Paul scrubbed his hands more fiercely as he thought. There was enough to think about considering he was ditching English at the moment, and he was probably going to be expelled if he got caught. This was his third fight this year.
He was just. so. angry!
“Who have you become because you choose to hold onto your anger.”
Paul’s mother told him his father was beaten as a child. She said that’s why his father beat them. Did that mean Paul would grow up to hit is kids?
He remembered standing over Jordan. He already hit kids; he was just the same age as they were at the moment.
A wave of remorse hit him. He rushed out of the bathroom just as he started to weep.
I don’t want to be that way!
Even as he hated himself for being a bully just like his father, he tried to justify his actions. Jordan had it coming. He was talking trash about Paul’s mother.
None of his justifications stood up against his firm belief that no one deserved what had happened to him and his mother.
Lockers zipped by, becoming little more than a streak of red. He wasn’t even sure where he was going, but something pulled at him. He turned into the principles office just as he realized what he was planning to do.
The secretary yelped as he blew by her into his office. The principal, a plump bald man in his sixties, looked up, and his face became red with anger. Paul froze, suddenly unsure what he really meant to do.
After another second, Paul noticed who the principal, Mr. Eckleman, was speaking to. Jordan sat across from the administrator with a bag of ice against his right cheek.
“I’m sorry,” Paul told Jordan while taking a deep breath and using a sleeve to dry his tears. “You didn’t deserve that. No one deserves that. I’m a monster. I’m just like him, and I don’t want to be. I think I’m cursed, but that’s not your fault. It doesn’t matter what you said. I shouldn’t have hit you.”
“What is he talking about?” Mr. Eckleman’s question drew Paul’s attention.
“I don’t know,” Jordan said.
“You told me you got into a fight with Trevor,” Mr. Eckleman said.
Trevor? Paul stood there trying to piece the clues together.
“You said that Trevor was talking about a classmate, and you stood up to defend him.” The principle pointed at Paul. “So why is the person you said you were defending in here apologizing to you?”
Paul’s head spun. Did Jordan lie? Why? Why lie to protect him? Maybe Paul wouldn’t be expelled. Maybe he’d get away with it. Except, he didn’t want to get away with it.
Paul looked at Mr. Eckleman. “I’m not sure what Jordan said, but I’m the one who him. No one else should be punished for what I did.”
“So, who hit Trevor?”
“What?” Paul didn’t mean to ask the question out loud, but he really had no idea what was going on.
“I hit Trevor,” Jordan muttered. His brown eyes shifted to Paul. “He’s the one who said that stuff about your mom. He was really being a jerk about it. I told him to knock it off, but that only made him say something worse, so I punched him.”
It was Trevor? Trevor was the one who called Paul’s mom a whore! Rage filled Paul. He wanted to find Trevor and beat him. He wanted to find him and punch him until he never though to … Nobody deserves that!
Even while standing in the principal’s office, Paul couldn’t help himself. He was somehow every bit as ashamed as he was angry. How could he know something is wrong and yet want to do that very thing so much?
“Trevor told me Jordan had said all that stuff,” Paul whispered. “I didn’t even think about it. I just tracked Jordan down and started hitting him.”
Paul’s voice cracked as he gave the confession. “Jordan defended my mom, and I beat him up for it.”
He really was just like his father. He deserved to be expelled. If anyone deserved to be beat up, it was Paul. Maybe that’s what God was doing. Maybe God knew that Paul was going to grow up to b a monster, so he let Paul’s dad beat him up for it like some sort of advanced punishment.
Paul’s eyes were closed against the tears, but he clearly heard Jordan speak.
“What?” This time Paul meant to ask the question out loud.
“I said it’s ok,” Jordan repeated. “I don’t really know what happened, but everyone knows you went through some bad stuff. I get it.”
“But I hit you! I threatened you.” Paul couldn’t fathom it. All he’d done, for apparently no reason, and Jordan said it was OK? Why?
“It sucks, and I’m mad about it,” Jordan said. “You wouldn’t even listen, but I figure Trevor just lied to you.”
“But why are you saying it’s ok?” Paul shouted the question. It didn’t make sense! What idiot gets beat up and just brushes it off?
… to be continued …