“No, please!” I cry out as they shove me aside like a rag doll and turn my backpack upside down, littering the road with my books. “Who the hell do you think you are? You’re nothing. Don’t dare to act cheeky around me next time.”
He stands with three other guys, all looking down at my miserable figure sprawled out on the road, like I’m an insignificant bug in their path. I quiver helplessly, ashamed of the fear I feel. Then I give a small nod, avoiding eye contact to save whatever shred of dignity I have left. They take turns mocking me and then having had their fun, mount their bikes and drive off. I get up slowly, dust my jeans, gather my books and start the long walk home.
Why, I wonder. Why are they so heartless and cruel? I have never been anything but kind to them. I could not fathom how bullying me brought them any joy. I could not understand their desire to feel powerful constantly. I mentally promised myself to never be like them. They were monsters.
“Hi darling. How was school?” “It was fine, ma.” I never told her. I didn’t want her to worry. Plus I was ashamed of being weak. “Hi anna!” My brother comes running to greet me, a big smile plastered on his face. “Hi.” I say without enthusiasm. “Get me some water, will you?” He brings me water. “And put my shoes in the cupboard.” He does that too. “Can you go upstairs and fetch my phone for me?” He pouts, “I don’t want to go all the way upstairs, anna. Get it yourself please.” That annoys me. “Shut up and get it. I ask you for one thing and you can’t even do that.” I whack him and start yelling at him. He walks away before I can finish my sentence. “What’s wrong with him? He’s so irritating, ma.” “Why can’t you ever be nice to him? He’s your brother. He loves you.” “I’d be nice to him if he wasn’t so annoying.”
Later that evening I walk into my brother’s room to find him brushing off tears quickly. He looked helpless, ashamed. He reminds me of someone. “Why are you crying?” I ask. “You’re always mean to me. I try to talk to you and spend time with you but you scold me every time I do. You’re a bully!”
As he runs past me, I catch a glimpse of his face. He is hurt and disappointed and his eyes are puffy and red from crying. I stand there for a minute, contemplating my innocent, loving ten year old brother’s words. My heart shatters as I realise how monsters are created.
By Malika Nanduru
Image Source : Flickr.com