I walked into my classroom, the way I always did, without paying too much attention to my surroundings. My friends and I fanned out and headed towards our assigned seats. The desks were usually pushed together in groups of four or six. Our seating chart had been determined by the teacher at the beginning of the year and the desks had our names on them. As I got closer to my desk, I noticed that there was someone in my seat. For a second, I thought I was confused and had gone to the wrong one, but as I approached the cluster of desks, I confirmed that it was indeed mine.
The boy in my seat was none other than one of the baddest kids in class. He was the kind of kid that you stayed away from. You don’t bother him and he won’t bother you. It was best to just stay out of his way. Except today, he purposefully got in my way and I was scared.
If this sort of thing had happened to me in my adult life, the first thought in my head would have been “oh fuck.” But, I was only in fourth grade at the time and my vocabulary was not as extensive.
I got a weird feeling in my stomach. I really hoped that by the time I got to my desk, he would realize that he had mistakenly gotten in the wrong seat. With my luck, of course, that did not happen.
“That’s my desk,” I hesitantly said. I was always very shy and the idea of confronting anyone about anything gave me anxiety.
The boy sitting in my chair had made himself comfortable. He slouched on the chair and looked me straight in the eye.
“So?” he said.
I looked around to see if anyone was going to help me, but everyone was preoccupied with their own morning routine. I was going to have to figure this one out myself.
“I sit here. Can you move?” I whispered.
“No.” The smirk on his face told me that he wasn’t kidding.
Okay, I thought. Maybe I could just sit somewhere else for today, but if the teacher asked why I wasn’t in my seat, I would have to tell him–and the whole class–that I was a pushover and allowed someone else to steal my seat.
I looked around again and everyone was still in their own world. (Although, I’m sure that they wouldn’t have helped me anyway. This kid was unpredictable.) So, I decided to stand up for myself.
“Get out of my seat.” I said, trying to sound confident.
“It’s my seat. Get out. Move.” I was getting a little more aggressive and I was proud of myself.
He didn’t say anything, but he also didn’t move.
“Get out of my seat!” It felt good to stand up for myself.
I could tell he was getting angry. He shifted in the seat and reached over for his pencil. I felt a sense of relief. He was picking up his stuff and he was actually going to leave!
But, he didn’t.
With his pencil in hand, he made a stabbing motion towards me. I put my hands up to protect myself, but my palms were left exposed.
I felt a sharp pain in my hand. I looked at my palm and started crying. It was red from the blood and dark gray from the lead of the pencil. A piece of skin was partially torn off. I had to get to the nurse’s office.
I don’t know where the teacher was or if the boy had to face any punishments.
One of my friends walked me to see the nurse. My hand was rolled into a fist because the pressure helped with the pain. The nurse asked what happened and I told her. I slowly opened my hand to show her my wound. She gasped. Her face scrunched up and she said “oh!” I don’t think she meant to have that reaction, but she couldn’t help it. She immediately changed her face and said, “It’s okay.” She reached into one of the drawers and grabbed a band-aid. My hand was still red and gray. Although I wasn’t expert on sanitation, I knew that it probably wasn’t good to leave that gray stuff in my open wound. Based on the nurse’s initial reaction, I expected her to have an elaborate way of handling this. Instead, she simply opened the band-aid, covered up my palm, and said I was good to go.
We headed back to the classroom. I had stopped crying at this point–not because the pain was gone, but because I was confused. The only comfort (if you could even call it comfort) that I got out of this incident was that the boy was finally out of my seat.