During my teen years, I don’t remember ever getting into trouble at school. My focus was to keep a low profile at home, and graduate high school as quickly as I could. I did have one fight during my teen years outside of school. There were two girls in my neighborhood named Mary; one was half Japanese and half black (everyone simply called her Mary), the other was short, and dark skinned (everyone called her little black Mary).
I was going into the 8thgrade when I somehow made little black Mary angry with me. One day, without my knowledge, word got around that she wanted to fight me. That day, I went to school on the school bus as usual. My school day progressed normally; the only exception was the secret that was being talked about around me. Every time I passed someone from my neighborhood in the hallway (or in one of my classes), I heard giggling. I ignored my instincts (that told me not to ride the bus home), and defiantly got on the school bus; I sat in the only seat available in the back of the bus.
During the ride home, I noticed that several kids did not get off the bus when it stopped to drop them off at their regular bus stops. I was sure something was wrong, but still had not figured out what it was. Eventually, the bus arrived at my bus stop. As soon as the bus stopped, everyone stood up and filed off the bus (I was the last one to exit). There were three steps to exit the bus. The last step was the ground. I remember stepping down two of the three steps. As soon as my foot hit the ground, I felt a sudden intense pain on the side of my face, and saw a streak of light. Mary had slapped me so hard that my eyeglasses flew across the street (at least that’s where I eventually found them).
The next thing I remember…I was standing next to the house on the corner directly across from the bus stop. All bystanders were silent and still. Everyone had a shocked fearful look on their face, and Mary was bleeding, crying and struggling to break free from my grip. I instantly felt panic. I let go of her, and ran home as fast as I could. A small group of bystanders ran after me. I reached my house and feverishly rang the doorbell. My mother was home, but she didn’t get to the door fast enough. Although the garage door was latched, there was a small opening at the bottom. I scurried through the opening as fast as I could. After I was safely inside, I heard banging on the garage door and voices yelling for me to come back outside.
I told my mother what happened, and she said “good, maybe now they’ll leave you alone.” Neither of Mary’s parents were available to take her to the hospital. My mother drove her to the emergency room, and stayed with her until her parents could be reached. My parents paid her medical bills (I was told). We all sat down to talk about what happened. To this day, I have no idea why she was so upset with me.