I was 10.
I was in my school uniform, a grey skirt, my white socks, my shoes well polished, a
maroon jersey and my hair was tied back in a ponytail.
My mom had just kissed me goodbye.
I walked to the bus stop.
It was winter, the clouds were blue and I could smell the car fumes in the air and hear the traffic noise.
I was a bit early, that meant I had to wait, a little while longer for the bus.
I played a bit of hop scotch, careful not to dirty my shoes.
Eventually the bus came.
I had my ticket in hand, ready to be ticked for the morning.
There were no empty seats except right at the back of the bus, where the older boys sat.
My heart started pounding.
I was tiny.
Forever teased about my skinny frame.
It was the longest walk of my life.
I was only a little girl.
They moved and made me sit in the middle.
I could hear the pounding of my heart blocking my ears.
They could smell my fear.
They were the older boys.
I didn’t like boys much.
They were rough.
Like the ones I was sitting in between.
One took his hand and touched my thigh.
Fear paralyzed me.
The school bus was noisy.
I could see everybody’s lips moving.
I couldn’t hear what they were saying.
Tears blurred out my vision.
I couldn’t move.
That was the day I learnt that boys hurt you.
They hurt you on purpose.
They hurt you with smiles on their faces.
They hurt you with laughter in their throats.
Boys hurt you intentionally.
Boys hurt you with their hands.
Boys with soft hands.
Boys with rough hands.
Boys who wear dirty school shirts.
Boys who wear clean school shirts.
Boys hurt you.