AN ANONYMOUS GUEST POST:
We received this anonymous guest post. It’s a fictional story, but rarely do we delve into the eyes of a bully. We’d love to hear your thoughts on it. *Note, there is a single curse word in this post and it’s used in its actual definition, so we kept it. We rarely allow curse words in our posts, so we wanted to fully disclose it up front.
I am a bully. And I hate it. But I can’t help it. I just—can’t.
The first thought—and I mean, the very first thought—that settles into its place as my mind transitions from dreams to the reality of a new day… is self-loathing.
I’m a failure. I’m a loser. I am nothing. I am no one.
I am the crap shoved into the tread on the bottom of my shoe.
I might as well be dead.
But I can’t let anyone else know. I just—can’t.
I stumble out of bed and make for the bathroom, quietly pulling the door closed behind me. I don’t want to wake the rest of the household. I’m not ready to face anyone yet.
Not even myself. I turn away from the mirror over the sink before my eyes meet my reflection’s.
In the shower, the water is hot enough to prod at the part of me that usually lies curled up in a fetal position behind a walled-off section of my heart. My tears flow, scalding and salty, down my cheeks. My eyes burn and my nose clogs so I have to breathe through my mouth.
Today, I get to knock around Virgil Baxter. Or Virgin Bastard, as I dubbed him last week in the locker room when he walked in on me taking a dump in the stall. It wasn’t his fault—I didn’t lock the door right—but I saw the expectation in his eyes, the moment his embarrassed surprise turned to terror, and there was no backing down.
“You want a closer look, do you?” My taunting jeers echoed off the walls, accompanied by the crowing of my audience. But the deluge of water as the toilet flushed couldn’t completely drown out the pitiful begging and gagging coming out of that kid while I held his head down in the bowl. I didn’t stick around to witness the aftermath, but I heard the sobs mixed with dry heaves and vomiting as I shoved my way out of the locker room, my entourage behind me. We celebrated. While Virgil puked his guts out trying to get the taste of my shit out of his mouth.
Even standing under the shower this morning, the cleansing water pouring down over me, I can’t shut out the desperate noises he made, the way his body jerked and flailed as I manhandled him into submission over the toilet, one of my beefy fists clutching the back of his pants, the other wrapped around his scrawny neck.
If only it had ended there.
But someone talked. Someone spilled to Principal Warren. And Principal Warren called my parents. Mom told Dad she would handle it, and my old man was fine with that.
Mom doesn’t use her fists. I’d almost rather she did. But she never touches me. Ever.
Instead, Mom uses her words. Like one of those medieval torturers. And she’s very, very skilled with her literary devices. She’s a heartless butcher. Each syllable stabs and mutilates, each consonant eviscerates and disembowels. Each sentence crushes and pulverizes like the blows of a sledgehammer. Whoever coined the term “tongue-lashing” must have had a mother like mine.
That part of me—the part now uncurled inside me, the part begging me not to get out of the shower, not to get dressed, whimpering for me to please just go back to bed—doesn’t understand. I would like nothing better than to return to the cocoon of my blankets, pull my pillow over my head, and slip away into the anesthetizing arms of sleep. But I can’t. I just—can’t.
Today it’s Virgil Baxter. He says he didn’t rat on me, that it was someone else, but he won’t tell me who, so he’ll have to take what’s coming. Later this week, I think it’s time to have little one-on-one with Tommy Kittredge. I caught him watching Sarah Rawlings in Biology yesterday and it isn’t the first time. I don’t even like Sarah, but she’s one of ours, and Tommy should know better. He just needs a little reminder. And I hear my buddy Sam has a bone he wants me to pick with Jared Cooper. According to rumor, Jared isn’t interested in working out a deal with Sam over cheat sheets. If I was someone else—anyone else—I could tutor Sam, help him figure out his algebra without having to cheat, but that will never happen. Not in this lifetime, anyway. I just—can’t.
I dry off inside the shower stall so as not to track any water across the bathroom floor (Mom doesn’t appreciate slobs), wrap my towel around my waist, and step out. I take a deep breath and hold it while I wait for the steam to dissipate.
There he is. Waiting for me. The reflection of me that everyone else sees, the one they think is the real me. The one I’ve been hiding from since before I even opened my eyes this morning.
“What’s the hold up, loser?” He taunts me, his eyes mocking that part of me that’s scuttling back into the shadows, curling in on itself again. “You going soft on me? We’ve got some business to take care of today. A little tutoring, just like you wanted.” He grins, his lip curling disdainfully at a rogue tear that trickles from the corner of my eye. He clenches his fist and his bicep bulges. “But this lesson doesn’t have anything to do with algebra, right Big Guy?”
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