Fighting means you could lose. Bullying means you can’t. A bully wants to beat somebody; he doesn’t want to fight somebody. –Andrew Vachss
Swim team was the turning point in my life, I guess. I was a lonely kid with few friends, none of them close. For the first two weeks, I spoke to almost no one. I tried talking to my one friend on the swim team, who was part of an older age bracket, but she had her own friend group and they did not include me in their conversations, even when I tried to take part in them.
Then the other girls found out I was homeschooled, and decided that meant I was stupid and did not do any schooling.
Week 3 I met a boy named Aaron. It was…an unfortunate meeting. Trixie, the smallest girl on the swim team, shorter even then me, skinny as a toothpick and covered in scabs that often bled, was being bullied by him. The pool was freezing and it was raining.
Don’t interfere, I told myself. Mind your business and you’ll be left alone.
I didn’t take my own advice. I watched as Aaron splashed water into Trixie’s face over and over again. I heard her choke. I saw the coach glance over, and then look away.
“Hey,” I said quietly. Then anger forced its way through my chattering teeth. “Hey!”
He ignored me, and I splashed water at him. He turned and stared at me as if puzzled. “Are you stupid?” He asked.
I didn’t answer, but as soon as he turned back to Trixie I splashed him again.
“Stop it, you idiot,” he snarled.
“Make me,” I snapped. Oh, the stupid things I would say when I was mad.
His eyes widened, and his mouth twisted into a sharkish grin. “Oh, I will.”
Needless to say, I swallowed so much pool water that day from his relentless splashing into my face that my stomach hurt and I felt horribly ill. He tried to force me underwater, but I evaded his attempts, despite swallowing more water. This terrified me, but every time I tried to get the coach’s attention, she glanced over and glanced away.
The coach ignored us for at least ten minutes, after which she told us to start laps.
I didn’t regret my choice. Trixie never spoke to me, and I never spoke to her, but I was glad I had helped.
Post 22 in Socially Unacceptable: The Daily Life of a Queer Schizophrenic Wreck (2022)
This is an autobiographical series about my life, something I have wanted to do for a long time. I intend to add new content daily.
For the whole series, follow this link.