I’m already halfway down the hall when I see them. They’re rounding the corner, coming from the school gym and they haven’t seen me yet. I can pull a very obvious 180° in the hall, probably drawing attention to my cowardice, or I can keep moving forward. So I choose to keep moving. We make the briefest eye contact, and I immediately switch my gaze to the ground. I don’t know why I’m so scared of them. We’ve never even spoken, and besides, they’re his friends, not mine. I’m trying to comfort myself with this thought as I walk, quietly telling myself these guys don’t give a crap about some girl their buddy once dated. I mean, it’s not their business…right?
We make eye contact again.
The one closest to me is smirking, but that can’t be about me. I must be paranoid…right?
He starts reaching into his bag, still smirking at me, still making me feel insecure as all hell. But… they would never get involved..this is not about them…right?
He’s pulling his hand out of his bag, and he’s holding something. I can’t see what it is.
I tell myself to walk faster, I’m just being irrational, and emotional, and——SMACK.
A sandwich hits me at the hip, and lands at my feet. He’s laughing like a hyena. He’s laughing like a ridiculous, jerkface, asshole hyena and I HATE HIM. Yet I’m speechless and frozen in time. He gets the last, and only, word…” bitch”.
My life has been a series of forks. Not the kind you eat with, the kind you stand in front of for hours, contemplating which way to go. And the ones you don’t second guess at all, running blind down any path at break-neck speed. Some forks in my road were merely small shifts in the journey, nudging me slightly to the left or right. However other forks split the road before me so sharply and aggressively, that I barely had time to think…or blink, and suddenly my life was changed forever.
Being a highly pensive and self-reflective individual, I’ve spent a lot of time going over the decisions I’ve made in my life. Particularly those that have brought me to this moment, telling you guys this story. In times when I’ve been really down on myself and felt like the whole damn sky was falling, I’d try desperately to pinpoint the exact moment where everything changed. It’s never one thing though, is it? It’s always a multitude of feelings and decisions and chance encounters that send everything spinning in circles.
For me, a lot of my journey’s influencing factors can be traced back to that sandwich-throwing jerk in high school. Not to that moment necessarily, but to the decisions and actions surrounding it. Yes, I had dated his friend at one point, and yes it definitely didn’t end well. HOW-fucking-EVER that does not excuse physical aggression. And while that stupid sandwich didn’t hurt me physically, it still bothered me to know there was a boy who had been so angry, that he saw it justifiable to THROW THINGS at another human. What a bleak disposition to have in life.
In fact, this same boy used to harass my best friend years prior to his sandwich throwing days. Each morning when she walked to school with her mother, he would be walking the same direction and would start taunting her, calling her names and making fun of her for walking with her mom. When my best friend’s mother would tell this charming child to stop, he would simply retaliate with further taunts, expanding the topic to include making fun of her for “needing her mom to defend her”. Oh, and did I mention my friend was a brand new student to that school…and 11 years old at the time?
Here’s the thing about assholes, they’re consistent. Seriously, have you ever met a reformed asshole? Cause I haven’t. So of course, the food-wasting jock would strike again. Just rinse and repeat the first story I told you but this time, replace the sandwich with…a Kit Kat bar.
Yes, a delicious, Nestle’s break-me-off-a-piece-of-that-Kit-Kat bar.
This, ladies and gents, was an iconic moment in my teen years. Why? Because I LOVE chocolate. All candy in fact. So when this fully wrapped, totally sealed Kit Kat bar got whipped across the hall, hitting me square in the hip & landing (just like the sandwich) at my feet…I found myself reaching down to pick it up.
I didn’t look back at him and he’d been walking away, so I’ll never know if he saw me pick it up..but that’s not important to me. What mattered most was what I chose to do next.
I walked into the stairwell area where the (to be blunt) less cool/not-so-rich kids hung out, and I unwrapped my Kit Kat bar. I broke off a piece, took a break from high school, and enjoyed the hell outta that chocolate.
After that, I was admittedly not the same. I was still bothered by the whole situation, but something in that moment shifted. I found myself caring less what people thought of me, and more about what I thought of myself. The opinions of others stopped bearing any weight in my world, and it was liberating. This all took place right before the end of the year, and by some random chance, I never saw him again before the summer. However, when I returned to school for my final year, I ended up in a class with him where we were eventually assigned to the same group project.
And you know what? He acted like nothing ever happened. In fact, at one point, he went as far as to get openly flirtatious with me. All I could think was:
Take a seat homie, I am NOT THE ONE.
I don’t think about it that often anymore, what that boy did was unacceptable and life will catch up to him (if it hasn’t already). I’ve long since moved on, but sometimes when I got out for late night snacks, and find myself choosing a Kit Kat…I think of him.
And as I sit here typing this, with a city of possibilities before me, I can’t help but wish him well. I hope he found a way to be happy, and love his life without attacking others in the process. I hope he’s found love, and that when he has a family of his own, no one ever throws food at his daughter in hallways. Above all else, I hope he has finally found a way to live in the light, cause I sure as hell did.