I was around the age of 6-7. There was a boy in my school, who'll I'll dub CK in order to protect the guilty, who enjoyed tormenting me whenever he could. Because our school was well-disciplined, he didn't have the opportunity in class, so he waited until recess, or on field trips to do it.
CK had a dopey sidekick, who always carried around a violin case, like a mobster. He didn't bother me, though. That one preferred to hang in the background. He was clearly in thrall of CK. Either he was afraid of him, or in awe - I don't know which. Either way, the two were inseparable.
CK's methods of torment were benign in the beginning and I've forgotten most of them by now. However, they grew more violent, until he began trying to drown me in the pool. We used to go as a class to a public pool with one teacher (looking after 20-30 of us). CK would wait for when the teacher wasn't looking, then pull me down and sit on me in such a way as I couldn't get up again. This went on for awhile. He thought it was hilarious. I was irritated at first, but he began holding me down for longer, until one day I was genuinely scared. I went to the teacher for help. Her name was Mrs Gogoty.
"Mrs Gogoty, please, CK just tried to drown me."
She looked at me sternly for a moment, then, "Don't tattle-tale on your friends. Go stand in the corner!"
I spent the next thirty minutes shivering in my wet trunks, facing the wall, until it was time to hit the showers.
I went to my father for advice. He told me that the next time this happened, I should hold onto CK tightly and swim down to the bottom of the pool, thus trying to drown him, too, in the process.
It worked. Each time CK tried to get the upper-hand, I'd pull him down sharply, until he was spluttering and crawling to get back to the surface.
CK stopped trying to drown me, but quickly found new forms of torture.
To make a long story short, we got left behind by the school bus one day on a field trip. We didn't know it at first. CK had cornered me in a room with his side-kick and had toyed with me for awhile, not knowing that the bus had left without us. When he found out, though, he was genuinely terrified. I thought he was being silly. I expected that, once they'd discovered we were missing, they'd come back for us. But, CK though otherwise.
We had actually been left behind at an army barracks and I suggested to CK that we might end up in the army, now, since our parents would forget about us. Yes, I was playing with him, now, because I could see his weakness. That really set him off in fear and he began to cry.
I'm not proud of what I said, now. I took advantage of his weakness, but I was so angry at him.
The bus did come back and we went home. CK never bothered me again, because he'd cried in front of me. He'd shown me his weakness and he could see that I wouldn't let him get the better of me again.
The funny thing is, now, as an adult, I realise that CK didn't dislike me. To the contrary, I think he wanted to hang out, but didn't know how to do it in a socially acceptable way. He only had the one friend and even he wasn't very exciting. I think he wanted to be friends with me, but couldn't help himself. He'd rather get friendship through negative means.
I have never seen CK since. I heard from a friend that he's had some hard knocks in life. I'm not surprised. I don't wish him any ill-will, but it reminds me that our characters are shaped early in life. We owe it to ourselves and our children to teach them how to stand up for themselves, but, more importantly, how to stand up for others.
My teacher failed to see how important her intervention could have been and I fault her for it. It's the community's responsibility to stand up to bullying. And we are all part of the community.