I could never tell what would set them off. They would leave me alone for weeks and then one of them, probably the oldest at nine, would get this look in his eyes, hone in on me and I knew I was in for pain. I did not run to the farthest end of the playground, like my brother did, for protection. I would never get back to class on time and being late was not acceptable.
I tried so hard not to cry but their taunts, in a language I did not know, and their rocks hurt. They would not stop until I was crying, the teacher intervened or the bell rang. It was usually the bell that stopped the pain. Not today. I crouched down, my arms over my head, sobbing as tears mingled with the blood flowing down my face.
Then I heard her. The teacher. Less my savior and more my jailor than anything else. She broke through the semi-circle of children, her voice hard and demanding. When she grabbed my wrist, I looked up and saw that her harsh words were for me instead of the children who knew they did not need to run from this authority figure. One of the children still had a rock in hand. Yet, it was me the teacher yelled at in that language I did not know.
I stood there looking at her, my arm throbbing in her too tight grip. I did not say a word. Finally, she gave a disgusted snort and said, in broken words I could understand, "You. Making trouble again." I was the one with my back to the wall, bruised and bleeding, but I was the troublemaker. I said nothing through my tears and blood.
It had been like this for three months now and I still had another six months left — knowing that there was no hope or protection from the one who was supposed to provide both.
She shook her head and dragged me through the playground back to the school. The whole time, she spoke to me in low, hard tones in that language I did not understand. They were not nice words. That was all I needed to know. It was then and there that I decided that I would never learn the native language of this place. I did not want to know what they said to me or about me. Their actions told me all I needed to know.
Bio: Despite this being a true story, I still consider myself an optimist as well as a wordslinger.