I cringed when I saw Shelley.
She was walking straight towards me. Again. I braced myself.
I was just in fifth grade, but I had long learned that the world was cruel and no one could protect me from pain.
I steeled myself for the inevitable abuse. It was Monday, and Shelley always went after me on Mondays.
It was a few minutes before school started. “Why did I get here early? I could have avoided this,” I murmured to myself.
As soon as she reached my side, Shelley grabbed my left arm. Damaged by polio, it had almost no muscle. She shook my arm lightly, and laughed. It always seemed to amuse her.
Trying to garner more attention, she spoke loudly and sneered, “It’s so funny how your arm wiggles like that. It looks really weird.”
I was hoping that was the end, but Shelley was not finished. She grabbed my arm again, this time lifting it straight up and letting it drop. It flopped down and swung limply by my side.
Shelley smiled. By now a few people were watching. I fought back the tears as I had so many times before.
I wasn’t going to cry. Not there. Not then. I wasn’t going to give anyone that satisfaction.
Just before the teacher came in, Shelley declared, “I hope you don’t mind that. I don’t want to make you cry or anything. I just think it’s funny that’s all.”
The few people around me uncomfortably looked away. No one said anything.
I didn’t want Shelley to know how much she hurt me. So I laughed and said as casually as I could manage, “No, its fine.”
Of course it was not fine. It was cruel. And humiliating. But what could I do about it? View full post »