The inner office reeked of a mixture of cologne, leather and pipe smoke. Standing in the doorway, now with a scared look on my face, I started towards the oversized burgundy leather couch. The principal stopped me and said, “Sit there!” pointing to a single wooden chair in the corner of the room. As I sat down, fear descended upon me.
The principal began by asking me what I had done…but he really did not care. I sat there and listened to him scold and talk down to me like I was not even worthy of being in “His” school. After leaving his office, I sat in the hall for a few minute and knew that this was going to be a battle. I put my plan into action…full force. The year started with my classroom remarks, making jokes, throwing crumpled papers at the teacher’s desk, and talking back to the teacher. I would get in trouble EVERYDAY and at least 3 times a week I would end up in the principal’s office. I knew that this was not good, but I also noticed that the other kids in the class were starting to laugh at me...whether it was something I said…or the fashion in which I was sent off to see the principal…shit…I did not care, they were actually laughing with me.
I carefully weighed the progress that I was making with the other kids against the trouble I was getting in at school and knew that I had to withstand the punishment that I got from my parents for the good of my physical safety. As the year progressed, fewer of the kids started fights with me and some actually prodded me, in class, to tell jokes and harass the teacher so that they could laugh. I was more than willing to accommodate them. There were still a few of the “tough guy” kids that wanted a piece of me and I knew that this would not end until I was able to hold my own on the playground.
I remember approaching the stairwell that led down to the lunch room one day and seeing a few of these kids standing at the landing…just waiting. I cleared my head and knew that I would have to fight them. There were three of them and I was terrified. As I got closer to them, I averted my eyes to see if I’d be able to just walk by them. That was not going to happen. They moved from leaning against the wall to blocking access to the stairs. I stood there not knowing what to do. There were people behind me and the stairwell above became crowded with kids watching this development. The three started to approach me, when from behind me, I heard a voice of another boy yell out, “one at a time!” I was in complete shock…there was someone that was standing up for me.
I quickly numbed myself, as I had learned to do over the years, balled up my fists and got into a fighting stance. The biggest of the boys moved forward. All I could see at that point was his huge fists. I knew that I would have to avoid them at all costs. The first swing came at my face. Quickly ducking, I felt his fist fly over my head. I backed up and he swung again, this time for my gut. I doubled over in pain as his fist seemed to go straight through me. Just then I told myself that if I did not beat this kid, I would really be in for it and that the plan that was working…would have been a complete waste and things would go back to the way they were. I struck out from where I was and landed a fist to his balls. (shit. I did not care about fair fighting…they never did.) He let out a yelp and went to a knee. I stood straight up and punched him square in the nose followed by the hardest kick I had ever delivered, straight to the center of his chest. The other two boys looked at each other and moved toward me. I did not know who to go after first …so I waited for them. As they approached, a boy from behind them held one of them back. I did not hesitate in my attack. I swiftly began to punch and kick this boy until his friend did not have to be restrained anymore…he just stood there and watched as I bloodied his “tough guy” friend.
A few minutes later, there was yelling from the top of the stairs. It was a teacher coming. Everyone disbursed and ran in different directions. That is...everyone except me. I just stood there with two boys in front of me, blood on there faces and blood splattered on my shoes and dripping from my hands. The teacher got to the landing and immediately grabbed me, while looking at the two kids’ injuries. Needles to say, they went to the nurse and me…off to the principal. Now, with my record with the principal…I was scared of what he might do.
The principal made me sit in his office, on that hard wooden chair for the rest of the day. I sat there, unable to say a word as he called my mother and told her about the incident. I did not know what she was saying, but his recount of what had happened was so ill-founded…the jerk wasn’t even there. I did worry about what I would say to my mother when I got home. I did not want her to make a big stink…knowing that it would only make things worse….but I was not the instigator of the fight and I wanted to be able to tell her that…but I knew that I couldn’t.
After that day, I found that my plan was indeed working. I not only had kids actually laughing WITH me but there were a few that would talk to me. Things got better from there. I still had fights here and there, was in trouble with teachers and the principal a lot…but I was making friends and the tough guys started to think twice before jumping me. Now that I had proven that I could fight.
The year was tough but I ended it with a couple pretty good friends…and a girlfriend. That was a great way to end a year in my book.
The Boy and the Pine Forest - One day, his parents drove him several hours outside of the city and the place that he knew as home. They passed by meadows, farms and forests on the way t...