CONTINUED FROM THIS MORNING’S BLOG POST: “My Jimmy John’s Bully.” I wrote both of these a couple weeks ago, and wasn’t sure if I’d share one, both, or neither until today.
I walked back to the sandwich shop.
312 paces from my front door.
He wasn’t there. He wasn’t there last time either. Or the time before. Or the time before that. I wonder if he still works there.
312 paces back.
I am haunted.
I am 33 years old. I am truly happy. I am successful. I am mentally sound. I am in the best physical shape of my life. I am surrounded with incredible and fulfilling relationships and friendships.
So why does the very thought of a kid from my past affect me at such a physiological level? Still.
God. No one can understand. I can’t even understand it, so how can they?
It’s so easy to just tell someone to “forgive your bully and walk away from it!”
It’s so easy to look at other people’s past pain and say, “get over it, it was a long time ago!”
It’s so easy to tell people exactly what they should do to handle a situation that you actually know little about.
It’s so easy to have all the right answers for someone else’s most difficult moments of mental reflection.
Do I dare share what I wrote this morning? Do I dare share such a strange and seemingly unhealthy internal thought process with my readers?
I don’t know if I’ll share it.
I don’t know if I want everyone telling me what to do, how to feel, how bad or unhealthy a person I am because it still somehow affects me.
I don’t know if I want everyone pitying me when I’m not looking for pity.
I don’t know if I want everyone somehow thinking that my bully, and my past, still consume my life somehow.
Truth is, I almost never think about him anymore. But I write one damn thing about it and everyone thinks I’m forever broken by it and obsessed with it. They think it consumes me and controls me. You watch. That’s what will happen if I share what I wrote this morning. It’s what always seems to happen.
I arrive at home. I sincerely wonder why he hasn’t been at the sandwich shop lately.
I have been going there to see him. To talk to him. To make peace with my thoughts.
I pull open my yearbook once more and find my bully. He stares at me with that crooked grin through the pages of my yearbook.
“How to deal with you?” I say.
And I sit back.
And I wonder.
Do I still resent him? Do I still hate him? Have I not forgiven him?
I am not ongoingly tortured in my life by a past that I cannot change. My moments at Jimmy John’s are momentary flashes of anxiety and a desire to see some sort of justice for what my bully put me through. The human mind needs justice as much as it needs mercy in order to feel balanced. We can forgive our trespassers and still desire that they serve the time and face the consequences for what they’ve done.
“Have I forgiven you?”
I say it to the picture of the white-haired boy staring back at me.
“Or do I hate you?”