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The Vicious Bullying Cycle

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It’s only been 2 days and the memories – and bruises – have come screaming back.

School began yesterday morning. I woke up at 6, like I did before the winter solstice, and groggily shoved some clothes on. I remember tearing the curtains back to look outside: it was dark and misty, the type of weather that no-one wants to walk in. Not that I had a choice. There is no choice with school.

I didn’t realise until I was at least half a mile away that I’d chosen baggy sweatpants and a pink – no, a salmon colour, boys don’t wear pink – t-shirt that I would no doubt regret in the hours to come.

I was dreading every second of it. The bruises had faded over the holidays, barely visible in direct sunlight as a green tinge. The memories hadn’t been so easy, but with a combination of junk food and sci-fi books, they slowly began to diminish into the corner of my mind. But a voice that I’d learned to ignore hissed to me that they’d come back, both the memories and the bruises. As soon as I’d go back to school.

That’s why I was dreading it.

I had a good reason to dread it. It was everything I expected. Today, especially, was awful. Yesterday was bad enough, with comments like “you’re so gay with that shirt, man” and “dude, you had a major wardrobe malfunction” accompanied by severe shoving and pushing. That didn’t hurt so much physically, but it was the humiliation that scarred my pride. Not that I have much pride left.

I’m just glad I’m home now, protected by the tranquillity of my bedcovers. I’ve survived two days. That’s what matters.

I close my eyes for a well-deserved sleep, but the blood returns, swarming my vision with a murderous red, and the screams, the screams that are ear-piercing, so loud, so painful, and so helpless.

My screams.

******

It’s only been two days back at school but I’ve done it again.

The first day I managed to restrain myself, with only a snide remark about his ridiculous t-shirt. I mean, who wears a pink shirt at school? And those sweatpants? Is he crazy or something? I don’t think he realised the bottom was scuffed with mud and the shirt was torn at the collar. Not that I cared. My leather jacket and jeans were cool enough to run circles around that nerd.

I was dreading the next day. What if I hit him again like I did before winter solstice? I can’t control myself, I tell myself guiltily. He’s just so weak.

I had a good reason to dread it. It was everything I expected. He walked into school, head down, hood up. He was a walking target. A walking, talking target. He had cleverly chosen suitable clothing for today, a simple white polo, a hoodie and jeans that no-one could tease. But it wasn’t good enough for me.

“Hey, retard!” I shouted, gathering the attention of everyone in the corridor. He didn’t turn around, not even a flinch. “I’m talking to you, by the doorway!” He stopped then, frozen, his head slowly revolving in my direction. “Yeah, retard. I said it.”

I moved closer then, so my face was inches from him.

“Did you not hear your own name, retard?”

He stared at me, straight through my eyes, into my soul. He looked scared and helpless, but pitiful of me at the same time. That only spurred me on.

“Answer me, punk!” I grabbed his neck, shoving him to the glass display behind him. I heard a crack and a single line of red slid onto the floor.

Drop.

People started to move around the commotion, accustomed to these blood-battles.

“My name…” he choked, attempting to struggle out of my lock. “…is not retard…”

“What did you say, retard? I can’t hear you with all the blood!” I spluttered and laughed at my own joke. I held his neck tighter and dragged him forward, closer to me, then smashed him back into the display again. It shattered completely and I saw the life fade from his eyes, sub-conscious taking over. Satisfied, I dropped him to the floor, then grabbed his bag and kicked his stomach at the same time. “See you around, retard.”

Adrenaline throbbed through my body, my conscience hidden away from the naked eye. But deep down, I realised what I’d done and how I’d pay for it later. I was right about the consequences. Of course he’d find out, no matter how much I hid it.

Maybe that’s why I’m lying here, curled up on the floor in the moonlight, with my own blood pooling around me, the wind rippling through the red puddle and sobs escaping my throat, though I’m trying to swallow them so he won’t hear. I know he will hear.

I close my eyes for a well-deserved sleep, but the blood returns, swarming my vision with a murderous red, and the screams, the screams that are ear-piercing, so loud, so painful, and so helpless.

My screams.

*****

It’s been two days and I’ve already hit him.

What does he expect though? It was his fault. He’s just having a taste of his own medicine, I try to convince myself. I’m just teaching him a lesson. I am his Dad, after all. This is what I have to do.

But no, a voice whispers inside me, you’re not supposed to hit him.

I recall the phone call I got earlier today, with a teacher informing me that my son had yet again beaten up some poor, nerdy kid. I was embarrassed and humiliated, for the hundredth time. He swore to me last time I ‘taught him a lesson’ he wouldn’t do it again, he wouldn’t even think about it.

He repeated that to me again tonight.

I don’t want to remember what I did to him, but his sobs are still ringing through the house. It’s obvious how much I hurt him, both physically and mentally. His blood is on my hands, staining my soul and humanity. My throat is dry from the empty threats I had shouted, but my arms are red with the very real threats I gave him. Red with scratches when he tried to claw out of my grasp, but mostly red with the blood from when I shattered his window in anger.

Red.

I remember that colour from high school. I was that nerdy kid who got torturously teased by my classmates, that kid who got their lunch money stolen and that kid who got beaten up behind the bike shed. Why was I that kid?

Who am I now?

Every phone call from the annoyed and disappointed teachers, I feel like my son is hitting me. But no, my son is hitting that kid. And I’m hitting my son.

I can remember those school days very vividly. All the red and humiliation. The bruises and cuts faded years ago, but the memories never will.

I close my eyes for a well-deserved sleep, but the blood returns, swarming my vision with a murderous red, and the screams, the screams that are ear-piercing, so loud, so painful, and so helpless.

My screams.

*****

I can’t sleep. The cuts and bruises from the glass display earlier at school hurt too much.

I begin to think. I think about my future. Who will I become?

As I nurse my injuries, I wonder whether the memories of red and humiliation will ever fade.

Will it affect who I am?



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This article has 2 comments. Post your own!

In_Love_with_WritingThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 14 at 7:37 pm:
This was an amazing piece! I loved loved loved it! But it was a little confusing. I think you could have made the different perspectives a little clearer. Otherwise, it was great!
 
LinkinPark12This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 15 at 12:29 pm :
Thanks :) I will work on it, thanks for the advice :)
 
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