A Life Changing Experience

December 23, 2010
By Alyson Ruttgeizer BRONZE, Roslyn, New York
Alyson Ruttgeizer BRONZE, Roslyn, New York
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In a nearby town, there lives a nine year old boy named Joshua who is very small, weak, quiet and shy. He has blonde hair, blue eyes, and his long, skinny arms hang down the side of his body like a puppet. He is in fourth grade and does not have many friends to talk to or to support him, but that doesn’t bother him in the least. On the whole, he’d rather be alone than surrounded by people he does not like. On the other hand, Timothy and Joe, who are also in his grade, are very big, strong, and mean. They look like they are closer to the size of sixth graders. They start to bully Joshua during recess at school because they know that he is quiet and will not stand up for himself.
These bullies have the innate ability to smell fear, and fear is what seeps out of Joshua’s pores as they slowly approach him. Every day, they drag him behind the same big oak tree. He kicks and screams for them to let him go, but nevertheless, they start to punch him. Joshua’s eyes become watery and the surface of his skin turns bright red from being treated like this. They yell at him to be quiet so no one else finds out what is going on. He also does not try to fight back because he knows that he will lose. Joshua comes home with red bruises on his arms and legs every day, but when his parents inquire what is wrong, he just runs away from them like their questions are bullets being fired from a gun. Joshua would not tell them what is happening to him because he is afraid that the boys would hurt him even worse if he got them in trouble. This continued for two weeks.

Joshua soon morphed from a lonely, quiet, and content boy to a frightened, nervous, and self-conscious boy. His puppet-like body has lost its strings. He walks around with a frown on his pale face and he is always worrying about what will happen the next day when he walks outside of the school building. He is additionally worried about whether or not to tell his parents what is going on. Lisa and David, who are Joshua’s mother and father, wonder what is happening to him. When they see him through the crack of the door of his room with his head down, they notice his bruised body and his depressed expression. But when they ask what happen, Joshua just tells them that he fell while playing outside. Fearful, they become suspicious when they notice this every day but decide to do nothing yet.

One day, after two months of suffering, Joshua could not take it anymore; the bruises were so bad that his arms almost looked like they were burnt from sitting outside in the sun for 2 days. He walked up to his parents as they were watching the news and said, “I need to tell you something.” He stood with his eyes to the floor in front of them, and he was very shaky with his words. He could barely speak of it without crying. His mother picked him up and hugged him tightly. Both of his parents were surprised and couldn’t believe that he let this happen without saying anything to anyone. They were also frustrated that he didn’t say anything to them before this, but they felt sympathy when they looked at his tiny, bruised body. His father said that as soon as the day started tomorrow, he would pick up the phone from his desk at work and call a meeting at the school to make sure that they become aware of what is happening. He also promised to Joshua that the boys would never hurt him again. All Joshua could do now was hope that his father was right.
During the night, Joshua couldn’t sleep. He lay in his small bed with five blankets piled on top of him and had a blank expression on his face. He was worrying about what they are going to do to him tomorrow. No matter how hard he tried, he could not figure out a reason why or how to end it. He finally fell asleep at about two in the morning after his head began to pound.
When his alarm clock rang at 7:00, he stepped out of bed and ran into his parent’s room faster than he had ever run before. His eyes had dark bags under them from lack of sleep and he begged his parents to let him skip school for the day. They had angry looks on their faces and all they would say was absolutely not. They assured him that everything would be okay and that he should not worry so much. He was barely able to slip his shirt over his arms because the pain was unbearable, and he was shaking from nervousness. After an uneaten breakfast, Joshua pretended to be sick, but his parents did not fall for it and they forced him to go.
Joshua finally got to school and the morning went fine. Then it came to lunch time. He stepped down out of the building and on to the blacktop, nearly crying from joy when he found out that Timothy and Joe were not there. He was relieved and surprised at the same time, but only for a few minutes though, because his relief turned into worries about what would happen tomorrow. He figured that they were just absent from school for the day and that they would be back tomorrow. He stood on rocks on the playground the entire time with other kids running all around him and wondered about what he could do to convince his parents to let him skip school the next day. He was standing there like a statue and thinking so hard that he didn’t even hear the lunch monitors call him to come inside.
The next day, Timothy and Joe were back. Joshua wandered outside without paying attention to them. He stood behind a small tree next to the building and started to cry. He saw them walking towards him from the other side of the school yard, and he started to panic. His heart was beginning to pound and he broke out into a sweat. As they walked closer to him, he became more and more worried. He was so overwhelmed with fear that he thought he was going to pass out. Finally, they were standing on the patch of grass right next to him. The only words they said were, “Joshua, we are done with you.” He thought that their reaction was too good to be true, but his mind told him it couldn’t be. He continued to shake and was constantly looking over his shoulder, waiting for them to grab him.
So, although the boys said that the bullying was over and his parents said that the bullying was over, he just refused to believe it. Now, every day instead of being bullied by the actual Timothy and Joe, he was tormented by the fear of another Timothy and Joe waiting, watching, and hiding just around the corner. His whole life had changed and the fear that was inside never went away.

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