They called her Leonora, hardly a fitting name for the school bully but she was my walking nightmare from day one when I crossed the school playground.
‘Hey you! New eh? Where’d you come from?’
She was big for her age and dwarfed her two companions.
I stopped. ‘I went to school in Croydon,’ I said. ‘We’ve just moved up here.’
Hard blue eyes stared unblinking into mine. ‘Croydon eh! Where’s that then?’ Obviously anything south of Sunderland was foreign territory.
‘It’s in Surrey,’ I said. ‘Not far from London.’
Her upper lip curled in disgust and big buck teeth moved frightening close to my face. ‘Get lost posh pants! We don’t want no foreigners here. We’re sending you to Coventry.’
I wanted to retort, ‘I’m surprised you know where Coventry is – it being south of Sunderland,’ but my hands were shaking and the lump in my throat threatened to give way to a sob.
Leonora’s bullying tactics continued…..
The benefits of being bullied? They came many years later when the idea of writing was but a seed in the back of my mind. “Write what you know,” I was told and being bullied was something I knew about. And so began a long outpouring of the heart, the fears, the loneliness, the pain that comes with being bullied. But oddly enough, as I wrote and rewrote that same incident, I discovered not just a healing process but that humour was creeping in. In fact, by the time I’d finished it I felt confident to send this, my first piece of writing, off to a published. Two weeks later the local newspaper published it and paid me! Yeh!