watched him strut around.
Like some cat, showing off.
But I showed him who's boss.
Let's take a trip. Let's go back to 2003. Back in my middle school, where my nightmares sleep and horrors awaken.
It was a rainy Friday afternoon and we all just came from our computer class. The transfer from the third floor hallway to the first floor was the worst trek I have ever been on. Kids running, cursing. Throwing things, cursing some more. It was like a zoo and I was just one of the few animals that contain themselves. Ha, there were few tamers in out school. They couldn't keep the beasts in check. So, on the way down the stairs, I'm talking to one of my few trusted friends about what I did on the computer. Suddenly, I look to my right and see two pairs of eyes on me; one of which is Jaaron Clark, my bully. I wasn't aware until my friend had nudged my with his elbow. As I looked, Jaaron said "Look at this nigga. What are those? Payless shoes?" I was shocked at first, but when I looked down, I was, in fact, wearing Payless shoes. And of course, some kids started to laugh. I managed to put a smiled on my face and continue down the stairs. I reached the bottom and then he says, "That shirt looks like he bought it from the thrift shop." A few laughs and I look at my shirt. It wasn't that bad: Just a few wrinkles. We walked through the double doors and Jaaron pushes me from behind. I fall to the floor and he says, "Payless shoes can't keep you standing can they?" I grunt a little as my friend helps me up. "You should say something once in a while." he tells me. I nod and say, "I'm working on it.His shield is heavier than his own weight; so he drops it.
In the class, we all take our seats and the teacher hasn't come in yet. This was the perfect time for Jaaron to cut on me. So, a big shot that he is, he approaches me with a sly smirk. It was one of those "Yeah, I'm cool." kind of smirks. And he walks with a lean, a limp almost. In my head I'm thinking, "Who or what is this guy trying to impress?" But he manages to make some girls smile and giggle those girly giggles. I know most of them are "laughing at you" giggles. We made eye contact and he asks me, "Who dresses you, your mother?" I shake my head slowly and he laughs his ass off. "You're lying! Look at what you're wearing." He stand up and points to his clothing, "You should dress like me." He pulls up his shirt and says, "Check out the belt." I reluctantly look, it was a horrible belt to be honest. But I noticed something else about his mid section. The boxers! Yes, the boxers! They were stained with brown and ripped at the brim. This was my chance. So I said, "I rather not dress like you. I would to wash my butt often." And I didn't realize that I said it loud enough so that the class could hear. But in the background, I saw a dozen of heads turn and point at Jaaron. Seconds later, they busted out laughing. Shocked and confused, Jaaron looks around to see who they were laughing at. As soon as he realized he was being laughed at, he pulled down his shirt and glowered at me. Before he could say anything, the teacher walked in. "Yes, I got that bastard this time, he let his guard down. But it's not over." I told myself.
Ignorance is like a plague; it sickens you.Midway through the class, there were still some giggles. I tried not to smile, trying not to soak in the temporary glory. My victory was far from my grasp. As the teacher was writing problems on the board, Jaaron was talking amongst his "goons". He was trying to call my attention by one of those "psst" things. It worked countless times on me and this moment was no different. I turned my head and looked at him. Instantly, (he timed this perfectly) he threw a paper ball at me. It said hello to my face, a direct greeting. I saw stars for a moment and put my head down quickly. "Hey, Ms. Feirstein, Travis is crying." Jaaron calls out. I can hear her turn around and I look up. Eyes burning and watery she asks, "Are you okay, Travis? Want to see the nurse?" I shook my head and wiped my eyes. She continued her lesson.
I was replaying my next course of action in my head. It wasn't perfect and it required Jaaron's move again. It was a game of chess and I was determined to win. Jaaron's next move had to be spoken. It couldn't be anything psychical, I refused to accept that. Then the teacher turns to the class and asks, "Does anyone have to go to the bathroom? This is going to take awhile." The class was silent and a few heads were shaken. But Jaaron said, "Travis should go and wipe his face. We don't want any babies in the class. You know, crying because they can't handle the problems." Ms. Feirstein didn't like the comment, but she knew Jaaron's comments were better off "not taken seriously". Instead of saying anything to him, she turns to me. In my head I say, "You actually want me to answer such an ignorant question? Woman, you should be shot!" I slowly shake my head and say, "No, I'm fine." Without a second to waste I add tersely, "Jaaron should go, he needs a little cleaning to do." As if a comedian had gave a performance, the entire class erupted in laughter. Jaaron's expression couldn't be anymore priceless than those blank faces. I gave a quick smile and turned to my books.After class was over, and this is the final class, we all get up to hand up our homework. This is where we all pile up in front of the teacher's desk, a complete mess, and attempt to organize our work. This was the time where all the "I couldn't finish it", "It was too hard for me", and even "The dog ate my homework." were all uttered and said. I hated this time. I dreaded it.
I fall behind, failing to reach my homework in time. And I get up behind the massive crowd. I sighed heavily and snap my fingers, "Damn it, I have to wait." I mutter. Suddenly, I feel a great pain in my collar bone. I fall to a knee and look up and it was Jaaron. "You like to be smart? Don't you?" I tried to break free, but my determination was not to it's fullest.Then, the moment where I lose control. The moment where I was no longer Travis. That moment came when he said, "You ugly black nigger! If you ever talk back to me, I'll smack the black off of you." The insult, or demand in his case, crept its way up my spine and into my brain. I had to process it, I had to think it over. "What did he just say?" I ask myself. Now anger was rising, I felt it boil. I get up and rip his hand from me. I mean, I clawed at him, like a lion trying to escape it's cage. I saw the sudden fear in his eyes and it was my turn to be the bigger of beasts. "SHUT THE FUCK UP! YOU IGNORANT ASSHOLE!" I yell. Immediately, heads turn and look at us. "I WISH YOU WOULD BURN IN HELL AND HAVE YOUR SOUL STABBED!" My eyes were red and I felt more powerful than a god. I aimlessly throw my arms around. Throwing books and desks at this kid. I mean, the books exploded on the floor and the desks crashed into each other. I managed to see that Jaaron was trying to escape, but two desks were firmly locked in front of him. He was trapped, it was checkmate for him. Game over.
Silence fell over us and Jaaron looked like he saw a ghost. It was the finale for his charade. Nobody moved, they just looked. Even my closest friends were shocked. The anger flowed through my veins and I turned around, without looking back. I walked out the classroom, knowing that I did the unthinkable. But it really didn't matter. That side of me had been waiting to come out for a long while. It rose from my gut, to my lungs, to my arms, to my mouth.
It came from the Belly of the Beast.