It is hard to believe but I used to be one of the nastiest little thing that ever walked the earth.
Shutup, haters. I’ve changed.
I used to study at Tripoli College School in Libya (bombed two months ago, God bless it), and it was Valentine’s day. The tradition was, there was a ‘Valentine’s Box’ and for half the day, students in each class dropped an anonymous note in there with a message of love to anyone of their choice.
In the afternoon, the teacher would read the notes, for the amusement and merriment of the class.
“Dear Tim. You are the best friend I have ever had. Thank you for sharing your sandwich with me,” etc. were the kind of stories the teacher usually read out.
But on February 14, 1996 (ish?), I did something truly horrible, even for a child.
There was a Lebanense girl in our class that I shall call Souheir. Souheir was fat, and unattractive. She had a big pudgy nose, and her face was dotted with pimples. She also smelled bad. I remember she always wore this huge red coat as though to hide the body underneath it, in winter and summer. All one could see were really fat hands, and really big legs, on whose big ugly feet she stomped about. She was a loner and had no friends.
A perfect target for a bully.
I wrote a letter to her from Ivan, a Bosnian boy who sat in front of me that I had a huge crush on. The teacher pulled ‘my’ letter out and cried out in surprise: “Oh, we have someone who has left their name on the front. Thank you Ivan, for writing to Souheir! Let us see what you are telling her!”.
I glanced sideways at Souheir, whose face had gone white, drained of blood. It only then begun to dawn on me that what I had done wasn’t funny. Souheir begun to turn red as the teacher read Ivan’s “love letter”, calling her beautiful, the apple of his eye and other sentimentalities.
“No!” Ivan roared. “That’s a lie! I would never say that to Souheir! NEVER! She’s UGLY!”
Ivan was SOBBING, his face purple, his eyes streaming. There was even mucus. But Souheir was out-sobbing him.
I wasn’t a complete brat. I apologized personally to both of them. But still.
I felt awful.