Somebody To Listen

by D K Daniels

Caught in the cluster of middle schoolers, young Wyatt Aciman got shoved, back and forth between the larger, substantially domineering 6th Graders. It had become a frequent activity over the last couple of weeks since school started back. Wyatt happened to be excited the day he began his smooth transition into 5th Grade. That was well… until Thomas Miller of the 6th Grade, and a select group of friends confronted the youngster during lunch one sunny afternoon.

Like a ragdoll, the petite, blond-haired child passed between a group of four boys who shoved Wyatt in a round of hot potato. Wyatt grunted with each push. The young boy, distraught and terrified, endured the process. The bullies grinned and slurred derogatory words aimed at Wyatt's parents. Thomas struck out, socking Wyatt across the face with an open palm. The child's face stung from the blow, and with the weight of his backpack, Wyatt staggered backward and tripped, before crashing to the ground over a jagged vein protruding from the tree root of a sugar maple. Thomas Miller gave a titter, sauntering away while placing his red numbing hands into the pockets of his jacket. For so long, Wyatt's older brother Mark degraded him at home, behind the privacy of closed doors and an absent parent. Many liked Wyatt due to his sunny disposition and his boyish charm.

Except, now Wyatt lay on the wet grass verging outside school, glancing around in a disorientated manner. The boy grew tired of all the hassle, all the cruel rumours Thomas spread about his two mothers. Time for payback. Rain poured, and a flood of torment gushed into Wyatt's chest. The boy scanned the area and seized a rock from the grass under the sugar maple. Running pell-mell, Wyatt raced for the bully, raising the stone above his head. Letting loose a hardened battle cry , he cracked the rock down on Thomas's head. The result; knocking the lads' skull forward.

Thomas's reaction to the vicious striking was to cover the brewing pain in the back of his head with his hand. A fresh sopping trickle of red blood oozed from a wound at the rear of his head, and the boy collapsed to his knees. In shock and fear, the other children separated from the leader of the pack and left him to the mercy of Wyatt. In terror and confusion with the sudden realization of what he had done, Wyatt Aciman dropped the rock clasped in his hand and began to tremble. "What did I do? Why did I do that for? My Moms are gonna kill me? I didn't mean to do it; he just made me so angry." Panting, Wyatt, took a step back, the best of his panic taking control of his breathing.

Drawing in a deep breath, the youth placed the palms of his hands on his knees and keeled over.

Wyatt glanced at the bully, and then in contempt said, "are you okay... I'm sorry ."

The schoolboy could hear them already, the whispers and the murmurs. All the other boys and girls in the school conversing freely about the incident and hysteria. There is no way in hell I am going to live this down Wyatt affirmed. I'm going to be known as the freak who attacked Thomas Miller on the front lawn directly outside school.

Before long, the teachers arrived, attending to both boys. Although Thomas's wound was a little more serious than Wyatt's; the child had worked himself into a frenzy and suffered a panic attack.

As Wyatt sat alone in the secretary's office, which adjoined the principal's office, the boy had time to ponder. How am I going to explain this to my Mom's? Scratching the rump of his hand, the child played around with his inhaler while he waited patiently for whatever punishment loomed over him. Even if my Moms are going to be disappointed with me, I'd rather them arrive now than having to sit here in the dreaded silence under the supervision of the secretary. The young 'un did not dare to look up, as for when did he was met with cynical eyes. Inadvertently as to not cause any more conflict, the boy broke his eye contact with the woman, continued to fidget and play with his inhaler again, and again.

Some 3 miles from the school, Thomas Miller had been admitted to the local ER . What first appeared to be a contusion had grown substantially horrific after learning that the extent of the wound was much deeper than first realized. Once the initial discovery had been made, paramedics were requested, and the boy was taken away in an ambulance. Livid and agitated, Thomas Miller began to cry in resentment for having underestimated Wyatt Aciman. Thomas felt like apologizing, it would be the first thing on his agenda if he made it through this ordeal.

From the way the woman at the desk sat, provocatively flaunting her honourable title as secretary, a couple of words came to Wyatt's mind when thinking of her. He imagined what it would be like inside her brain; how she's making assumptions without knowing. "How could such a caring young boy do such a cruel and horrible thing to a fellow classman?" If having a near asthma attack was not enough to show that the young 'un was genuinely apologetic about his actions and as sympathetic to beg forgiveness from his bully moments after the initial incursion had taken place. The woman would not be giving Wyatt a face of utter disgust. It was one of those faces when snobby parents reckon their children are a cut above the rest. The sort of cynic entitlement as to announce, "my child would not do anything like that."

Before long Wyatt's parents had arrived and were beckoned toward the principal's office; encouraging a sit down with their so-called troubled boy. In the meantime, Thomas Miller had been admitted at Mercy General Hospital, his head bleed concealed to the best degree the staff could do at the establishment; and that he would live with nothing other than a slight concussion.

While back at school, Wyatt and his parents sat down in three neatly presented chairs, laid out before their arrival. A lamb to the slaughter, the youngster, would receive the full brunt of the blame for doing what he had done. Only if the school had modestly taken their heads out of their behinds; they could have seen the child had been bullied every day for the last two months. All that remained was to shell out the troublemaker's punishment and be done with the entire situation without inquiring any more about it.

Since Wyatt had no previous infractions, the principal could not understand as to how such a golden child could erupt with such rage. After all, former schools that had been used as an educational retreat for their son; Emma and Lisa Aciman saw no difference from the current educational institution. They would belittle Wyatt, accuse him in the wrong and that he should not defend himself, and politely disparage their household due to the fact that they are two women raising a child. Of course, of all the times the kid could have fought back, it had not been in a moment of self-defence. If it had been in a second of self-defence, then people could possibly understand, but as to why he got back up off the ground and attacked; only Wyatt understood.

A feeble man in his 50s; wearing a light grey cardigan, black slacks, and silver-wire glasses peered at the family before him. The principal looked at the spotless record. Yet a comprehensive list of bullying notes came attached that have been passed around for so long that no school had appeared to be as complacent as to put an end to the bullying. A sure way to stop harassment for Wyatt was to move the child from his learning environment, rather than relocating bullies. For once in several years the principal looked up to the eagerly waiting family, who appeared apologetic about the entire event. Combing over the paper file, he closed the binder, withdrew his glasses and let loose a sigh.

The man gracefully, looked from parent to parent, then to the petite boy. In an empathetic tone, Mr Blake, the Principal of Chesterville Country Elementary School, asked Wyatt, as he did lean across the table.

"Can you tell me your side of the story Wyatt?"

The boy shifted his attention from parent to parent, somehow awaiting encouragement to proceed forward. With that, the child glanced ahead and began an official statement since the bullying first started in this institution. All over again, like countless others beforehand, Wyatt poured his heart out. Only this time, someone listened.

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