An older boy comes up to me, punches me in the face. He kicks me in the gut, throws me to the ground. He kicks me again, then stops.
I don’t know understand, but he’s done his damage. I’m beaten.
I’m also traumatized.
I hate this person.
Whenever I see the boy, I hide and cringe and hate myself for being a cowered and I hate him for crushing my sanity.
He’s made his stake in my soul. His face conveys evil. He represents pain and death. He represents my weakness. I am scared, defeated. I am nothing. He has erased me. I no longer exist.
But I do exist and I can’t do anything about that.
So I suffer in silence. I hate every day. I hate who I am, and I especially hate him. It — he — consumes me. I am nothing but fear and defeat and hatred.
I wish I could reach out and tell the younger me you’ve got it all wrong.
One day the boy comes to me to apologize.
I don’t recognize his words, they make no sense. I am in a bubble that silences the outside world. I am destroyed. No apology can change what he has done to me. It’s all invisible, hateful, shameful, lonely inside.
So he walks away and sighs.
Until one day, I meet him on a train. We’re both going to work. He apologizes again.
He is a changed man. His bully features are still visible, but he has less of a smirk. I heard his older brother had died tragically in a drunken car crash. I can see that part of my bully died along with his brother.
He’s turned into a regular person, a suit. Beaten by mundanity.
We spoke about our jobs. We separated after a few minutes.
Odd, he was smaller than me.
I too am a changed man.
I no longer hate him.
But I still hate myself for having been once considered a piece of garbage.
I am still ashamed to admit that someone had beaten me for a short period of my life.
I am traumatized and I have not really addressed nor removed this trauma.
But I journal, trying to reach … something.
“Love is squeezed until suffocation, until a part of it dies. But love is infinite. Like the stars, like an astronomer, in the night, when all is quiet, and I am the only one with a telescope turned inward, recording tonight’s static observations in my journal. It is only at the end of the story that a pattern emerges — a new fragment, or a loss, appears. And I am the first one to observe it. So I get to name it. And I alone get to live it. I’ve just discovered a runaway galaxy in the vast universe of love. But it disappeared before I had a chance to name it.”
Last night I had to defend myself from another bully. I eyed him down and he laughed it off, then disappeared to find an easier victim.
I still think of my bully. Often. I even wrote a Medium post about him. Maybe I should have kicked his ass right there on the train. I should have told him that I cried when I heard about his brother. And … (shame on me), that I felt relief that he — my bully — had gotten his punishment.
That’s the ambivalent love he has left me with.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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