|Question: Have you ever spoken up when you saw something going on that was wrong? Were you scared? What ended up happening?|
Gather around kiddies. It's storytime with Auntie Rae!
I think it was during my early high school years... maybe junior high. Okay, let's just say I was around 12-13 years old - at best guess, anyway.
My mom and her now husband used to like to go bowling and had joined a team/league which I think played once a week.
And of course my mother - being my mother - insisted on taking me with her wherever she went which in this case included the bowling alley.
I forget how long the tournament went on for, but there was nothing for me to do there. The video games weren't that great or many, there was really no place to sit, and it was too loud for me to read or do much of anything but sit and wait and stay out of the way.
I had made a friend during the tournament, a girl whose parents were on a team and brought her along. (For the sake of this story, let's call her Fancy.) Most of the time she and I would walk around the strip mall or just talk about our respective school days. Sometimes we bought snacks from the snack bar/restaurant counter and share.
Oh the party animals we were. (<=== sarcasm)
One night we sat at a small table along the long stretch of wall near the entrance - you know, that carpeted area where the bowling balls were stored. We were sitting there, out of the way of everyone, minding our own beeswax... when this dude about our age (we'll call him Doofus) rounds the corner with another dude about half his size or shorter and appearing to be younger than us (we'll call him Vic, short for Victim).
I say that because Doofus had Vic in a headlock.
Vic was whining in pain and discomfort, his body from the neck down jerking around like a rag doll. Every once in a while he tried to break free, but there was no way he was getting out of Doofus's grip. Meanwhile Doofus kept hollering at him, oblivious to anything the smaller dude was saying or doing.
The sight of the bullying and the extremely unfair fight annoyed me so I said, "Hey." Doofus didn't hear me. "Hey!" I said a little louder. Still nothing. I got up, walked over, and said, "HEY!" Both boys looked at me. Doofus asked me what I wanted, and I asked him what did he think he was doing? I told him the other boy was half his size, and he was hurting him. Doofus angrily said Vic called his mom a name. Vic said he didn't. Doofus said he wanted him to apologize. Vic, being shaken around again in the headlock said he already had. I proposed a compromise. I said, "If he apologizes right now, will you let him go?" Doofus paused in angry-thought and then agreed. I looked at Vic and told him to apologize. He did, and Doofus let him go leaving Vic to run away to freedom and safety.
I think at this point I may have thanked him for doing what he did, I'm not sure. But I do remember turning for the table to continue chilling with Fancy when I heard, "Why don't you pick on someone your own size?" before lurching forward mid-step.
That's right. Doofus pushed me.
I turned around and faced him. Doofus was my height though he looked sloppily put together, the look on his face somewhat challenging and triumphant. I looked him in the eye and said calmly, "Don't push me." And of course, he shoved me again which caused me to step back. Getting a little angry, I said, "I said... don't push me," and shoved him. He stumbled back a step, recovered, then came at me again, pushing me another time. I went back another step, recovered, then even more angry, I stepped toward him and said sternly, "I said don't push me!" I shoved him again, he stumbled back and fell on his ass. He got back up...
... and punched me.
Now, I had never been in a fight before... much less a fist fight. So I didn't know what to do. I just stood there when his fist hit my face. Then I shoved him away from me. He came back at me with a punch. I pushed him back. Punch, shove, punch, shove.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
I think he fell to the floor again at least one more time, but as he reared in for another hit, a waitress came by, grabbed his arm, and said - his head jerking toward her stuck in her grip - "WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING HITTING A GIRL? I know your mama and don't think she isn't going to hear about this." Doofus froze in his tracks, staring at her. "Now get!" She let him go, and he ran off.
At this point I was happy because the dude was annoying me. I was about to go back to my chair when the waitress came toward me and asked if I was all right. I said I was fine. She asked what happened so I told her. She then told me that I should probably go clean up. I thanked her, and Fancy walked with me to the ladies room.
The ladies room entrance was a zig-zag type of thing where you'd go in the door, go a few yards, make a u-turn, go a few more yards, make another u-turn, and then you were in the bathroom. Fancy and I were chatting the entire way there, and once officially in the bathroom, I went to the sink to wash my hands and saw my face.
On my upper lip near the cupid's bow was a giant blood blister looking thing which stood out like a black cat in a white room. I believe there was some swearing on my part. I leaned into the mirror to get a better look, but the lighting in the bathroom was terrible. I grabbed a paper towel hoping that it was just a mark that I could wipe away.
Inspecting it, I theorized that if Doofus clocked me one more time, the thing might have popped, and I'd have a bloody lip. It didn't hurt, and I didn't feel it on my face. I knew my mom would wig out though I was at an age where I took pride in my scars/bruises. And this was my first fight, and I'd knocked his happy ass down twice. Yay me!
I cleaned up as best I could, and we left the bathroom.
At one point I wanted a soda, but I didn't have any cash. I went to my mom to ask for some change, keeping my head down the whole time. She was too busy with the game to notice my bowed head. Then as she handed me a couple bucks, some noise caught our attention, and I turned to look at it. Then my mom said, "Here!" And I turned to look at her without thinking, and she said, "What the hell happened to your face?" I silently cursed myself and dropped my head again like that would solve things. When she asked again, I quickly explained about the boy picking on the other boy, and then he picked on me, and punched me a few times before a waitress intervened. My mom was upset but she was in the middle of her game and gave me that look of We'll talk later.
Later in the arcade, Fancy was watching me play something, and up walks Doofus. He made an attempt to apologize, and I told him not to worry about it. He then started having a therapy session at me - telling me that his grandma or something died, and he's not well, etc, etc, etc. I remember wanting to sympathize with him, but to the level he took it, I was not cool with him. Eventually my game ended, and Fancy and I walked away leaving him in the arcade.
Thinking back on that night, I wasn't scared. I was irritated at his behaviour, and did something about it if for no other reason than the little guy couldn't defend himself and no one else around was doing anything to stop it. When things got physical, I don't remember thinking "But I'm a girl." Maybe it's because I'm a tomboy. I don't think I've ever felt that way about anything... save maybe things only girls can do... like menstruate and give birth. But no, the only things running through my mind that night were "that's wrong" and "he needs to be stopped" and maybe a little bit of "come at me, bro."
And now? Now I know how to throw a punch. ^_^
Storytime is over, kiddies. Now it's time for bed.
Later my lovelies.