Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Bully

The Bully
By Michael Cannata

          Thinking about his schooldays always got him angry. He'd been the target of bullies throughout his early school years. He recalled the fear he felt every day, trying to make his way home without being discovered. When they caught him, he would just cry and plead with them to leave him alone. His crying just seemed to make them beat him even more. He went home with more black eyes and bloody noses than he wanted to remember.

          His mother's sympathy made him feel like a baby. He hated her pathetic attempts to make him feel better by telling him he was a good boy and good boys don't fight. Half the tears she wiped away were because of the tears she set off when she started fussing over him. Even worse, the disgust in his father's eyes when he came home to find him with the bruises from the latest beating made him feel like a coward. The few attempts his father made to teach him how to fight ended in disappointment. No matter how hard he tried to fight back he was always afraid to hit his father. "You can't win if you won't fight back!" his dad would snarl. He could feel his father's shame when he turned away.

          He finally found the courage to hit back in his junior year. Like a lot of kids do, he'd grown a lot over the summer. Suddenly, he towered over the bullies who'd made his life miserable. His anger had grown as well. He couldn't bring himself to hit his father, but he was ready to hit anyone who bullied him now! Hit them very hard!

          He started playing football and discovered that getting hit didn't hurt near as much as the shame of hiding like a coward. No longer afraid of being hit, he started fighting back. He didn't just start fighting back; he became the one who started the fights. When the chance finally came, he gave the biggest of the bullies the beating of his life. Gradually, he started to use his size against other bullies. He saw bullies everywhere.

          As he got older, he started to seek out the bullies before they could find him. He began to look for the slightest hint of aggression in the bullies he saw everywhere around him and used it as an excuse to strike first. The fight never lasted long if he threw the first punch. He enjoyed watching potential bullies retreat from his rage. Even his wife understood… standing up to him wasn't a smart thing to do. She learned her lesson quickly after just a few slaps. She never argued with him anymore.

          Now the bullying at school had started with his kids. Twice in the last week, his youngest had been pushed around while the other kids held his brother. They both got beat up. Not seriously… not yet. But he knew what he had to do. It was time for him to teach his kids how to fight back, just like his father had taught him.

          His two young boys sat crying, cowering on the sofa in the basement; Just like he did when he was hiding from the bullies. He thought about his schooldays as he came down the stairs with his fists clenched. He hated it when they looked that way... scared of their own shadows!

          There was no way he would stand for such fear in his kids. He never even recognized the feeling of shame deep inside him… as his rage grew. The sight of his two boys simpering and huddled together in terror enraged him even more. He would teach them how to fight back. They wouldn't grow up afraid of schoolyard bullies. He'd see to that!

          As he approached them, their crying increased while his anger intensified. He never saw his reflection in their eyes. If he did he would have seen the real bully. The bully they feared the most…

          …The bully in their own home.

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