a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

Archive for Subway

completely horrifying

< by Jill >

Bullying is an ancient art — an ancient art of words. More than bruises or bodily harm, mean words germinate into sour feelings and give rise to vengeful deeds. Unless, of course, the words are dismissed as meaningless.

I was in seventh grade. Over the summer, I had sprouted to the height of 5’4″. This growth spurt yielded two benefits: (1) I could finally see what they were doing to my sandwich at Subway and (2) I finally caught the attention of boys. In particular, I caught the attention of Darek-with-an-a.

When Darek-with-an-a asked me to be his girlfriend, my insides exploded and then reconstituted just in time for me to blush and nod yes. However, I was not allowed to date boys unless accompanied by a checkbook-balancing, grapenuts-eating grownup. So, as a compromise, Darek and I sat next to each other at lunch.

Two weeks later, as I chatted with a circle of friends, Darek’s best friend barged in and stepped right up to my chin. I looked down. “Darek doesn’t want to go out with you anymore,” he said. “He says you’re a whore.”

I straightened up. I had never heard that word in my life. “Whore?” I inquired, feeling a gust of confidence. “That’s not even a word. I think you mean horror.”

Everyone burst out laughing. I smirked and thought I really zinged him!

Weeks later, once the gossip made the circuit, I realized that everyone had laughed at me. But it didn’t matter. Maybe they knew the word whore, but they didn’t know me. Heck, I hadn’t even made out with a pillow!

In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”