“Pow!” I felt his fist hit my face and for a few seconds everything was black. It came out of nowhere after a simple shove and a few heated words.
“Stop that! Break it up!” A teacher shouted and the fight was over before it began.
I didn’t understand what had happened. School hadn’t started yet and it was so cold outside they kept the students who arrived before class in the cafeteria. Everyone was talking and eating cinnamon toast that was sold for only 10 cents a slice. Billy came up to our table and started talking about his new skateboard. I said, “Man, that’s cool!” and he told me to shut up. I responded quickly, “Don’t tell me to shut up.” I had no idea why I was being single out, what made him want to pick on me?
Billy was older than most of us since he had failed 8th grade twice. He was bigger than me and wore a leather jacket and had longish dirty blond hair. He had a hot girlfriend who I was friends with and maybe this was why he didn’t like me. He wasn’t popular because of the well-known fact that he had failed, but he was regarded with respect since he was bigger and older than most of us 7th graders.
In 7th grade I was 10. Since I started 1st grade at 4 years old I was always younger than most of my classmates. However, I was always big for my age and intelligent enough to keep up in school, but I think being younger left me at a disadvantage when it came to emotional situations.
After the fight was over, Billy and I went to the office and Mr. Curtsinger gave us both 3 days in AEP – Alternative Education Program. I was livid. I didn’t do anything except barely defend myself with a slight shove, plus, I had a black-eye, wasn’t that punishment enough?
I tried to remain calm, but I couldn’t believe the injustice of it all. AEP was held in an old bus barn. The walls were metal, the floors concrete, and the heaters were large space heaters that glowed red and hung vertically on the wall.
The desks were made out of plywood and had large sides that kept you from seeing other students. I had to endure those three days with Billy.
My mom came up to the school while I was still in Principal Curtsinger’s office. She had on this gorgeous brown fur coat, her hair had just been done, her make-up – perfect. Sanger Middle School was a bland sulfurous pit in hell and here was my mother, an angel from heaven coming to rescue me. Wrong.
Mr. Curtsinger told my mom that since we would be out of school for Thanksgiving on Thursday and Friday that I should go ahead and get my punishment over with starting immediately so after the holiday I could start fresh. Surprisingly my mom agreed.
I cried so hard I guffawed sitting in the office. Billy just sat there with a smug look on his face completely content and quite familiar with this scenario. I felt like a pathetic blubbering mess, but I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t believe how cruel the world was and how often I got picked on for no apparent reason.
At my grandparents on Thanksgiving everyone asked about the black-eye and I had to retell the story. I left out the pathetic details and tried to place myself in the best possible light. I tried not to tell them how disappointed I was in my mom for not shielding me from the horrors that I had to endure. I didn’t tell them how I planned to hate Mr. Curtsinger for the rest of my life and that from that point forward we were sworn mortal enemies. I imagine that had I a better understanding of the dark art or voodoo, I would have employed that knowledge now. This would be a perfect time for it and I would need two dolls, one for the principal and one for Billy.
When I look back on this event in my life I am still unsatisfied with it’s outcome. I endured a lot of pain and suffering and the only thing I learned was that the world is unfair and that people will let you down.
I realize that my mom was only showing me tough love, but I wanted her to press harder to defend me to the principal since I didn’t feel like Billy and I deserved equal punishment.
What is the saddest part of this whole experience is that I don’t remember my dad being in the picture at all. I don’t remember him consoling me, or even talking to me about how to fight, or when not to fight, or how to defend myself in a situation.
When I put all of these stories together that I am writing about my life, I hope that it is an uplifting and inspiring tale – not one that sends people into depression.
My life has been crazy, but everyone has their story, some are just more dramatic than others.
What I do want to emphasize is that so far I have written snippets of my life and although there have been times my parents have made mistakes, they are two of the most awesome, giving, selfless people on the planet. Each of them could write a story about their childhood and it would make my life seem like a trip to Disney Land with endless amounts of money and a bottomless ice cream cone.
In life we all face challenges, what matters is how we face them. I hope to never sound like I am trashing my parents, friends, or family, but instead, showing you that sometimes the hard times are what shape us the most and I happen to really like who I’ve become and so there are very few things that I would change about the last 32 years.