A Different Angle

Janka Krech

September 17, 2002. It was a cold, foggy morning, and Bryan was on his way to school. He just started fifth grade, but he already hated it. While he was walking, his old bully, Ethan, passed him by bike. Ethan shouted “Wow, look who’s looking extra ugly today! Did your mommy make that scarf for you and make you put it on?”.  Bryan just tried to ignore it; deep inside it hurt him as usual, but he kept on walking. Ethan started laughing and left him there.

When Bryan got to school, the class had already started. He was seven minutes late. When he got to the classroom and knocked on the door, Ethan said “oh! guess who’s late again.” The teacher, Mr. Mayfield, started yelling at him. “How is it not possible to get here in time? If you’re late ever again, you’ll be sitting in detention.”

When the kids were having lunch at the canteen, Ethan “accidentally” poured some soup on Bryan’s head. The kid felt so embarrassed and ashamed again, he almost burst into tears, but he knew he couldn’t do that. This pattern continued for years.

This bullying pleased Ethan’s soul; however, sadly he also experienced his own pain every day. His mother passed away three years ago. Before all that, they were a complete, loving family. Ethan was a good kid who loved to play, read, and go out on walks with his family and friends. But since his mom wasn’t there for him, everything turned into the exact opposite. Ethan hated being at home, hated his own family, hated the way he couldn’t open up to anyone. On top of that, every time he tried to talk to his dad about his thoughts, his father didn’t have any time for him, told him to go away or even beat him up for no reason.

Deep down, Ethan knew that Bryan and he should be friends instead, as they were suffering from the same pain. This feeling was also reinforced by a history test that Ethan couldn’t study for as he was physically abused again by his father the previous night. Bryan realized that Ethan was almost in tears, so he decided to help him pass the test.

At that moment, Ethan didn’t say a word, yet the guilt was haunting him. He knew he should say sorry somehow, even though he felt like his soul was chained, with limited freedom.

For weeks he was affected by tension, but eventually he gathered all his strength and tried to apologize. He was so anxious, he couldn’t look into Bryan’s eyes. They had a deep conversation. Bryan explained how he felt about all the things Ethan had put him through. Ethan also told his side of the story, including his mother’s death and his father’s abuse.

This deep conversation freed their minds, and they both looked at each other from a different angle.

Bryan accepted the apology and they became best friends for good.