Have you ever wondered why bullies are usually a group thing with persons of the same mindset? This is mainly a defense mechanism because bullies often gets lonely and scared too. They usually win because the abuse goes unnoticed or silent for long periods in the life of the victims. The victims are either too scared or embarrassed to talk about it. Fighting back is the last thought in the miserable mind of the victim but in the end is the best medicine for the problem.
It was a tiring period of picking pigeon (gongo) peas and broad beans that had grown entwined along slim make shift plum-tree stalk on my family land. A strategy my mother came up with to grow peas all year round trying to make a reasonable living. The tiny worms from the pods were my elder sister’s pet peeve but I had long grown accustomed to them, more gaping pitifully as they were being squashed by everyone except me during the long draining hours of peas shelling.
I had barely graduated out of calico bloomers and was rejoicing giddily in soft sear sucker underwear with only the stigma of pauperism that had a tinge of dampness on our Christmas which somewhat threatened my glee. Apart from that I was determined to spread my excitement until there was nothing left of the Christmas spirit except for the taunting memories of humiliation unleashed upon me some weeks before by a set of cowards. Yes! COWARDS as they all were.
A total of ten, thirteen and fourteen year-old girls driven by boosting and bribing of each other to mercilessly rage wrath on me because I was from a different side of the track and seemed like the perfect pushover. The abuse on me prolonged for the last three weeks of school before the christmas break and what made it more terrible was the fact that it was my most favorite holiday.
They started out by jeering me about my freckles. I knew my freckles were cute and scantily sprinkled about my brown oval-shaped face. I usually liked them but afterwards I started to hate them and hate myself. Shortly after it was my old twisted school shoes and then my extremely faded navy pleated tunic worn with a usually clean but badly stained white inner blouse.
I was shocked how easily they changed my good spirit making me very unhappy and miserable to the point that I hated myself and those wretched few weeks of school. It was heart pounding and humiliating every afternoon as I managed to squeeze in the small overcrowded, overloaded J. U. mini bus and sat down to the ache of a dozen hands pounding on my head in a split second. I couldn’t figure exactly the ones who hit me each day but I knew the set of girls.
The pain moistened my sad eyes and I struggled to hide my tears that would further embarrassed me should they start to spill. While everyone else ignored what was happening, some of them out of fear and the others out of loyalty. From then on I felt very sad and alone as the beating got worse and I was being humiliated at every opportunity the group got. Out of fits of anger I started to imagine myself fighting back. Then out of desperation I thought of a plan which I put into action a day before school break for the holiday.
After school adjourned that particular day, I got off the bus a quarter-mile before my scheduled stop. Someone had told me of a short path home where the girls had to pass to get to their home and I had hidden a firm broom stick there the evening before . My heart pounded dreadfully in my stomach and neck out of fear of what I had planned to do. One against ten I thought nervously but my raging anger saturated by misery was a relentless force and I swore on my grandfather’s grave I’d die fighting them today.
The four p.m. sun was ripe and pelting and I noticed the group of noisy girls as they came closer through its fierce glare in the distance. My breaths became sharper now that they were closer, displaying much vulgarity as they chatted and giggled heartily and carefree.
They hadn’t seen me and for a second I thought to drop the broom stick and hide but I bravely stepped out in front of them and angrily wielded my weapon several times across them all. I huffed and puffed for breath as the broom stick connected with several of them and I just kept on madly swinging and hitting them as they screamed out for mercy and scattered. I was breathless but smiling a victorious one as I stood alone.