Empathy No. 043
WRITE ABOUT A TIME WHEN YOU FELT VULNERABLE, AT LEAST 200 WORDS.
She would watch me from the corner of the room with cold anger in her eyes. It was her task to keep the classrooms in order, to put a stop to students hurting each other, disrupting the class. That was supposed to be her duty but most of those troublemakers were invisible to her. She could only see me, the target of her rage.
I was eleven years old, and I couldn't say what I had done to earn that anger. Was I really so much of a problem? I'd watch the others throw things across the room, and cheat, and even try to steal from each other, and usually she wouldn't respond. But I couldn't even move without a reprimand. "You don't need to sharpen your pencil. Sit down." "Quit looking through your binder, you have paper already." "Stop looking down, look at the teacher." Always with a snarl, this hint of bitterness, this tone of hate.
What could I do? Who do you tell when the bully is an adult? For a while, I thought I could appease her. If I turned in the others, then she would see I wasn't this wicked child, or at least she might choose another target. But it only angered her further: "Keep your eyes on your own work." So I all I could do was endure until she was no longer around. Like my mother always told me - this too shall pass.
And I was as good as I could be, better than anyone is expected to be. It only stoked that anger, and kindled the spark, but I never saw it.
I felt it one day, her claws around my wrist, a sharp tug, a pain through my arm and into my shoulder, and by my face was that snarl, and her sandy growl: "Quit scratching you head, you little freak! Quit it!"
I never told anyone about it, but there were people who saw it. She wasn't afraid to hurt me, even with witnesses. And as the years passed, I saw her hurt others, always the weak and the slow. I guess that's why she hurt me, because she knew that there would be no consequences. There never are for smart sadists who pick their victims well.
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