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Just Another Day

At 3:15 I get on the bus and take my seat. I dread the next half hour, as usual, but today I also feel kind of numb. I know as soon as Frank gets on the bus, he will kick my shins or smack my forehead on his way through the aisle. I can’t stop thinking about about Callie, though. Or her empty seat on the bus.

The morning started out badly. Callie was absent, so Frank decided to pick on those of us in the front of the bus. He stole my flute and carried it to the back, tossing it to one of his friends, an older boy. He threw it back to me as we got to school, and it hit my face. I was glad Frank didn't take it to his locker, or worse, throw it in the dumpster. That happened to another kid on our bus.

My friends who ride different buses get along fine with the 8th graders. They have fun on the way home. They always do homework or write notes or talk to each other. If I did homework on the bus, it would definitely get stolen. If I wrote a note, Frank would take it and read it in a mocking voice to the entire bus so they would all laugh. Then he would fold it up in an arrow shape and throw it back at me, hard. I know he’d do that because he’s done that to other kids.

I hate him.

Yesterday, on the ride home, Frank and his friends were teasing Callie. They were in the very back, so I couldn't hear much. She was upset, struggling. I thought I heard her crying. It looked like Frank was trying to take her shirt off. They always did stuff like that to her, every single day. 

Last week they stole a maxi pad from Callie’s bag and threw it back and forth the entire ride to school. Then they tried to stick it in her hair.

I’m so glad I don’t have my period yet.

I feel like a wimp for being so scared. Especially since they don’t torture me as badly as they tortured her. But what if they decide to pick on me worse now that Callie’s gone? I don’t have anywhere to hide from them. Maybe I’ll end up doing what Callie did. It sounds like a pretty good idea right now so I won’t have to ride this bus anymore.

The principal made the announcement about Callie during 3rd period today. He said the school counselors were available all day for special sessions if we needed them.

I overheard some people saying that she did it during the night while her mom and dad were sleeping.

Should I talk to a counselor? It’s not like Callie was my friend. She was just some 8th grader who rode my bus. I don’t feel like I should be so upset about it. Maybe a counselor would understand. Maybe not.

No, I’m not gonna talk to a counselor.

I see Frank coming out of school and heading for the bus. I shove my flute in my bag to hide it from him. He kicks me in the shins on his way past. He starts making fun of what Callie did, and then his friends in the back of the bus join in and make fun of her too. Frank pretends to make a noose with his jacket and hang himself. They all laugh. 

I hate them.

Should I tell my mom what happened? She won’t understand why I’m upset. She doesn’t even know who Callie was. Hopefully the school told our parents already, because I don’t feel like explaining it to her. Maybe I’ll just tell her what the kids on the bus did. But I don’t want to talk about that either.

Yes, I should probably talk to my mom.  But I really just want to hide in my room and cry, as usual.







Comments

  1. I felt like I was right there on the bus with you, that I was back in junior high. This is a very dramatic situation that you did not over-dramatize. I could feel your helplessness and impotent rage toward the bully. I could feel your confusion about Callie the affect her suicide was having on you.
    The tone and pacing of this were perfect.

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  2. My heart is breaking reading and experiencing that with you. You really did a fantastic job here, but mostly I'm just sad you went thru that.

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  3. Oh, how do we survive childhood? This is such an evocative piece. Thanks.

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  4. Such a painful thing to write but you took the risk and I hope it was cathartic. I think you've done a great job conveying the silence of early teenage years, how we stuff everything and don't want to explain. I remember feeling that way. Thanks for sharing this with yeah write.

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  5. I was going to comment with a heart but the lights are off and I can't find the right keys. anyway, heart. this was a really great piece.

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  6. This was so painful to read, as it brought me back to that age and the bullying I endured, although nothing this bad. I liked your use of present tense and matter of fact style.

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