There were many more minor incidents with Bob after the last story I told. You probably have a good idea of how the story goes. Not all of the incidents were big, but that doesn’t mean they don’t hurt. I would get pushed or they would just call me “iceberg” on the playground. I was mostly in avoiding mode and trying not to get in their way. Remember, Mom told me, “don’t fight back” and I didn’t.
It was hard to avoid the kids at recess. There were too many places to hide or corners to go around and I really loved playing with friends. But, I remember one day I was with my friend Jonathan on a metal climbing piece of equipment that was shaped like a rocket ship. It was cool looking and at age 9, we could come up with all sorts of adventures we could have on that ship, and we did. It was nice to escape to space playing on that. Of course, that fun would be ruined by Bob and his friends.
One day I was on the equipment. This was long before the safety rules of today and you could easily climb to the top of the rocket ship, which was just a metal frame with metal to climb up, and sit on top. We were on top when Bob and his cronies came over.
The taunting started and they were telling me to come down and fight. I remember the feeling of panic come over me. I was probably on 6-8 feet off the ground, but it might as well have been 20 feet. They got underneath me and starting climbing from the inside and grabbing my clothes to try to pull me down. I remember feeling scared that I would fall head first onto the ground.
The bullies climbed up and started pulling me down. I couldn’t hold on anymore and slipped down, hitting the metal on the way down to the ground. When I hit the ground, I wasn’t sure if I was hurt or not, but decided that I would fake that the wind was knocked out of me and I was hurt. I just laid on the ground moaning. The kids started kicking my sides and saying I wasn’t hurt. I just stayed there. Finally they gave up on me and left.
I was bruised. Maybe not totally physically, but mentally it hurt. I had to fake being hurt for them to leave me alone and even after that, they still kicked me and sensed I was faking it. I didn’t really climb up on that rocket much after that. I wanted to, but didn’t want to be caught in that situation again. So, I didn’t climb it again.
Eventually Jonathan and I drifted apart as friends. I don’t recall how much longer we remained friends, but I always sensed after that he wasn’t as excited to hang out with me. Maybe that was just me feeling ashamed, but I’ll never fully know the answer to that. We just stopped playing as much together.