The Day I Made the Bully Cry
As I climbed onto the school bus, I quickly scanned the seats to see if Daniel was on board. I prayed he'd have track practice or something else that would keep him from riding. No such luck. There he sat—looking up and down the aisle, waiting to rip on whoever came near him. I ducked my head and darted to the back of the bus, but he spotted me anyway.
"Cec–cec–cecily. He–he–hey–hey, Ce–ce–cily!" Daniel cackled, making fun of my stutter. Thanks to speech therapy, my stuttering wasn't nearly as bad as it used to be. But that didn't stop Daniel from mocking me. I'd never known anyone quite like him. He only seemed happy when he was making someone miserable.
I looked at the floor and set my backpack on my lap, hoping he'd find somebody else to torment. But he kept repeating my name: "Cec–cec–cecily … Cec–cec–cecily. Sss–ssss–sssaa–say something, Cec–cec–cecily," Daniel teased. "Wha–what's the matter, Are ya ta–ta–ta–tongue–tied?"
"I don't sound like that!" I yelled. As much as I wanted to reach over and smack him, I could hear my mom's voice in my head, urging me to ignore him. But that was hard to do when he was two feet from me.
If only I could get up and walk away, I thought. But no, I'm stuck on this moving torture chamber.
Hoping to drown out his annoying teasing, I pulled out my iPod and cranked up the volume. My plan worked, until Daniel ripped the earphones from my head.
"Whatcha jammin' to? Something Latino?" he asked with a chuckle.
"Why would you say that?" I asked.
"Cuz you're Mexican," he answered.
"No I'm not. I'm Cuban!" I corrected him.
"Cuban … Dirty Mexican—same thing," Daniel huffed, rolling his eyes.
His mean remark made my blood boil. Without thinking, I sprang to my feet and blurted out the first mean thing that entered my head:
"You wanna name–call? I've got one for you, Zit Face! Ever consider medication? Your cheeks and forehead are bumpier than a BMX track!"
The bus erupted in laughter. With just one biting insult, I'd stripped Daniel of his power, and, man, did it feel good. My pulse raced as I celebrated by high–fiving the girl next to me, who was also one of Daniel's frequent victims.
I felt like I was in one of those teen movies where the good kid levels the bully and everyone rejoices because justice is finally served. But just as I turned to high–five another classmate, I noticed that Daniel was crying. Well, actually, he was fighting back tears. The devastated look on his face told me I'd totally humiliated him. I suddenly felt ashamed.
Although there was a part of me that felt like Daniel deserved what he got, I knew God wouldn't see it that way. And while Daniel's comments were completely out of line, his rude behavior didn't give me the right to act just as horribly. I certainly hadn't loved my enemy (Matthew 5:38-48). I took a deep breath, swallowed my pride, and said, "Daniel, that was a jerky thing for me to say. I'm sorry."