You’re sitting in my seat.
“You’re sitting in my seat,” she said, towering over me. *Sigh* Please tell me this isn’t really happening. I looked behind me and then looked straight at her and then said something really, really stupid.
“I don’t see your name on it.”
“That’s her seat,” her friend piped up and informed me again as if I didn’t get the point the first time. I couldn’t believe it. I had made it through my entire first day of public school without incident. I had made it to school, made it through all of my classes and even made it through lunch and where do I encounter a problem? On the bus when I’m just trying to get home. Fuuuuuuuuuck.
A girl named Tyla and her four best friends had already bullied me all the way from Kindergarten to the 5th grade. Transferring to public school was supposed to be a fresh start, my chance to make a change. All of a sudden with five little words I saw my entire future flash before my eyes. And I didn’t like it.
Her name was Lori and she was about my height but outweighed me by a good 15lbs.Which isn’t saying much considering I was a size one at the time. I knew she could easily beat me into a memory. Her friend’s name was Brandy. Brandy was a little shorter and built a little more like me. If I could have chosen which one of their seats to steal, it would have been Brandy’s. But then again, this wasn’t about who was in who’s seat. I was the new girl, and clearly I needed to be put in my place.
“Get out of my seat!” Lori demanded, loud enough to get the attention of everyone on the bus. At this point all eyes were on us. Great. An audience. You can’t back down. You can’t back down. You can’t back down.
“No,” I told her, staring straight ahead. Lori just stood there for a second looking down her nose at me, while Brandy stared at me like she was trying to remove the skin from my body by using only her pupils. I just breathed and prayed but I held to my word and didn’t move.
“Look,” Lori said, her voice a little softer, “I’ve sat in that seat all last year and the year before. Just let me sit on the inside. It’s no big deal.”
I moved my legs so Lori could get past. Brandy sat down across the aisle in “her seat,” and she and Lori exchanged little smiles. Uh-oh…
I should have seen it coming, but I didn’t. As the bus pulled away from the curb Lori used all 15 of her extra pounds and shoved me off the seat into the aisle. I hit the floor of the bus and I hit it hard. All of a sudden it was like a bad 80’s movie. Everyone on the bus turned their heads to look back to see what had happened and when they did the laughter started. But it wasn’t regular laughter. It was that slow motion movie laughter that went something like, Ha….ha….ha.
As I sat there in the middle of the aisle watching everyone laughing at me all of a sudden I felt this warmth fill up my body and my face became very hot. I felt like I was about to explode. I had never in my life felt this way before and then out of nowhere, I broke out into tears. I wasn’t crying because I was sad, or hurt, or embarrassed. I was crying because I was so mad that I didn’t know any other way to express my feelings. I was crying because if I didn’t let it out somehow I felt as though my head would actually shoot straight up off my body and through the roof of the bus. Of course, Lori wouldn’t have known this. As I sat there crying and looking at all their laughing faces, I heard Lori’s mocking voice come through clear as a bell.
Clearly, Lori mistook my tears to be a sign of weakness, a sign that our little disagreement was over. If I remember correctly, those were the last words that Lori ever spoke to me, although I think I remember her screaming something else in the next few moments:
I picked my crying ass up off of the floor, bunched up my small fists, and the next thing I knew I had Lori pinned in “her seat” while I proceeded to go absolutely apeshit on her ass. I was raining haymakers like a miniature Mayweather. Over. And over. And over again. It was no longer me that was hitting Lori but some strange force that Lori had unleashed and now she had to deal with it. Brandy tried to get out of her seat to help her friend but she had no place to go because the aisle was blocked by Hurricane Stacy. Brandy grabbed my right shoulder to pull me off, but all that did was get my attention. So I spun around and began whaling on Brandy. This gave Lori a chance to get a breather, but it only took a second before she came back at me. Lori. Brandy. Lori. Brandy. The next thing I knew I was just punching and hitting so fast and furious I wasn’t even sure who I was hitting anymore all the while tears were streaming down my face. I wonder if this is how David Banner feels right before he turns into the Hulk. “Stop her!” I heard among the roars and yells of the mob of elementary school kids.
