Scars of My Past

By: D. C. Renee


SOMETIMES THINGS HAPPEN in life that change the person you were; things mold you into someone else or steer you in a different direction. It doesn’t always have to be something big or even traumatic to make you become a different person. I used to be overweight. Not horribly fat but definitely chunky for my body type. I used to have acne that left my face with dry, red splotches after I had applied the cream on my skin. I wore braces to fix my crooked teeth and small overbite. And for a little while, I even had that embarrassing headgear thing going on. I used to wear glasses because I couldn’t fathom sticking my finger in my eye for contacts.

I talk about myself like I was a freak; the girl everyone made fun of, picked on, and bullied. It wasn’t that bad actually, but I just had to get through that phase. Sure, I was self-conscious, but what I lacked in looks, I made up for in personality. I wasn’t going to win any popularity contests, but in general, everyone liked me. They found my ability to laugh at myself charming, my sweet disposition appealing, and my willingness to provide homework help a definite bonus.

Only one cloud hung over my high school life. One person made me dread going to school, made me stare at myself in the mirror for hours wishing I was someone else, and made the smile fall off my face just by looking at me. He made me hate myself, hate everything about me, hate my very existence. He was the epitome of a bully, but he only seemed to direct it at me.

I had been taught at an early age and had read enough novels to wonder if he did that because he liked me. You know that whole “if he hits you, it’s because he likes you” thing? But we were in high school, not elementary school, and I was no dummy. I knew what I looked like. A guy like him didn’t crush on a girl like me. No, he bullied me because he simply hated me.

He was a year older than I was, and we had no classes together. We didn’t have the same friends, and I don’t even think he knew my name. If he did, he didn’t call me by it. He didn’t need to know my name, though, to hit me where it counted. Physical wounds healed. Emotional ones left a scar on your heart.

His words, carelessly thrown in my direction every time I saw him, really did a number on me. I had a breakdown near the end of my junior year. I kept hoping that if I could hold out for just a little longer, he’d be gone the following year, and I would be in the clear. But the constant verbal assaults made that impossible.

The first time he taunted me was nothing too crazy. I’d brushed it off as just a guy being an asshole.

“Hey, watch where the fuck you’re going, bitch,” he said after he’d run into me.

“S-sorry,” I stuttered even though he’d come barreling around the corner, knocking into me and sending my books flying.

He hadn’t even stopped to help me pick up my things before he ran off.

I wrote him off after that, but I shouldn’t have. A week later, he found me. He always found me—like I was his personal punching bag even if I didn’t understand why.

I lived too far from home to walk, I had no car, and the bus system in my city wasn’t convenient for travel. This meant I stayed late a lot, waiting for my parents to pick me up after work.

“What the fuck are you looking at?” he snarled as I came down the hall. He must have just come from football practice because he was still wearing his gear. I hadn’t even thought twice about walking past him when he rammed his hand into the nearest locker after looking at his phone. I gasped, which had caught his attention.

“Nothing,” I said quickly.

“That’s fucking right, bitch,” he snapped. “Bitch,” he’d said—his choice word for me. He was very clever. A true wordsmith. Then he started stalking toward me, and my sarcastic thoughts died instantly as fear took over. For a moment, I was frozen, afraid of what he’d do, but he just brushed past me, shoving me a little with his body.

After that, he seemed to always find me when I was alone; when no one was nearby to save me from him. Most of the time, it was after school when everyone had already gone home.

“Why are you always here?” he asked. “Are you following me? Are you a stalker? Should I be worried you’re going to come to school with a gun and shoot me?” Unjust words from him, especially since I had tried my best to avoid him, but it was like the universe hated me.

“Do you like me or something? Get a clue. I’ll never fucking be with you, bitch.”

“Why are you always alone? What? You have no friends? You a loser or something?”

“You trying out for the part of a robot with that thing on your face?”

“How do you get through a metal detector with so much metal on your head?”