When I read this today I was zapped back to second grade.
There were three “popular” boys in my second grade class: Josh, John, and Beau.
All the girls liked them except me. I thought they were mean, and they were. To me.
They would make fun of me, call me names, push me, trip me, grab me, chase me, hit me…at our private Catholic school.
I wasn’t a particularly pretty little girl, and they reinforced my poor self image by calling me “Ugly”, and “Dog”.
A girl named Kelly had a Halloween Party, and I was excited to go. I was going as “Barbie Bride” and I thought my plastic raincoat style costume (remember those?) was the most beautiful costume in the world with it’s pretend lace. The mask even came with a small veil. I was convinced I was beautiful.
All us kids were running around the backyard while our parents were inside. It was dark. My friend Rita wasn’t there, so I ran around with the other kids.
Beau, Josh and John were there and I did my best to stay away from them.
At some point Beau pushed me to the ground and pinned me down.
All the kids were standing around watching. I was screaming for him to let me up.
I don’t remember what happened other than I was looking around at all the other kids.
Nobody said anything, nobody did anything.
I stared at Josh who was dressed up as a wolfman.
He didn’t do anything, but I remember the expression on his face.
Of the three he was usually the one with the conscience.
Beau was typically the one who attacked me and John would egg Beau on and call me names.
I remember I was crying and wanted to go in but no one would let me until I stopped crying.
When I was finally allowed to go in I told my mom I wanted to go, that I’d been pushed down.
Kelly’s mom and some of the other parents said things like “that means he likes you” and “that’s how little boys are”…I don’t know if Beau’s mom was there or not.
I knew better, for whatever reason, Beau hated me and wanted to make sure I knew it…
Thing is, I didn’t care about the whys and whats. I hated him.
Every now and then they’d lay off me for a few weeks and I’d have fun with my friends.
One day in December it had been raining so we couldn’t play on the playground, we were on the “blacktop”. It had some really large puddles, and my friend Rita and I were running around pretending to swim in the ocean or some such thing.
Beau grabbed me and held me in a bear hug. I yelled for him to let me go and he wouldn’t. I turned my head and bit his upper arm.
He let go and I ran away.
A few minutes later the playground monitor came up to me holding Beau’s arm. It was bleeding.
“Did you do this?!?!?!” She yelled right in my face.
I remember she had dark hair and a navy blue winter hat that didn’t have a pom-pom on top…I’d wanted a hat like that but my mom always got me one with a pom-pom.
I was shocked by the blood and shook my head no.
“Yes you did, and you’re in a lot of trouble! I’m going to tell your teacher!” She took Beau to the nurse and I was left with a horrible feeling in my stomach.
I spent the rest of recess throwing small rocks in the puddle with the little deaf girl from another class.
When we got back to class my teacher who I loved was angry.
She took Beau and I into the hall where I got yelled at for biting. She said to him “now I understand you had her in a bear hug and that’s not right. Don’t do that again.”
But I got laid into for biting and had to apologize to him.
When my mom picked me up that day she asked how school was I told her fine and tried to act normal.
I thought it was over.
That evening my mom, brother and I were watching TV. My dad had Duty (he was in the Navy).
The phone rang and I heard my mom say “Hello Mrs. Nagle”…
My stomach dropped and I started bawling.
I knew I was gonna get it. I just wondered if she was gonna use her hand or the belt.
Probably the belt on my bare behind.
I remember saying “Spank me now, just spank me now Momma.”
She held up her hand for me to be quiet.
When she got off the phone she asked me if this was the same boy who’d been bothering me.
I told her yes.
She asked “Did you tell him to let go?”
“Well, he had to get a tetanus shot. Maybe he’s finally learned to leave you alone.”
Honestly? I laughed.
He had to get a shot? GOOD.
The next day we were standing in line for something or other and he said to me “ya know I had to get a shot for that?”
I smiled and said “Well, now maybe you’ll leave me alone.”
For the next few weeks the three boys called me “Little Vampire” but pretty much left me alone after that.
…I like to think that at 7 years old I stopped what he could’ve done at 17.