There were many fun posts under the photographs, naming the kids standing neatly in rows or posing for classroom shots. As I scanned the present-day comments, up popped a name of my silent bully in 6th grade. I have to admit, I was both sickened, and angry when I saw her name. The memory of one day flashed before me. I had to regain my adult mind to remind myself that an insensitive young girl, my silent bully, back then at least, was so insecure that she had gone out of her way to belittle me. She wanted me to feel worthless and not good enough with her actions one day in class.
I was sitting in my 6th grade classroom at St. Mary's Academy in Hudson, New York. A near blind, and elderly Sister Mary Cassia was sitting at her desk in front of the class. We were nearing summer vacation, and the windows to the classroom were opened to let in barely a breeze. It was hot. The wooden desks with their iron scroll work were bolted to the floor.The lids of the desk did not lift, you had to bend over to look in to the desk. Inkwells used over many decades were defunct, dark holes.
Students were seated from front to back in each row alphabetically. I was a D. My silent bully was one row to my right. She sat one seat ahead of me, in the next row. She turned around in her seat on this day, and smiled directly at me, while exaggeratedly wiping the brow of her forehead. Her smile made me smile, until she reached fully across the aisle, and reached back to slowly smear the sweat of her brow across the right edge of my desk. I watched her smile turn in to a leer.
My smile turned to shock, then mixed with shame at her actions toward me. I felt small, unequal, smelly, not good enough. I felt like I was receiving her urine poured upon me. She was showing me how worthless I was in her eyes. A silent bully. A cruel eleven year old classmate being disrespectful of another child. I went silent in her abuse. I did not fight back with rage but shrank in shame. I did not tell on her but kept silent as I learned her true nature in those days. If her actions had been dared a few years later, I would have considered a punch to her face.
But in 2018, as I saw her name again in a post after so many decades, I no longer had the shame of silence but adult anger. Rage. I had to actually find another adult to talk to about my anger. I had to rid myself of the rage I placed inside myself based on her pathetic actions as an insensitive child. I wanted to rage against her for the child she hurt by her action of belittling. Of course, I did not, would not. But I know I will not ignore her basic core that did exist as an eleven year old girl. A silent bully. I doubt she confessed her sin that week in confessional. And I know her God turned his head away in complete shame at her actions towards me. That gives me great peace and solace.
As an adult, I do wonder how she, as a child, viewed that moment in her mind. Had someone done such a belittling act to her along the way? Where did she learn to hate and disrespect? Does she still do this today to others, to her family, to her own, to her grandchildren? Was she just to her bones not a nice person? Curious but I do not care about her soul. That is hers to bear.
All I do know is that my memory is good. And with that, like so many others who have been and are being bullied and belittled along life's way - We do not forget, nor do we need to carry forgiveness for your sins against others.