Monday, September 19, 2011
Do you remember...I do, how could I forget?
Hey there, how have you been? Remember me, Conrad...it's Daniel. It has been awhile since we spoke...actually it has been about 19 years, but who's counting, right? I am sure you don't remember but you sat across from me with your blonde shaggy hair to your shoulders, wearing a striped shirt with grey cargo pants. I was the small-framed, dark haired, brown-eyed shy boy who hardly spoke to people, but yet managed to say hello to you. Do you remember...?
We were both brand new to the school. You and I had just transferred over from another elementary school so that we could continue in the music program. You played the trumpet, I played the violin. Sitting in Mr. Flores' classroom trying to figure out what was next. Will we be the two kids outcasted for being new? Little did we know that making sure our crayons were in correct order or what time recess is would become of little importance. A few days later after talking and sharing bologna sandwiches and Kraft cheese crackers we became best friends. We were good, right? Every day at recess we would sit under the trees, talk, play marbles, it didn't matter, we got along just fine. Sometimes we would go into the sandlot and join some of the other guys and girls. Play on the monkey bars, chicken fight, the things kids do...remember?
A month had passed by, and we had to leave our classroom due to school overcrowding. Our grade was being combined with another higher grade. It was another major shift. New kids, older kids, we no longer sat at the same table.We spoke a little less. You sat with a few of the older kids, and two of them became your new best friends...and then it happened.
It wasn't long that you somehow integrated yourself into this new group. It was rapid and smooth, no fight against the current. Before I knew it, we stopped speaking to one another. We no longer were hanging out during recess, you spent all of your time with these two older guys. Maybe that is when it started...the mind shift, the fact that you began to become someone different. It wasn't long when...
"Fag." "Faggot"...now do you remember?
Everyday grew worse. The name calling, along with your friends' crude remarks. Did you feel important? Where you the MAN? Did it make you feel good inside, knowing that you hurt your best friend (or at least I thought)? Your friends would laugh and cheer you on. Their laughter, the prize to your fight. The sad part is you were never brave enough to do it in front of a crowd. Was it because you did care about hurting my feelings or, were you just a scared little boy who knew getting in trouble would be far worse than calling me a fag?
The name calling went on for weeks. I kept it all inside, never shed a tear. Never told a soul. You would never know that, but then again you had written me off as a friend. So did it really matter? Probably not.
I didn't know it would become worse. Does anyone EVER really know? Everyone was lined up ready to go in to class after recess. It was a warm day. The sun was blaring onto the asphalt, reflecting back into our eyes. Maybe it was the heat that caused mental delusion, made you do the thing you did. We were at the end of the line, people had already filed in, one by one. You turn around, curl your fist...then a hit to my stomach...FAGGOT. Do you remember? I do. I went ahead and went into class, hunched over, playing it over and over in my mind. I excused myself to the bathroom, at that point I couldn't fight the tears back. It was my first time...getting hit by anybody. The anger grew in my stomach, the area where you hit me. Anger, hate, distrust, it made me sick.
The school year went on as did your abuse. I grew to learn to put away my anger and feelings. Maybe that is what I learned to do whenever I was hurt, because it followed me into adulthood. What was the use of lashing out...I would be the same as you. Wouldn't I? So now I write to you after many years asking you...
Now do you remember me...of course you don't...you are no longer here. The truth is you passed away in high school. But I still remember you.