I’d been at school less than thirty seconds before I saw the dreaded sight in my classroom. She stood with her mum, a stupid fake tear rolling down her cheek and lips quivering; they call them crocodile tears and I can see why – for me, her tears are dangerous. My teacher looks concerned, his baby-shaved face pulled in at the centre creating train tracks of worry between his bushy eyebrows.
I wondered what it was this time. Last week someone had stolen a water balloon from the Science cupboard and I’d got the blame. Another time they said I’d kicked someone and a cross dinner lady with sharp, angry eyes followed me all lunch time, arm in arm with the auburn haired liar.
Rain poured out of grey clouds that gathered overhead. I wondered why they wanted to be here, I definitely didn’t! But I was glad they came because their fat drops of water were useful for hiding the smaller, saltier ones falling out of my eyes.
I’d been at work less than thirty seconds before I saw the dreaded sight through the glass walls of the boardroom. Alex stood there: jet black suit and condescending salmon tie to remind all spectators of his sexuality. I never cared who he loves, or what gender they are, but since I rejected his advances it seems he’d rather come to work if I didn’t arrive. My boss stood to attention opposite, his hair holding so much wax it stood straight with him and his pale cheeks the colour of the aforementioned tie – probably a reaction to some sort of awkward accusation he would now have to deal with.
I wondered what it was this time. Last week he’d found homophobic notes (written in his own swirling hand) stuck on a post-it on his desk; of course I’d been blamed. Another time some of my paperwork had been stolen and I’d spent a week catching up under the steaming angry glare of my boss.
Rain poured out of the sky to knock on the windows as though it was requesting entry, I couldn’t see why it’d want to come in here – I’d rather be anywhere else. I looked at my busy desk and its coating of papers which were today’s workload, it seemed like a desert island with the surrounding desks a hostile armada. I wondered how long I’d survive.
I saw a writing exercise in a magazine where you change a detail in a story and see how its impact changes. I thought it was an interesting opportunity to compare bullying in school with the same situation as adults in a workplace. The first take is a personal memory and the bullying I faced at school was harmful to my development and a horrible experience. Luckily I haven’t been bullied as an adult, but from this exercise I can see it must be terrifying.