It happened in the tenth grade in high school. Back then, my high school was from 10th to 12th grade. It was lunch time and I bought my food in the Cafeteria. There were two sides of the lunchroom separated by a kitchen. One side was where a lot of the students ate and the other side was where more of the troublemakers ate. Not a lot of people ate on that side. But on that day, there were a lot of new faces in the lunch room and I really didn't have anyone to sit with since it was a new school and the tables were all full. But on the other side, there were a lot of tables free. So I sat by myself at a table on the other side.
There was only one other table that was occupied. And about six guys were surrounded around it. So there I am about to eat my lunch and I look over at the table and I see one guy staring at me. I knew of this kid from Junior High School. He was a tough guy there and he was at my school only for one grade probably because he got kicked out of school. But he was notorious for fighting and beating kids up. He was much bigger and stronger than me. We were both the same age, fifteen. But the difference was that I looked much younger and he looked much older. He was on the football team and I was on the bowling team. I could see him from the corner of my eye walking toward my table, and I remember one of his friends saying, "Dude, don't bother him." About three seconds later, he was standing over me as I sat there with my plate of food in front of me. He grabbed half my roll off my tray and began eating it. I didn't show fear but I was scared as hell inside. I then told him that I wasn't too hungry and he could have the roll. But he didn't respond. He then said a few words I can't remember and walked away. Two weeks later, I made some new friends and I bought pizza that day and sat on the side of the Cafeteria that everyone sat at. There was five of us at the table, and down the hallway, I spotted him with his book bag. He kept walking and as he got closer, he started veering straight for my table. I tried to ignore him and picked up my slice of pizza and just as I was about to take a bite out of my pizza, he leaned in. I flinched. He then took a bite of my pizza as I was holding it in my hand and then he proceeded to walk out the school doors. Since I had new friends, I pretended that I knew him and was just being cool with him but I'm not sure if they bought that story. I put the pizza down and just ate the crust that day. About a week later, my mom packed me a brown paper bag lunch and she made my favorite, plain Boars Head bologna on a roll. And again, here comes you know who walking straight for me. But this time, my friend Danny from the 11th grade came over to me and was talking to me and you know who turned and walked the other way that day. In fact, he never bothered me again. I don't know if it was the presence of my friend Danny that helped the situation or he didn't feel like wasting his time picking on me anymore and just found someone new to pick on.
It may not sound like much of a bad bully story. He never hit me. But I should have smashed the pizza up in his face or confronted him outside. I should have stood up to him. That is what goes through my mind now but it wasn't that easy then. This boy did what he wanted whenever he wanted and he would have beat me up, just like he beat others up. He was very intimidating.
But how did it effect me? Well, I said my bully never bothered me again. Which is true. But I also never gave him the chance to bother me. I never ate in the lunchroom again. Instead, I hung out in the library during lunch, someplace he’d never be. I was fortunate that he was never in any of my classes and if I saw him, I would just avoid him and walk the other way. Which is what people who have been bullied do. I did feel good when I heard he was graduating early in January of my senior year, which was great. Didn’t have to worry about him anymore. Others were bullied in high school by him also. And then there were different bullies just in general in school who bothered some other of my classmates.
Bullying is wrong and a cowardly act. The fact is that he bullied a lot of people in grade school. So much, that at my high school reunion, it seemed like everyone had at least one story of being bullied by him.
I can’t say that he was the reason I wrote this book. But he was part of my motivation. All bullies are my motivation. This book is a fiction story that is centered around bullying but goes on to a different adventure in itself with a strong message about the effects of bullying.
I think anyone who has ever been bullied would enjoy this story. Whether you’re a young adult or much older. Everyone has been through high school. Which means everyone can relate. Whether you've been bullied or were the bully, you may enjoy this book. I just want to say thank you to my bully. Wherever you are, I hope you changed.
25 years after he took a bite of my pizza, I saw my bully at an opening day baseball game. I wanted to confront him and tell him what a jerk I thought he was in high school, but I didn't. Instead, I became the scared little kid from high school all over again.