If you had asked me 30 years ago whether I thought LH would ever be a friend, I would have either laughed in your face or cried. 30 years ago, I was in junior high. 30 years ago, I was frequently miserable. 30 years ago, I was bullied.
Honestly, I can’t remember most of the specifics. I do remember coming home after school and going to my room and crying. I was one of the smart kids. I was fairly sheltered. And, I was definitely awkward. All these things made me an easy target. I was the kid who took questions like “Can you still go to the Virgin Islands?” seriously and then had the whole group laughing at me for my naivety.
All this shit happened during 4th through 6th grade and only got more intense during junior high. See, in elementary school, I walked to school. It was a fairly safe time. But, in junior high, I rode a bus. That bus ride was frequently a living hell. I was picked on round the clock and made to feel like I’d never be good enough, like I’d never fit in. And, LH was right there in the thick of it.
I can’t pretend to remember all the people I went to junior high with but there are a few who stick out. I remember DW, SS, and LH…for various reasons. Some people stick out because they were smart enough to be in a bunch of my classes. Some stick out because they were particularly good at making me miserable. Some stick out for both reasons. LH stands alone among all of them.
A few years ago, I was contacted via Facebook and asked if I was the Kristin who had gone to Kenwood Elementary and Pryor Junior High. When I told her I was, she asked if I’d like to get back in touch with all the people I knew back then. Some how or another, I avoided giving into my petty inner self and said sure. I got friend suggestion after friend suggestion and sent out friend requests to quite a few of them. I was floored when I got back this message…
I was really happy to see you on FB and humbled when you sent me a friend request.
I was such a little jerk to you and have thought about that often.
I have raised two daughters and realized (been Taught) how things said by another child can be taken hard.
You look GREAT and so happy.
I deeply apologize for being THAT jerk on the bus. I hope you can forgive me one day.
While the adult me didn’t need the apology the way the kid me had needed it, it still made my day.
I have to tell you that your message made my day. While elementary school wasn’t so bad, I do have rough memories of 7th and 8th grade. Thank you so much for taking the time to message me. It says a lot of you as a person that you not only thought about those years but actually took the time to contact me about it. As far as I’m concerned, bygones are bygones and it sounds like you’ve grown into a great person and a dad your daughters can be proud of.
I have 3 sons myself…4, 9, and 13. I’d love to hear more about how you and your family are doing.
LH and I have stayed in touch through Facebook and it’s been nice getting to know the person he has become. When I found out he was going to be in Durham for his job, I asked him if he wanted to get together for coffee.
It was kind of surreal to see LH after 30 years and it was even more surreal to be meeting with him as friends. We traded stories about our kids, our lives, and how we met our spouses. I can honestly say I am proud to call him my friend.