True Treasures of Friendships
If there is one thing I regret in my life is that I am a former bully. If I could turn back time, I would wipe away this horrible part of my life. I was born in a family of eight children. I am the last born and the only girl. My father was in the navy, so the only time my mother saw him was when he came and impregnated her with eight of us. When she was pregnant with me, my dad vanished without a trace. So my mom was left to raise eight kids on her own. My brothers were the only men in my life and they were all tough guys. They bullied me day and night but the one thing they never tolerated was anyone else doing the same to me. They were very protective of me, so I never worried about being hurt by anyone else. So I inherited their behaviour of bullying. When I went to school, I extracted my bully behaviour on the kids at school. Every kid was afraid of me because they all knew I had seven crazy brothers so it was easy for me to make life miserable for them. The worst part of it was that I enjoyed it and it made me feel superior on the outside but on the inside I hated it and wanted to desperately stop doing it. Back in my day we didn’t have the internet or mobile phones or all the fancy gadgets we had today so I used a lot of verbal and physical abuse.
After years of tormenting frail little weaklings, one tragic incident finally woke me up. There was a rich kid who moved into our neighbourhood and he was a brainy kid but very bossy and arrogant. His father had just become the mayor of our town so he used “daddy’s power” to do whatever he wanted. I clashed with him several times but I was always on the losing end. Then one day, whilst in a maths class, he made a very rude and racist slur towards me and I lost it completely. I grabbed him from his seat and threw him through the glass and out of the window. Our maths classroom was on the third floor and he was sitting right next to the window. He landed on his back, shattered glass and blood covered him. He was unconscious. He was in a coma for five days. After he woke up, the doctors said he would never walk again as his spine was totally broken. He developed severe speech problems which were caused by swelling in his brain but luckily it didn’t cause any brain damage. He was confined to a wheelchair. I was charged with assault and grievous bodily harm.
Do you relate to this story?
On my 16th birthday, I was sentenced to five years at a juvenile detention centre. Most people on their 16th birthday have their sweet sixteen parties and I was celebrating mine in solitary confinement in a four by four square inch cell. I spent my first month all alone and I was not allowed to receive any visitors. After that month I was given a temporary license to mingle with fellow inmates. It didn’t take long before I was back in the dog house. One of the leaders of the many gangs that were there provoked me to the point were it ended in a juvenile riot. After two years, I was transferred to a women’s prison since I turned 18 and was legally an adult. It was there that I learnt the true meaning of what a monster I really was. After extensive rehabilitation and psychiatric treatments, I was released on my 21st birthday. When I got out, the first thing I did was go by the boy’s home to make amends, only to be told that they immigrated to another country for better medical care. I was distraught at hearing that and spent the next fifteen years looking for him so I could apologize to him. I never did see him and regretted to have never had the chance to ask for forgiveness. Everyday I prayed that I would be given that chance to see him again and my prayers were eventually answered.
I was attending a seminar aimed at leadership and management after accepting an invitation from my two friends. When I arrived at the premises, I received the program of how the seminar would progress. I saw his name as the key note speaker and I thought “what a coincidence, he has that boy’s name, but surely it can’t be him.”
After the program formalities were complete, the time for the key note speech had arrived. When the announcer finally introduced the key note speaker, I was gobsmacked. It was him! I finally found him. He was still in his wheelchair. He waltzed up slowly to the sound of applause while others helped lift up his wheel chair unto the speaker’s podium. When I saw him, tears were just streaming down my face and I was totally numb. I could barely hear anything he said. I ran out into the corridors and sobbed like jilted bride. My friends came out to comfort me and couldn’t understand why I was crying. I told them that I was responsible for putting him in that wheelchair. Soon word got to him that there was a lady in tears because of him. He came out after his speech and when he saw me, he gasped with total joy and was so happy to see me. He told me that he too had wondered what happened to me and he also wanted to apologize for provoking me. We got to talking and turns out he now runs a multi million dollar IT corporate company. He mentioned that his injury was a blessing in disguise because he would not be this successful if that didn’t happen to him. That was three years ago. Now we are the best of friends and involved in various anti bullying campaigns and charities, which has helped a number of people with problems of bullying.