School Bullies 1989
Here I go again. The first foot of the day is mine on the soft carpet. Sheets thrown aside, an empty fish tank sits still on the shelf, unused study notes destined for a life of neglect. Fifteen minutes to throw my head under the tap, pull on the gray board shorts, and white collared shirt that are my school uniform, and get to the bus.
The glaring morning sun blinds me as I leave our beach side unit and walk down the road. All I can think is to get through today in one piece. Not very likely, but hey, there’s no other choice.
The school bus arrives and pulls up with the ever present daily greeting from the rear windows; threatening faces glaring down. Yesterday fresh green lumps of snot and phlegm hit me with the greatest of ease. All I can do is keep my eyes cast down and stay as near to the driver at the front as possible.
The day unfolds with the usual teasing, bagging and threats until the lunch bell sounds, and we all run out of class down the stairs and out into the playground to our hangs. This is where you hang out during breaks. The cool kids obviously get the best spots. I hang with a small group of girls. We share one bench by the trees and bushes next to the library. Everyone else in my year hangs over by the school hall underneath more trees. I can see them all; eating, talking, laughing, and smoking secretly behind the hall.
There are two ways I can get to the canteen from here. A short walk past the front of the library and the main quadrangle, and there it is on the left. Or I can go around the long way behind the library, through the Year 11 hang, and then right through the main quadrangle, where the chorus of “Faggot!” and “Poofter!” will fill the oppressively hot air. “Face your fear. You have every right. Ignore it.” Personal voices in my head push me to take the long way round. Idiot! Not only do the usual chants start up, but all kinds of foods come flying through the air from all sides of the playground. Hard fruits, soft fruits, drinks cans, and water bottles half full. Meat pies, half eaten sandwiches, someones shoe. When I reach the canteen I’m a mess. Not only am I covered in food, but red marks and bruises are starting to show. The worst pain is inside. The humiliation, the spectacle, the denial.
How did I get through each day? God only knows. I never admitted my sexuality to myself, let alone the family. How bad would this have been if I’d had to live with this at home too? I seemed destined to be lost in this hell with no way out. Lies. Lies. Lies. It’s what I lived. The truth, was a painful reality, sleeping in a heart of a denial that lasted for another 10 years.
The day ends as the last bell sounds. I collect my bag and make my way down the stairs of the main building, with hundreds of others. Next thing I know four kids in my year push me to the floor half way down the stairs, and as they begin to kick the shit out of me I’m crawling further into the corner. Worst move ever. Now there’s no way out and the repetitive kicks and beatings lay in even deeper. No-one stops to help. I lay there on the floor until they stop and everyone has gone. Getting up I go to the public bus stop to get home. I can’t face the school bus in this state. I can take no more today.
Finally arriving home, limping all the way, I give thanks that no-one else is here yet. How do I explain this one to Mum?
I get undressed and run a bath, locking the door first, and dissolve. I’m covered in bruises and cuts, there’s a throbbing lump the size of a grapefruit growing larger by the second on my leg. Blood on my face and a mess of tears that never wash away.