A Woman’s Story: Bully for a Day

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Leigh Flayton

Editor-In-Chief, Arrive

My fourth grade classmate Davy was something out of the 19th century. I remember him as a boy dandy who once wore an ascot and had a face so pale I’m surprised he didn’t die young from tuberculosis. He had a concave chest, ruddy cheeks and a runny nose, and his voice, deep yet nasal and sing-songy, made me think of poetry when, tomboy that I was, I’d rather be playing kickball.

Maybe that’s why I bullied him.

That sunny afternoon when we were 9 years old, Davy and I were milling around with some other kids during recess, doing nothing much on a concrete stoop near the playground. I don’t know why or whose idea it was, but we told Davy to lie down on the ground, and we took turns walking on him. I knew Davy better than some of the other kids — we’d performed a magic show together on Meet the Teacher night — and I remember taking a few steps and then becoming angry with him. Why wasn’t he fighting us? We soon let him go and that was the end of that. Davy never said much of anything to me again.

Then, a few weeks later, I realized I was more angry with myself. I was ashamed, also scared that people would find out. How could I have done such a thing? What kind of awful, evil person was I? And what would my parents think if they knew — or my teachers or the principal? And how would they punish me? I was not from a religious family, but I found myself lying awake, praying that I could erase the memory — or at least convince myself that it never happened. The entire incident only took a few minutes but I found myself thinking about it for what became my very own eternity.

At school I studied the other kids who walked on him with me — maybe they were feeling bad about it, too — but they all seemed fine. Even Davy was the same, except a little quieter. And he never looked me in the eye.

I was walking down the hall one day when I saw some kids trying to knock the books out of Davy’s hands and Davy was snarling back at them with that quavering, oddly melodious voice. I stepped in front of him and told the kids to leave him alone. They did, but Davy didn’t thank me. He just righted his books and went on his way. As I watched his hunched little body skulk its way down the hall, I remember promising myself that, no matter how hard it might be, I would always do my best to stick up for underdogs.

A short time later, our teacher announced that Davy was moving, and I wondered if it was because of me. I hated the thought as much as I hoped this would make everything finally go away. I decided to make up for my behavior; I would say goodbye to Davy and hopefully we’d part as friends. If I could muster enough courage I might even apologize for what I’d done.

I went to his house and knocked on the door, terrified. His mother answered. Davy wasn’t home. I thought the whole neighborhood could hear my sigh of relief. I asked her to tell Davy that I wished him luck in his new town. She thanked me for being “such a good friend,” and I just stood there unable, or unwilling, to move. Davy’s mother waited for me to say something else, but I couldn’t. She slowly closed the door.

I ran all the way home, thinking she couldn’t have meant what she said, could she? What did she know? Did Davy tell her what I did? My heart throbbed in my chest. I was sorry I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye, but I was relieved that I didn’t have to face Davy. I ran into my house, went straight to my room and thought that maybe now I could get on with my life.

But then I thought of Davy. What would he think when his mother told him I had stopped by? What if she told him that she thanked me for being his friend? I felt sick and wondered if the feeling would ever go away. And then I wondered how Davy would go on with his life, knowing he had laid himself down on a concrete stoop all those years ago, on that sunny afternoon when I was a bully.

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leigh-flayton/i-was-a-bully-remember-bullying_b_2658674.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women

A Message From The Creator

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Women’s Health: How a Mammogram Saved My Valentine’s Day

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Sherri Kuhn

freelance writer, blogger at Old Tweener

Young love is passionate and big — the kind of love everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. The feeling that together, you can take on any challenges life throws in your path. Older love is built on the same passions, yet has more of a comfortable sweatshirt feel to it — warm, soft and so very familiar.

We move about the house in synchronized fashion, forging forward through our daily routines with a goodnight kiss at the end. He finished my sentences, makes me coffee and makes me laugh. In the 32 years I have known my husband, our love has morphed into something so comfortable that I cannot imagine my life without him.

I had never imagined his life without me.

Last February I felt it. Shocked, I felt it again from a different angle. There was no question — I had a lump in my breast.

The voices in my head argued back and forth for hours, neither one believing the other. It will be fine said one voice while the other chimed in with you are so screwed.

My doctor made room in her afternoon schedule to see me, and confirmed what I had found with a look of concern on her face. Then she pointed out several more lumps — lumps I hadn’t even noticed. Her concerned expression remained.

She quickly wrote up referral paperwork, said to call them immediately and not to hang up the telephone without an appointment this week. I walked to my car in stunned silence.

The first call was not to the breast specialist, but to my husband. I needed to hear his voice, needed to be reassured that our lives would go on as usual. To know that at least I had him in my corner, no matter the outcome.

He was strong — so strong for both of us. I made appointments and blocked off my schedule, and he did the same. The scheduling clerk on the phone said the appointment would be very long. I started hearing medical jargon I wasn’t used to hearing.

Diagnostic imaging, biopsy, fine needle aspiration, procedure room.

I wasn’t afraid for what was happening to me, I was terrified of what might happen to my husband. No matter how comfortably we move through our days together, we’ve always had each other’s back. Our comfortable existence had moved into a different realm, and I didn’t know what to do. Without me, he would be left to raise our teenage daughter through her high school years, and our son in college would certainly struggle through losing his mother.

I couldn’t let go of the irony that all of this was happening right before Valentine’s Day.

We drove to the Breast Center in silence, a casual comment here and there but nothing about the hours of medical jargon we were facing. Once we were seated in the waiting room, he reached out for my hand and squeezed it firmly. Whatever the outcome, I knew he had my back.

This is what we meant when we said for better or for worse, I thought.

Hours later, after imaging and procedures and poking we had our answer. No cancer.

And I had my Valentine’s Day gift — another day with my husband.

Young love? There’s nothing else like it.

But I’ll take old, comfortable love anytime.

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sherri-kuhn/mammogram_b_2679177.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women

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