I felt someone come up from behind me and try to subdue me. I swung my right elbow back really, really hard, and felt it connect with something. I heard an “Oof” and a crash as my third victim went reeling back into the crowd. I didn’t find out until a couple of days later that it was a well-meaning guy with his leg in a cast. Oops. He and I actually became really good friends after the dust had settled. Sorry, Dave…
I would like to say that I stopped hitting the girls on my own and then apologized for my behavior, but that wasn’t the case. I wasn’t in control of my behavior. It was one of the most frightening times of my life because I didn’t feel like I could stop. If it hadn’t been for a pair of very large, very adult hands grabbing me and pulling me away, I don’t know how or when I would have stopped hitting those girls. But the bus driver put an end to it and dragged me out of the fracas. I went kicking and screaming the whole way.
Once I was off the bus I broke down and cried so hard I couldn’t even breathe. I stood there and didn’t really even know what to do or what to say. The bus driver cleared the situation up for me. “You’re going to the principal’s office right now, young lady!” Well at least I know where I’m going. Going to the principals office wasn’t new for me. I pretty much lived there at my last school. I had gotten to know the principal so well that 7 years later when my cousin Chad attended the same school, Mr. Stewart said, “You wouldn’t happen to be related to Stacy would you?”
“Yeah. She’s my cousin.”
Like I said, I had spent plenty of time in the principal’s office. Some of my offenses were excessive talking in class, stealing erasers (long story), talking back to teachers, etc. etc. Actually I probably spent more of my fourth grade in Mr. Stewart’s office than I actually did in class. But I had never, ever been in for fighting. This was going to be a first and I was pretty sure my mom was going to be pissed.
I walked into my new principal’s office and he was not impressed. “We’re going to have to call your mom.”
“Yes sir.” This wasn’t going to be good. We had just moved to Big Bear and my mom had just started her new job. Now she was going to have to take off work to come pick me up. I hated myself but I couldn’t take back what I had done and even if I could I don’t know that I would.
My mom got to the school and she was none too happy. I had always been a mischievous child but never a fighter. The principal proceeded to tell her what had happened on the bus and also informed her that he was not going to suspend me from school even though he should. I was, however, suspended from riding the bus. “Stacy, I want to hear the story from you,” my mom said. So I told her each and every ugly detail. As I went through my story, I saw my mom’s face change. Oh, she was still plenty pissed. But she wasn’t pissed at me anymore. And that’s when my mom looked at my new principal and told him point blankly, “My daughter will be riding the bus. What happened was a clear-cut case of self-defense. Those two girls bullied my daughter and my daughter stood up for herself. If you are going to punish her, then you need to punish those two for starting it. And I will be walking my daughter to the bus stop tomorrow morning to make sure that she gets on that bus.” My new principal just looked at my mother and said, “Well, I don’t think that….”
“Stacy, get your things. We’re leaving. Stacy will see you tomorrow and I can assure you she won’t be getting into any more fights from here on out.” And then my mother and I walked out the door before my new principal could recover. Such was the force of Nancy.
My mom kept true to her word and walked me to the bus stop the next morning and stood there while I boarded the bus. As I got on the bus the kids that were already on just stared at me like I was some sort of new kid that had just gotten into a huge fight. Oh wait. Yeah, that WAS me. As I walked on the bus I kept my eyes on the floor in front of me except for the occasions I needed to look up to find an open seat. I immediately noticed Lori’s and Brandy’s seats were both wide open. The bus hadn’t picked them up yet. I would be lying if I said it didn’t cross my mind to sit in one of them but I didn’t. I was already in enough trouble. I sat in a seat which I was fairly confident didn’t belong to anyone.
Nobody really messed with the new crazy girl after that and a brave few even had the courage to become my friends. My new principal wasn’t exactly thrilled with being told what to do by my mom so he made me work in the “Rock Quarry.” The Rock Quarry was an area of school that had a ton of loose rocks that had been piled up but had not yet been removed when they built the new school. The job he assigned me was moving rocks from one pile to another. Can you say Child Protective Services? Oh well, it could have been worse I guess, I could have been suspended. Nowadays, I don’t have to ride the bus anywhere, but if I did I would definitely check the seat for a nametag. Have you seen some of the people who ride the bus these days? I would get my ass kicked for sure.
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