I have always had lots of friends. I’m well-known, intelligent, and just an all around likable person. However, there are some people who are not as fortunate, to have lots of friends. In second grade, there was “new” kid coming to my school. As children we are born curious, so we all wanted to know who he was. His name was John, and he was from another school in the district. At this time, there were rumors going around that John came to our school because he was expelled. After about a week of John’s arrival at our school, bullying had begun. John was bullied for many things because he thought and did things differently than everyone else. No one wanted anything to do with him. He had to sit alone during lunch and had to play by himself during recess. Time to time people tried sticking up for him, but they soon stopped because they were teased themselves.
About halfway through the school year, I had my first confrontation with John. We were on the playground, playing tag.
I asked him, “Wanna play tag with us?” As I asked a couple if my friends were snickering behind me. John turned, looked at me, and sat there in silence.
I told John, “Come play with us, it’ll be fun.”
“Maybe another time,” John replied. As I listened, the sorrow in his voice struck me. He truly wanted to play but was afraid that he would get made fun of.
I nodded, then, someone yelled, “Ha-ha, loser!”
After being tormented for almost three months, John finally decided to do something about it. Instead of getting a teacher, he slapped me as hard as he could across my face, leaving a huge red mark. He had mistaken me for the kid who made fun of him, but I did not forgive him. Instead, I did what any seven years old would do, start bawling hysterically. From that point on I never talked to him again.
This went on for two long years. I steered clear of him in the hallways, and almost never made eye contact with him. My friends even stayed away from him because they were paranoid as well. I remember the following year, we had to work on a project together. This was gruesome. I remember vividly, begging for the teacher for a new partner. Every time she would give the same generic response, “Don’t worry about it, it’ll be fine honey.” We barely said a word to each other. I got my work done as fast as I could to avoid contact with him.
This whole situation changed in fourth-grade. John tried talking to me and was trying to become friends. However, I was still not ready to forgive him. He explained to me that the bullying was eating him up inside. He could not take the pressure anymore. He only hit me because he thought I was the one calling him a “loser.” I realized I couldn't hold a grudge forever. That not as I laid in my bed, listening to the cricket chirp, a thought came to my mind. It is very easy to hate than to forgive. This grudge was controlling my mind, so the next day I decided to end it. I made amends with John and eventually forgave him. During our first year of middle school, we ended up becoming good friends. We now stick up for each other and cheer each other up once and awhile. To this day, our relationship is still strong.