Saturday, February 16, 2008


He's so very little. And yet he is aware of so much. Too much. He lives in a land controled by tyrants who hurt him because they can. There is no respite. I wish I could comfort him. I wish I could let him know that it'll be ... he'll be OK. But I can't. He's too far away from my arms for me to hold. Too far away to hear my voice. He just feels alone. He isn't. I'm here. But he doesn't know that.

Look, there's the school. It's so small. But to him, it's a big building. It's taken on life. Look carefully you can see it's breath in the cold. Inside are those who would torment him, torture him, exclude him, avoid him, knock him into lockers, mock him, make his day so fear filled that learning is impossible. They who walk the hall lie to him, they give him subtle messages that they will have power over him for his whole life. That they will rule his days and nights, forever. That there is no escape. It's here that he first thinks that dieing would be a relief. And I want to comfort him. I want to let him know that they are bullies and that bullies lie. Bullies don't control time. And bullies can't predict the future. But he can't hear me. I can see him, right in front of me, but I can't scream loud enough for him to hear.

And there, there's his house. This is no respite from the storm of school. No place of acceptance. This is a place that the weather station fears - the tempests here are too violent, too unpredictable, the damage too great. Here, he's just a boy, but he walks on eggshells. Never wanting to cause the offense that sets off the violence. He makes it to his room and he cries. Relief bring tears, fears bring more. He's lost. He's alone. And I can't talk to him. I'm sitting on the bed next to him and I can't talk to him. Can't reassure him that he will grow out of this place. That he will survive this. That he needs just to keep on going, the path he's on will take him far, far away from all this. But he sees no path, he sees no end.

"Are you ready to go back to the hotel?"


We pull out of town. I had wanted to go back to my home town while in the area. The town that I grew up in. The town that holds my childhood. We drive through the few streets of a very small town. I point out various landmarks of memory to Joe. But the memories that crowd my mind are of the aloneness and fear experienced by a boy who knew abuse at home and bullying at school. A boy who had no idea that he would travel far away from this place.

It will end.

That's what kids need to know about childhood.

It will end.

That's what kids need to know about powerlessness.

It will end.

That's what kids need to know about bullying.

It will end.

That's what kids need to know.

And that's what I'd tell him.

That little boy with my face.

But he can't hear me.


All 4 My Gals said...

My heart breaks for all the little ones who don't know that there IS hope. My dream is to not to return to work full time, but to volunteer in the girls school full time and be a friend and mentor to some of the kids whose homelives leave them feeling empty. I wish we could make them all feel better!

wendy said...

Oh Dave, I know. I know. I have a little girl of my own that I can't reach back through time to. Like you, I've beaten so many odds and come out to a place of love and safety. I can imagine how amazed you were to find Joe in your life like air and water.

FridaWrites said...

It must be crushing to be bullied that much. I am very glad that my kids' school takes bullying seriously. Despite the fact I was heckled by second graders this week, one of the regular substitute teachers saw, she was looking closely to see who they were, and I knew that it would be addressed later. My son was threatened by other first graders last year, and though I didn't initially know about it, the principal put an immediate stop to it. Nevertheless, my son recently wrote about what life would be like twenty years from now. He wrote about his future job, then concluded that he wouldn't be married or have kids because he'd be too geeky. I told him that in the grown up world, geeks definitely get married, and that women like smart men. I explained how his dad and I were considered geeky, and why we value intelligence. He seemed surprised and relieved. It's not clear where he got this message since he denies that anyone at school told him this. I wish more kids have support and hope my own don't experience difficult times as they get older.

I've also talked to them about standing up for others when they see someone hurting another person and why they not go along with the crowd even when it means being the only person who doesn't go along. And I've seen them do this.

FridaWrites said...

I wish more kids and adults would take measures to stop the kind of harassment you experienced.

Unknown said...

You've told this story so wel, in such an original way, that I'm amazed, surprised and moved at the same time.

Belinda said...

The "friend me" has an aching heart for Dave.

The "writer me" is stunned by the writing.

The "caring me" will send this post to a friend who needs it.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad your coming home, home to place where there are many of us that care, that won't let the bullies and abuse rule.

Welcome Home Dave. We missed you and need you.


Anonymous said...

your post made me cry...
but i'm still not so sure i believe that there's any end... i'm still not sure that dying isn't the only way out...
but i feel validated... which is something... and maybe not so alone...
thanks for posting.

Joyful Fox said...


I hurt for the little boy that was you.

I am so sorry you went through that and I weep tears of joy for who you are today.

Because of your deep pain, and the injustice that was done to you, you have found your voice. You are not a child anymore and you speak hope, victory, and love into so many lives.

The healing comes sometimes when we give what we never received.

I am glad that little boy survived, in spite of the pain. I am glad that he hasn't forgotten where he came from - may he continue to heal and find joy in the"now".

lina said...

Do you think little Dave would feel better to know he wasn't alone back then? You were not screaming only at him. I hope they could all hear.
Powerful, well written - what an immense part of you you have shared.

Anonymous said...

My husband used to be one of those bullied kids, and he is a clever and delightful man (though very guarded because of the experience).Let me just say that in the thirty years we have been together,I've seen him run rings around those know-alls.I am so proud of him.My daughter was bullied.In the work-place now she is dearly loved.They outshine and persevere, and perseverence is the thing.The key.An earlier comment worried me. Dying is not the only way out. Dig deep to the gutsiness. If there is no gutsiness, develop it, strengthen it, and use it to help others. I love my family, and dare I say ,I love you too Dave, you and Joe.I love to look up what you've been doing to make the world a better educated and more compassionate place.Success, it is said, is earning the respect of intelligent people. The rest doesn't matter.How fortunate for many that the small child you once were, persevered and now recognizes the pain in others.Some souls on this planet are without empathy and think what a precious gift it is,and what a loss not to have it.Wow.You stirred up something, but I've said my bit. Keep up the good work.Fight the good fight, and on down days dig deep.It's there alright, but you proved that!From p.t.

Karen Putz said...

I was teased a lot when I was younger, but I was sheltered from a lot of it because I couldn't hear when it was done behind my back. I didn't know how much it was done until I was in my thirties and I recieved a long letter from a kid in my elementary school who was born again and was asking my forgiveness.