A Pebble in Time
June 29, 2007
Let me tell you a story.
*takes a pebble out from a small pouch and draws a face on it using a black marker pen*
This is about a guy whom I knew ever since I was in primary school. Don’t like him, never liked him, and probably never would. I suddenly found myself mentally backtracking as an incident which involved him spurred my thoughts.
*sets the pebble on the table with the scrawled face on top*
When I was in primary school, and was about 10 years old or so…there was this male classmate of mine whom was forever picking on me. He sat right behind me in class and would ever so often kicked my chair from behind and sometimes even pulled my hair. Whenever I turned around to face him he’d utter some expletive and would very courteously showed me a rude gesture.
Of course, the situation got worse and I reported him to the class teacher. I remember him getting a shelling; him looking very defiantly at the ground with my then Maths teacher waving a finger at him. I thought he’d know better than to keep pestering and harassing me. Apparently not.
That made it worse somehow. From the way I saw it then, it appeared as though he has since made it his personal vendetta to make my daily school life as miserable as he possibly could. The taunting and bullying got worse. He became more bold and the harassment grew more frequent. I did the same thing over and over again, which was to report him to the teacher but it seems that his “crime” was not severe or worthy enough to warrant a punishment more harsh than a sounding.
I could understand that the grown-ups (teachers/staff) view this as some childish form of misguided play; some even put it down to it being part of a child growing up – they go through bad behaviour. Well, for me it was really quite irritating and most disturbing and I remembered wishing every single day after school that he’d just leave me alone.
End of primary school. Unto secondary school, and voila we both ended up in the same school. The harassment didn’t cease there, in fact it worsened to the point where he’d start physically kicking my shins whenever I walked past him. That left several bruises on my legs, and he was smart enough to only attempt so in the midst of a crowd. Everyone would be too busy or preoccupied to notice his cowardly deed.
He then began to aim rocks at me, I remembered I suddenly felt a sharp sting to my right temple and subsequently hearing a rock rattling as it fell unto the cement ground. I turned around and saw the idiot scuttling off – with a look of triumph on his face. Fortunately, there was no open wound.
What did I do? I proceeded to report him (yet again) to the school’s disciplinary teacher. In the beginning, he got another shelling. But as usual he didn’t end there, hence my reporting went on at regular intervals. There came a point where I knew I was losing when the disciplinary teacher gave me a smile and said:-
“I think he fancies you. That’s why the bullying. You know how boys are”.
Oh, then what? Did your hubby threw a brick at your head when he was interested in you then too?
When she uttered that I knew this is the point where she decides to wash her hands off the situation, and blame it down to just some weird teenage courtship ritual where the guy is expressing himself utilising the wrong method. With an “explanation” like that, I thought she could go kiss my arse too.
Funny, that was the time that I too wanted to try out for school prefectship. The application process went well until the interview, where the candidate has to attend a meeting along with the panel of disciplinary teachers (there were 4 of them). I knew she’s on the panel.
In the beginning, I thought my interview went alright. The teachers took turns quizzing me on various issues, such as the reasons behind my application and my views on the school’s disciplinary system. I gave them my answers and hoped for the best, of course. Then came her turn.
“Is that boy still bullying you?”, said she; smiling nonchalantly.
Ah, the end, I thought. Why is she bringing my personal issue to the table? I may be only 12 years old then, but hey, I know a low blow when I feel one. I just gritted my teeth and muttered something to the likes of the ongoing conflict with him which is something I am now used to. She didn’t ask anything further, it seems that she obviously didn’t think there’d be anything with regards to my application which was worth enquiring.
In an alternate world with no consequences, I would prefer very much to just walk up to him and deliver a sharp blow to his face. I know some people have a better understanding of a fist than words. This guy I feel, was one of those. But then again, in reality, that move would make things more difficult for me with all the negative repercussions it would incur. So no.
Came the interview results. That same disciplinary teacher walked up to my class and summoned me along with another classmate of mine who was also prefect candidate.
“I have something to tell the both of you. Let me remind you that in all applications, not every one would succeed…”
Oh man, I knew it. It is obviously me she’s sending this message to. My friend was called out as a decoy. So horribly obvious, considering my situation with the teacher.
“…so if any of you didn’t get through, don’t worry…there’s always next year. Alright?”
I really felt like just giving her a smirk and say “I’m not that naive as you think, this is such a badly veiled attempt in cushioning the fall for me”. On one hand, I appreciate that she took the trouble to create this diversion to somehow “soften” the blow for me when it comes; on the other hand, I was partially offended and even insulted thinking so this is how you view me now, just because I am being bullied by this jerk? You made it appear as if to report, is to bring my vulnerability to the table.
Needless to say. I lost the prefectship. My other friend who got summoned with me earlier got through. She was so relieved as she thought the teacher was gesturing to her indirectly when she made that “speech”.
If only she knew.
Fortunately, the jerk changed schools the subsequent year much to my relief and immense delight. I made another attempt at the school’s prefectship (the panel of interviewers were now another 4 teachers) and got through. Feels great *grins*
Fast forward 10 years down the road.
I was doing my final year training at this particular hospital and received news that the SAME jerk was hospitalised at the exact same place where I was. He apparently attempted suicide due to a messy break-up with his girlfriend then.
That news made me feel rather weird. Somewhat deja vu. But not quite.
When I was much younger, I’d be so pissed at him that I’d wish for him to just disappear from the face of the earth one day. I seriously meant that at that time as the bullying was pretty traumatising. Little would I know that a decade down the road, he with his own hands almost delivered my initial wish.
I didn’t intend to see him again anyway, as I’ve pretty much lost contact with him (whee) ever since he switched schools. Imagine the so-called tormentor, now being reduced to a pitiful figure of which he chose to be by his own means.
Karma? or his choice? I think it’s a bit of both. An attempt made on his own life, that would have to be something that he has actively decided by himself. Cornered or not, ultimately it is his decision and he chose this path. Would I be wrong if I conclude that this is something which he has brought upon himself, for the sole reason that he had a hand in it?
“Are you gonna say anything or visit him?”, my friend (the bearer of the news) asked.
I just shrugged, gave a sigh, and shook my head. I don’t intend to change anything. This is his course.
Let it be. This is not my burden to bear.