All against one……………
The white tile was polished to such a high sheen that the florescent light fixtures from the ceiling could clearly be seen. Shapes morphed around me, sliding in and out of my peripheral vision as if I was surrounded and enveloped by a freezing fog. There were sounds, snippets of conversation, mumbled sounds of excitement, and laughter. I looked up from the floor and the faces moved from the fog and came into sharp contrast. They were looking at me. They were all looking at me. They were laughing at me. They were not laughing at anything I had done. They were laughing at what had been done to me.
I remember that I was walking……..then there was a massive force that slammed into my back. My feet left the ground as I left the vertical and became horizontal as the unforeseen force overtook my bond to the floor. My books and papers went flying, scattering through the air as if a massive flock of pigeons was racing toward freedom. I put my hands out in front of me in an attempt to keep the highly polished floor from impacting my face. I was not able to absorb the entire momentum from the push, and my face impacted the floor. My glasses went skidding several feet in front of me. I caught my breath and I reached out and grasped my glasses. I put them on and continued to stare at the floor. I finally gathered the courage to look up, and face my tormentor. It was the same bully that it always was. He was laughing, pointing……giving his buddies a fist bump for the success. He turned away and walked off down the hall and turned the corner. Out of sight with his mission accomplished. I slowly stood up and began to gather my papers, alone, because no one wanted to help the social outcast. I picked up my papers, surrounded by snickering classmates as they went about their task of moving from class to class. I collected the last of my papers and with my head down I finished my walk to class.
Many years later, as I am looking through applications for employment I come across a name. A very familiar name, my school bully. I called him, gave him a time and date for an interview. On the allotted day, he arrived. He looked the part, he dressed appropriately, he was respectful and polite. He looked as I remember him, just older. He did not recognize me for I no longer looked the same. Gone were the glasses of my youth, gone were the braces in my mouth, gone was the self consciousness of a school social outcast. Now he was here with me. I wanted to say something, but I did not. I went with him through the interview process. I did however take things a little deeper into the interview than normal. I started asking about his schooling and he brought up the fact that he had a difficult time during school. This intrigued me, because like him, I too had a difficult time in school. Despite this being a job interview he was open and honest. He told me that his home life during this time was terrible. He had lost his mother and younger brother in a terrible car accident. His father turned to alcohol to cope and eventually became abusive toward him. I told him thank you for the interview and I told him I would let him know in a day or two.
I did not hire him, not because he was a bully years ago, but because he was not really qualified for the position. I did call him back to let him know. I put in a good word for with some of my contacts and I told him about them, I then wished him luck. He did get hired by one of those companies. However he will never know that it was one of the kids he tormented in school that got him that job.
He will never know this because even though he bullied me in school, I think he was the victim.