The year went on, Mr. Beautiful and I started dating. It was as designed. Our group ran the 7th grade. I wore big boots during the winter and took a great deal of pleasure in knocking people down from behind. Not my greatest moment.
I honestly didn't think I was being mean. I was just joking. That's what I told myself. I would come up behind them, grab ahold of their shoulders and kick the back of their heels. Sometimes, I would hold them up to keep them from falling and sometimes I would let them fall. It depended on how I felt that day.
"Got yah!" I say softly into their ear as my boot kicked the back of their heel.
"Ah!" Random person said.
Their books littered the floor as they lost their center and fell down with a crack on their asses.
A flicker of triumph crossed my lips.
"I'm just messing...you alright?" I asked arching an eyebrow.
Random person caught my glimpse for just a moment before averting her eyes.
"Yeah, I'm fine you were just messing,"
"That's right," I said as I extended my hand for her to take.
My offer was genuine I'm not an asshole. I'm nice.
She looks at my hand and I can almost see the wheels turning in my head.
"It's not a trick" I chimed in quickly "let me help you up," my tone left little room for argument. This wasn't a request.
She took my hand and I helped her up. I flashed her a smile and pat her back once she was standing.
"We good?" I asked.
Her brown eyes bore into me. There was something in her eyes that was in conflict with her words but her words were all I cared about so when she spoke...
I removed my hands from her person and kept walking. She could take care of those scattered books herself I'm sure.
No one ever said anything to me about my games. No one ever complained or asked me to stop. Looking back I sometimes wonder why that was. Do you want to know what the most interesting thing is? The meaner you become the more you have to prove. I hadn't realized how difficult it would be to hold the crown. There is always someone who thinks they deserve it more than you.
"Why do you always do that??" Amanda asked gaining my attention as we walked towards class.
"It's just playing around. She wasn't angry," I replied.
"Well...someone can get hurt. Maybe you shouldn't do that anymore,"
Her words cut me a little too deep for my own good. I looked between the two of them "Do you agree?" I asked.
My other friend just looked at me, no words. Weakling.
"Seems like you are alone in that opinion," I said with a smirk on my face.
The light in her eyes dimmed as she accepted defeat. She stopped trying to argue with me and I heard her say under her breath,
"No, I'm not," I decided not to say anything. Let her have her whispered objection.
I wondered if she would try to rebel against me but quickly dismissed the thought. Amanda was loyal and loyalty should be rewarded.
It would seem that holding the crown would be harder than I thought it would be. It hadn't occurred to me at the time that I would be spending the next several years having to prove myself. I had to remain better than everyone else.
There was a hierarchy in our group and I was number two. Being number two came with certain expectations. Being mean was just a part of the role. Holding that title meant fights, lots of fights. I had to manage fights, organize fights, and in some cases, participate in fights. Losing was not an option.
It is interesting because at the time I thought I was a good person. I smiled at everyone. I spoke to everyone. I was friends with everyone. Wasn't I? They loved me. Didn't they? They had to, because if they didn't what would that mean?
I still remember walking around and talking to everyone like a nice person would.
"Hi, how are you?" I'd say cheerfully.
"Good," random person would respond as they kept their gaze just off my eyes. I'd pretend I didn't notice.
"That's great, any good plans for the weekend?"
Hesitation etched on their face.
"Yeah, going out of town."
I'm smiling but secretly I'm pissed off. "That's great!" My breathing just got heavy.
I'm jealous of this asshole for going out of town. I'm wearing my boots today so I'll see you later and make you feel the way I feel right now.
"Have fun!" I force out of my mouth as I'm imagining you fall down on your prefect ass you entitled bitch.
"Thank you," she said softly still just avoiding my gaze.
I saunter away from her as I imagine the way her body will hit the ground and suddenly I feel better. I'm calm once more and peace consumes me.
I wasn't like those who had tormented me in elementary school. Nope. I was better. I was kinder. I wasn't cruel. Not like them. Never like them. I never stood behind someone and picked out the lice from their hair just so I could pretend it jumped out at them.
I had never taunted someone by telling them how ugly they were and that they should just stop coming to school to save everyone the embarrassment. No, I never did those things. What I did was light-hearted fun. I was sure it was. No one complained.
"How can you rationalize poor behavior and tell yourself that you are still a good person?" You asked.
It is easy. You just have to believe that you are not as bad as someone else. I wasn't as bad as my bullies were in elementary school. Nope. I wasn't that bad at all.
I was also the number two here, so that meant that there was someone worse than me. There was someone meaner and she was the problem, not me. She was the mean one. I was the nice one. I was the good cop. I was sweet and kind. I made people laugh with my jokes.
They didn't mind my kicking them as long as I didn't let them fall and if I let them fall they'd understand. It was just a joke. Nothing serious. It was never anything serious enough to go home crying about it. That's what I told myself and that made it OK. Anything can be rationalized away when you want to feel innocent of your crimes. Who decides what is right and what is wrong anyway?
I think, deep down, I knew the truth. Deep down, we all know the truth. We just choose to ignore it.
Thank you for reading to date. I plan to release a new chapter once a week. If you have read so far, please follow me and leave a review or a comment. Thanks again! Updated 2/15
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