I discovered skipping school. That was the greatest. As soon as my parents left for work, I’d turn around head back home. Either for the full day or part of it. Even now, 20+ years later, avoidance is one of my first instincts. Skipping class would lead to detention. If I was willing to walk away from an actual class, guess what I was also going to walk away from. Yeah, detention. The deal was that if you missed a detention you’d get an extra one. I ended up testing just how far they’d take the exponential increase in detentions I was earning. Eventually the VP wiped the detentions away and had me serve a 2 day in school suspension. No work to do, just sit in the office and read. Best two days I’ve ever had at school.
There was no clear or easy way for me to react to what was happening to me and how I was being treated. I didn’t always help my situation though. I realize now that I’ve always carried my emotions very close to the surface. With time and experience comes control. Not many teenagers know much about control. I certainly didn’t. What I discovered is that I have a temper. It takes a long time to bubble up, but it’s there. Over the course of the school year, I got angrier and angrier; of course this would also swing back and forth wildly with upset and sad and depressed. Though I knew who the Champion was, he was never the one to do or say anything overtly, so I never confronted him.
One day, out in the smoking section someone made a comment. I turned around and grabbed the first person I saw, yelling “What the fuck is your problem?!” Two problems. One, he hadn’t made the comment. Two, he was twice my size and for only the second time in my life I’d just laid my hands on someone out of anger. Luckily for me, though he was not happy that I grabbed him, he had heard the comment and understood what I’d thought. He grabbed me and pulled me very close. Then in a low and terrifying tone told me that he had not said anything and that I needed to let go of him. There were a few other guys in the smoking section who would have fed me my balls had they been in his shoes.
I’ve remembered that I did once interact with The Champion. One of his entourage made a comment as I walked by. I didn’t say anything to the commentator, but instead I turned to The Champion, “You know what, Champion? Fuck you.” It wasn’t a lot, but I loved it. I walked away knowing that I had addressed the person I was sure was responsible for my misery and I had let him know that I knew he was responsible. Even now I’m a little proud of myself. Of course there were repercussions. One of The Champion’s entourage was a guy that I can only describe as a thug. Even then, the Thug appeared destined for crime and prison. In fact this turned out to be true. He was eventually kicked out of my school and I learned, years later, that as an adult he is or has served time in prison. I’ve always described what happened as The Champion sic’d the Thug on me. Over the course of a couple weeks, the Thug would find opportunities to intimidate me. Walk into me in the hall, make sure he was between me and where ever I wanted to go. Not fun, but at least he wasn’t actually saying anything to me. One day, I was outside the school and Thug was inside. He saw me and started staring at me through the window. He was giving me his best menacing stare. Being on the other side of glass I felt brave and gave him the finger. Then I kept walking. Thug was waiting for me as I approached to the side door to the school. He had two friends with him. Lesser thugs, if you will. Thug announced that he was going to kick my ass. He was true to his word. I bee lined it for the door and he got his shots in. It fucking hurt. I went straight to the main office. I honestly don’t remember what went on in the office. I do know that my mom was there and I was pretty sure she beat me to the office. Turns out she thought something was coming to a head at school and was coming by to see if I was OK. I never had any idea that she knew. I don’t ever remember having talked to her. At one point while my mom and the VP were talking, I went to the washroom. I walked in and there was a sign, addressed to me, taped to the mirror. I returned to the main office in a state. I was angry and upset beyond anything. Another thing I don’t remember is getting any support from the VP or any teacher. I do remember getting the impression that she felt I was over reacting. I don’t remember talking to my mom about what had happened or about what had been going on a school. I don’t know if everyone’s memories of 20 years ago are as filled with holes as mine, but I’m kind of amazed by what feel like gaping holes in mine. High school, here in Canada, is remembered in broad strokes with some fine detail every so often.
I kept skipping. My participation in classes was already pretty low and dropped further. “Great to have in class but does not apply himself.” “Poor attendance affects grade.” I couldn’t buy in to any of it. Even as comments about me rubbing one out at a party faded away, I still didn’t want to be there. Socially, things got better eventually. I had made some solid friendships and at least had some support that way. The second year back in Canada was much better emotionally at least. I hated the school but at least had some friends to make going worthwhile; unless they decided to skip as well. I’d skip with them all the time and also on my own. This was already a proven, in my mind, solution to the problems I thought I faced at school. My attendance got me kicked out of the school. The part that always got to me was that the assholes who had bullied me and made me miserable, were still there. My parents talked the school into taking me back – they were out of the country at the time and had to come back for this. I lasted a couple more months and got kicked out for good before the end of the school year. My best friend, Kim, and I switched to a semester school to try and get out last few credits for graduation. We tried but weren’t very committed to the process. We ended up at an Alternative school. This was the beginning of my third year back in Canada. This was the first time I really felt that I fit in since I’d returned. Though I never actually finished high school, I came close and was at least able to take away some very positive experiences before moving on from high school.
I still hate The Champion. I feel bad for the Thug.
Thanks for reading. I will postscript this whole Bully section of the blog and will definitely put the posts back together into the essay that I originally wrote. This story is what started me off with this blog and though the story isn’t finished, it’s done for now. That’s a little bit sad to me.