Part 1 of this is an adaptation of an e-mail I sent to a person who* tormented me in Junior High and High Schools. I was sitting at work, looking at the person’s* page on Facebook, and thought – I need to write him and tell him about what he did. It just sort of flowed out so please excuse any grammatical errors or the like:
I’m surprised you don’t remember me. You don’t remember calling me a ‘faggot’ nearly every day, making limp wrist gestures at me all the time, at school and at the pool? Eventually I stopped going to the pool because I couldn’t bear it to have my mother see you and your friends teasing me. It made me feel ashamed. I couldn’t have any fun there while you were about.
Over and over again. My book bag was a “handbag.” I remember that one clearly. Yes, I was quiet, and bookish, and I had a funny (English) accent. I’d just come from England. Was that reason to do what you did?
At school you were pretty relentless. Again, I dreaded the sight of you coming down the hallway, that grin warning me that you were about to rip my day into pieces. You make me feel pretty rotten every chance you could get. It seemed there was nothing about me you couldn’t turn into a opening to taunt me, to show me how you were superior to me, how you could score points by putting me down. You acted as if I were queer dirt under your feet, and everyone else laughed and I began to half believe you.
I hated going shopping with my parents, not just for what you would say to me if we saw you, but for the shame of having them see it, hear it, and wonder what was wrong with me(!) that it happened. I was enveloped in shame and steeped in fear and a slowly thickening misery. Frankly if I weren’t so afraid of dying I’d have killed myself. Honest to God. There were times I didn’t know how I could, or if I ever would, be happy and not feel afraid and ashamed.
No you weren’t the only one to be like this but you sure as hell were the most consistent and constant. You’d even make your gestures at me from a great distance; there was no safe bubble for me in school, before school, after school. I thank God my family moved away from Gambrills, mainly because it meant moving away from people like you were.
I know this is a lot to take in, in one big e-mail. It’s a lot for me to take in that you did this to me throughout middle school and into high school, and you don’t even remember it. My torment was as inconsequential to you as what you used to watch on TV back then. I bet you remember that more than you remember what you did. It kills me that you can be oblivious to this, while even typing this and remembering, I can feel my chest tighten, my adrenaline pumping and I have to remind myself that those days were a long time ago. You’ll excuse me if I’m a little angry that you don’t even have the memory of those days when I have to live with it.
Anyway. I just wanted you to know that even if you didn’t remember me, I haven’t forgotten you. I don’t know if you have been blessed with children, but please, don’t let them do to anyone what you did to me. Nobody, nobody deserves it.
I really really hated you. Funny enough, I wonder now what you’re like. I see you’re a musician. That normally indicates a sensitive, insightful soul. (Like, you know, somebody you’d have called a faggit. Why did you change the pronunciation of that – I always wondered. Was it to add to the horror?)
Are you different now? I hope so. I’m genuinely curious. If you don’t want to reply to this I understand, but I would also like to forgive you. I’m trying to, I really am. I’m 46 and I’m still dealing with the fall out from those few short years and what you and your friends did, and so I really hope I can succeed in doing so.”
*Thereby hangs a tale – and a surprise.
Anyway, to change the mood a little, here is a picture of the unnaturally handsome Manolo Cardona, who I just saw (quite a bit of!) in a great film called “Contracorriente” or “Undertow.” I”ll post a review by and by.
Did that change your mood? It sure did mine!