It came out of nowhere, a meaty projectile hurdling toward my face.
My head bounced off of the green back of the bench seat on the school bus.
Metal frames bit into my right eyebrow. My vision blurred.
A moment passed before I recognized tears welling in my eyes and a glass lens gone.
I turned just in time to see Ben take his seat in the back of the bus.
Other kids, middle-schoolers, averted their eyes as I attempted to turn around and avert my own.
A voice boomed from the front of the bus, “Hey! You!”
I looked up.
The driver looked past me to the back.
“Straight to the principal’s office!” he said.
I waited for the bus to mostly empty before exiting.
The driver caught my arm.
“You too,” he said.
I felt as if I were in trouble, sitting there, waiting next to Ben.
Eventually the principal ushered us in.
“Tell me what happened.”
My story was short.
“Ben got up and hit me from behind,” I said, holding my mangled frames in my hands.
“He thinks he’s better than me! Like his family is perfect! Because my dad’s, my dad’s a . . . ”
Tears flowed from Ben’s face.
I sat uncomfortable, unsure.
I never said these things to Ben.
I lived in fear for years that he would catch me out in the open and pummel me.
The principal looked at me.
“I never said . . . ” then I stopped and looked down.
Sorrow for someone I hated for so long.
“You may go,” the principal said, looking at me. “Ben, let’s talk.”
I can’t say bullying stopped for me after that day, but I can say I never remember being bullied by Ben again.