My 15-year-old daughter went to the bathroom at school today. She didn’t feel well. There was another girl in there – a waif with thin blond hair who looked like she was on meth. The Daughter felt self-conscious, barfing into the toilet. Outside her stall, the waif snickered. Suddenly, the lights went out. The door slammed shut.
Shrouded in darkness, she had to feel her way around to the light switch. Retching and bewildered, she cried. She’s still out there, waiting to see my reaction.
So when the tears stopped, she rinsed her face.
The waif was waiting. The Daughter walked out, head held high.
As she told me the story, she started to shake.
“Why did she do that, mom? She knew I was sick. She could have asked if I was OK and if I needed anything. Why would she do that? Why would she be so mean?”
I didn’t know what to say. Mean people have always existed, like cockroaches. They’re vile, but they must serve a purpose somehow.
“It wasn’t you. It was her. This was not personal, she didn’t even know you. She’s obviously very unhappy and wounded.” I hugged her and told I was sorry that it happened.
I was aware of several facts all at once:
- that I wanted to exact revenge on The Waif;
- that mean people will hurt my children and everyone I love many times over;
- that we will never know why people do cruel things; and
- that I have very little control over anything.
All we can do is be our best and be kind and provide love and comfort to each other.
And practice drawing octopodes.