I heard the whistling of the air, a high screaming sound of something small and fast careening towards my head, the instant before the rock struck with a dull thud. I’d flinched, frightened by the sudden rushing noise, but the instinctive movement hadn’t been enough to remove me from the missiles path.
A ringing echo thundered between my ears and I stayed hunched down, to avoid further attacks, as I turned to see who had thrown the rock at me. A sheepish grin and a raised apologetic hand alerted me to the assailant. “Sorry,” he said from halfway across the playground, “I wasn’t aiming for you.”
I mumbled “No worries,” and waved him off while rubbing at my skull as though the circular motion might somehow ease away the pain and keep the growing welt from forming. Sure he hadn’t meant to hit me. Sure he’d been just having a bit of fun. Sure his incessant “joking” at my expense wasn’t supposed to be harmful or damaging. It was all in good fun…
I was tired of that lie.
The school day ended and I sat in silence, ignoring the earnest imploring to share about my day, when my mom picked me up and drove me home. We’d had all the circular arguments about bullies before. The school had been notified. The prime offenders had been suspended, only to return after their sentence and resume their offenses. There was nothing more to be said. There was no solution that could be achieved through words.
There was, however, plenty that could be achieved through anger, and violence, and destruction, and the guns I’d be taught to care for and fire accurately from a young age. When the blood red haze of rage lifted and I was asked why I had done it, I wouldn’t lie. I aimed. I pulled the trigger. It was not in good fun.