Before you read it, however, I would like to add in a little commentary. I wrote this story about a contemporary issue at schools everywhere: bullying. I have personally been mistreated by other kids, so I know the feeling of rejection. If anyone who is reading this has been or is being bullied, know that you are not alone. When I was in elementary school, a girl among my circle of friends began to treat me so poorly that I moved on from that group. I made new friends who appreciated me as I was and eventually let go of my anger. I never did find out why that girl turned against me, but it doesn't matter. Don't be afraid to tell someone you trust about your pains. Bullying is a serious thing, and you need to speak out if you are a victim of it. There are other ways of dealing with a bully, as my story will show you. Know that even if you feel that the world has turned against you, God NEVER will. His arms are open to embrace you and let you know that you are never alone.
"Spit it out, man. What did Buck say?" I demand, facing Randy with a desperate look.
"He… says to meet him behind the gym at three tomorrow," Randy responds.
"WHAT? There's only one reason that he ever meets a kid behind the gym!"
Randy nods solemnly. "I know.”
I later see a post-it note on my school binder where, written in Buck's sloppy handwriting, is a reaffirmation of our "appointment." I show the note to my best friend Gabby, and she, like a typical girl, does not understand the direness of the situation.
"Why don't you just not go?" she says.
I give her a look. "You know, for being an honor student, you're pretty dumb sometimes."
Gabby huffs. "Excuse me?"
Before she can beat me up, I rush to explain: "Gabby, I can't just ditch Big Buck. He’s sure to find me and beat me up even worse than he would have before."
"Then tell an adult."
"No, I'm not a snitch."
"You really gotta quit this 'caring about what other people think' attitude."
Geez, my days on this planet are already numbered, and my own best friend doesn't understand me. And so is the problem of my life. After school the next day I, of course, go to Buck's typical meeting place. I’m early, in fact. Gosh, who goes early to get beat up? I'm such a dweeb sometimes. I guess I just want to get this over with and hope I make it to heaven.
At precisely three o'clock, I see Buck, followed by a horde of curious students, marching his way toward me. I take a deep breath (it's probably my last) and puff out my chest in an attempt to look brave. Buck smirks, grabs me by the collar, and forcefully slams me against the brick wall. I look down and realize in horror that my feet aren't even touching the ground any more, the dude is lifting me so high. Buck curls his fingers into a powerful fist and prepares to make the first blow.
"You're such a loser," taunted Buck. "Not even your chunky girlfriend Gabby could save you now."
I stop breathing for a moment as I process Buck's insult. Does he seriously have the nerve to insult Gabby? I know what any self-respecting best friend would do in my situation. What happens next blows the pants off of everybody watching: I catch Buck's fist in my bare hand during mid-swing. I look at Buck with a malicious grin, and Buck in his astonishment loses his grip on me. I crack my knuckles as a blinding fury comes over my senses.
"No one," I say threateningly, "will dare insult my best friend ever again.”
I swing my arm and knock him to the ground with my furious fist. The surrounding students gasp in horror and amazement.
"Or else I'll deck anyone who does!" I exclaim boastfully.
At that moment, I turn and unexpectedly see Gabby, who smacks her forehead in dismay. I stand stunned for a moment, expecting the torrent of verbal abuse that always comes when Gabby is upset. However, it doesn't come.
“Jeremy,” she whispers, “this isn’t what I wanted.”
My face starts to burn with shame as I realize how truly disappointed Gabby is. She has never given me those guilt-inflicting doe-eyes before, and I really don’t like it.
“I’m sorry,” I mutter.
“Don’t tell me,” replies Gabby, and I know what she wants me to do.
I turn toward Buck, whose nose is currently drooling with blood. I kneel in front of him; he cowers from me, but I don’t move until he settles his wary gaze on me.
I stick out a remorseful hand, saying, “I’m sorry, Buck. I shouldn’t have let my anger get the better of me.”
After a pause, Buck’s calloused fingers grip onto mine and he smiles half-heartedly. “I deserved it anyway. Sorry for insulting your friend.”
I help him stand up, and I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that I am apologizing to the biggest bully at our school. At first I don’t know whether to be ashamed or proud of it, but the glorious gleam in Gabby’s eyes assures me of the latter.