and begged. She refused to help me. I continued to run and live in fear each day at school. One day, I guess they realized that I was leaving school much later to avoid and they were waiting for me. I had to run that day not to get cut with rings in my face. That is what they said the planned to do that day. I again went to my mom. No help from her.

I then began to walk the long way home. There was a way to get home that was not a path thru the woods-which was the shortcut. It was on the sidewalk but that way to get home was three miles. After a long day at school and then to walk three miles home was a chore. But that is what I had to do the last year of middle school. I begged for my mom to come and pick me up. She refused. She did not really take anything regarding these girls seriously or maybe she was just being her non caring self when it came to me. That was it. I was on my own. So walk three miles I did. And my mom got off work before me and was home before I got out of school. By car the school was about 5 blocks away. It would not have been much for her go pick me up everyday.

In the dead of winter, the blowing rain, I walked three miles to get home each day. I would come home drenched to the skin on some days. That was when the bucket umbrellas were in style. Bubbles and Pepper did not want me to take the shortcut home. They wanted me to walk the longest way home. The were both hefty girls so I knew I was safe that way. I never had another problem on the way home that way.

What was left? The way "TO" school in the morning. I never had any problem getting to school taking the path in the woods. The path was near my house and I always got to school early. Well, I used to walk with a very good friend each day. Let's call her Verna. She was a very pleasant girl and we had a good friendship. Or so I thought. Well Verna would stop by my house everyday on her way to school and we would walk together. One day she never showed up. I waited and waited and decided to walk on so that I would not be late. I did not see her in school as we had different classes and schedules. I did not think anything of it.

The next morning I waited and waited. No Verna at the scheduled time. I waited to see if she was just late. I saw her walking and she walked right by house and did not stop. I grabbed my books and ran out the door to catch up with her. I did. I asked her why she did not come by or stop at my house. Afterall , we had been walking together in the mornings the whole school year and she was my playmate as well. She said, she could not walk with me anymore. I asked her why and what was wrong? She said she just could not walk with me anymore. I aske if it was because of those two heifers Bubbles and Pepper. She did not say. Only that she could not walk with me anymore.

I was crushed. I had just lost my only friend in middle school. I was totally isolated at that point and along. I walked with Verna to school the rest of the way in silence and we never really spoek again. She did not come to my house anymore in the afternoons either. That hurt me to my soul. I was so disappointed in Verna, you just do not know how much. I have no idea what happened. Was she threatened? What? Who knows? That hurt I have carried with me to this day. It was a terrible sense of loss and mouring when Verna refused to walk with me. She was the one little piece of hope I had in middle school and it was gone. I could not believe that she could be so easily swayed. She seemed so sincere and she came across as a kind, genuine person and as a true friend. It hurt. Eventually I began angry with her for not being strong enough to stand up for our friendship or me.

Soon after that I was on my way home --the long way-- of course and I had a verbal exchange with Bubbles and her very snakelike sister. I went home ccyring and I again went to my mother for help. Begging her to do something, to call their parents, to go to their homes and put an end to this. Finally almost at the end of the school year she finally did. When I came home crying she finally got in her car and went to Bubbles house to speak to her mother. They were ignorant uneducated people. This was still when intergation was just happening and the education for black people was not up to par at all. Talking to then was just like talking to cave people. Finally Bubbles and Pepper did stay away from me for the last several months of school. It got around that you had better leave me alone or my mother would be showing up at your house. Just think of how much better my 3 middle years could have been if my mother had only done this sooner.

After that for high school, I left the public school system and went to private schools and had absolutely no problems with anyone at high school. The calibre of people were totally different. If I went to the public school, I would be with those same hateful girls.

Years had passed. Twenty or more and I was eating lunch one day at a Wendy's and a woman who at first was a stranger walked right up to me and called me by name. I looked at her. She said her name. I did not know who she was. She said her name again and said she was went to middle school with me. It was Pepper. I looked at her stonily. What the hell was she doing talking to me? She began to talk to me right there with my coworkers listening. She said that she wanted to say she was sorry for all the horrble things she did to me. She said she was sorry again and that she terrorized me for no reason and that I never did anything to anyone. She also said that she and the others were jealous of me because I had the perfect life they wanted. I had nice clothes and a nice house and had nice things and they did not and it was pure jealously. I also had both parents. She said her house was broken and at that time in middle school she was being raped repeatedly by her mother's boyfriend and she was angry and alone and had noone. So I became the focus. She also said she had found God, turned her life around and she was again sorry for everything she had done and that she had hoped one day, somehow, we would cross paths and she could apologize to me.

I just looked at her. My coworkers all just sat there in silence and I burst into tears. Pepper began to cry too. I told her that I had been waiting all my life to hear something like that, never expecting to ever hear it. She said she never forgot all the horrible things she did and I did not deserve what happened to me for those three very long years. There was constant torment..not only the walking back and forth to school thing. She said that she had been carrying all that with her for years and knew that I had to have been carrying that baggage as well. She then gave me her card and phone and aplogized again and went on her way. I have never seen her again.

After that, I was a mess for the rest of that day and since then I have thought alot about that day and forgiveness. I was able to forgive her. She did not ask for forgiveness, but I was able to once I heard her apology and it was sincere. 20 or more years had passed and I had no clue who she was at that time. She was a stranger and I did not even recognize her. A weight was instantly lifted from me with her apology.

Irony has set in. I was in a grocery store and saw Bubbles. She was working in the deli cutting meat. From the looks of her a very hard life and obviously no formal education. I never shopped there again at that deli.

About 4 months ago, I was in Target shopping and saw Verna. She is a pharmacist there. When I saw her I was still angry and hurt and disappointed in her for giving up our friendship for whatever reason it was. She spoke to me immediately. I spoke to her, just pleasantries really. I still had the feeling of her telling me she could not walk to school with me anymore like it had just happened the day before. I vowed never to use that pharmacy again and I have not.

Now I have been able to let that go. I went to bible study last week and we had a lesson on jealousy and how it is just fear. Other people being fearful they will never have what you have and hating you for what you have. I do not know what happened with Verna, but I have let it go. She must have had some motivation and whatever it was, it was not good and had nothing really to do with me. I was a true friend to her. Now, I do not think we could ever be friends again. I am not looking for that, but at least I won't still be angry at her when I see her at Target. Whatever that was about she is the owner of it. I have let the disappointment go. No need to waste that emotion on someone who does not value me or friendship the same way I do.
My heart is lighter and my spirit is free-er! And that is a good thing.


Post a Comment