I can’t sleep for guilt. My next session with Rachael can’t come fast enough. It’s hot tonight, yeah, and I can’t get comfortable, but I think if I weren’t so very sure I was reaping karma I might be out like a light.
I am not allowed to forget that at best, I was a bystander when they bullied him. They were hurting me, but like I said on Facebook, at least I was clever, at least I was that. I had places to hide; where did he hide when he was feeling beaten down? I never saw him in the library or the band room.
If he was bright we never saw it because I think he might have been quite poor. I remember he smelled a bit, and I think his clothes had holes. Otherwise he was quiet, I realise from fifteen and sixteen years’ distance. He didn’t bother me. I don’t know that I outright bothered him, either, but I joined in the general disdain and I’m certain I made sure never to partner with him on projects.
He vanished sometime between seventh grade and high school. Where did he go? Did he kill himself? Did he just change schools? Please, if there is mercy in the world, let him not have believed that middle school mattered. Let him have moved on with his life understanding that people can be awful and cruel and it wasn’t his fault.