I ruined someone else’s day.
Yesterday while walking my son home from school, I saw a boy who appeared to be throwing rocks at this girl, about his age. I’ve seen them both somewhat regularly, and I’d seen them walk together and talk. I’m not sure what caused the falling out, but you know, it’s elementary school. She could have not shared the red crayon at free choice.
It should be noted that she was completely out of range of his throws. She didn’t look back, might not even have realized that he was amusing himself this way. I saw it though. I saw what he was doing, this little white boy throwing rocks at the back of a little black girl, and I was furious.
Fortunately for me I had an example to set for Toby, so I simply said, “You shouldn’t throw rocks at girls.”
Maybe I should have said, “You shouldn’t throw rocks at people,” or, “You shouldn’t throw rocks,” but I said what I saw, which was that he was throwing rocks at a girl.
He said, “Excuse me?”
As though he couldn’t believe his own ears.
“You shouldn’t throw rocks at girls.” I repeated.
“At Shiree?” (I’m not certain that’s what her name is, it’s what I heard.)
“At her or at anyone. It’s not nice.” I explained, trying to maintain calm and civility.
He stared at me for a moment longer, as though he couldn’t believe that anyone would take such a huge dump on his fun, and then melted into the bushes to get away from me as fast as possible.
I don’t care. I’m sure he went home and bitched to his parents about me. He could have even made up fantastical tales about how I chased him home or how I swore like a sailor, which I didn’t.
I was that girl, walking away, head held high, ignoring the barrage of rocks from a boy who thought he was being funny.
I remember many times when I would have done anything to have someone stand up for me, to call off the dogs, to let me walk away without being harassed.
I don’t know if she heard me telling the boy to leave her alone. I hope she did. I hope she knows that random strangers would stick up for her, that there are people in the world who are on her side.
I don’t know if the little boy will stop throwing rocks at her. I suspect that he’ll stop, just because I’m an adult and he knew he was doing the wrong thing. Sometimes that can be enough to dissuade someone.
If I catch him doing it again though, I’m going to ask him to introduce me to his parents. It’s most likely not necessary. I may never see that child again.
You gotta pick your battles, but I can’t ignore bullying. I’m not sorry for ruining that boy’s day, for the sake of hers.