When I was in kindergarten, I would ride my bike to school with my older sister and her friends. She was in second grade and, the two sisters we biked along side of, were in third and forth grade. My sister shared their reserved shyness while I was abrasively outgoing. I hadn't quite discovered the usefulness of tact or figured out how to censor myself. My sister's friends were too polite to tell me that some of my thoughtless comments had offended them.
My sister had no such reservations.
"If you weren't my sister, we wouldn't ride with you." ...and... "Sometimes I wish you weren't born." ...and... "Why can't you just shut up?" ...were things she'd say after we got home. It got to the point where I tried not to speak during our rides to and from school.
One day, as we were heading to our bikes, we saw the school bullies standing next to the bike racks. There were five of them. Four were fourth and fifth graders who looked like they'd been taking steroids since birth. Then there was Michael, a third grader who was shorter and younger than his friends. He had inherited the leadership position from his brother who was now at the middle school. Michael was mean and leading came naturally to him. But he was clever too. Unlike his brother who often got their gang of friends in trouble, Michael always made sure they never started anything nor were caught doing the same thing two days in a row. Instead of aggressively attacking anyone, they would obstruct the path to the bikes from different places and on different days. Then they'd tease and make fun of the other students. Eventually, a kid would get frustrated and try to push past one of them, just wanting to get to the bikes. But from that push, a fight would start.
My sister and her friends decided that it was best to hide and wait until the boys left before even approaching the bike racks.
After a few months of this, I was fed up. It was spring where we lived just outside of Houston, Texas which meant it was hot and humid. I was tired of running back and forth, checking to see if the boys had left as my sister and her friends waited inside in the air conditioning. I was tired of watching other kids get beat up. I was tired of seeing good kids getting into trouble for starting the fights and the bullies getting away with it. I was tired and I was going to do something about it. Fighting hadn't worked and wasn't my style, so I came up with plan.
Instead of lurking by the swings with my sister and her friends, when I saw that Michael and his friends were playing the bike blocking game, I marched over to him. His friends saw no threat in a 6 year old girl, so they let me past them. Michael didn't even move from the bike rack he was leaning against, he just cocked a eyebrow.
"Whachoo want, pip squeak?" He chewed on a fingernail.
I swallowed. "I need my bike." The boys laughed. Their smug laughter pissed me off. Putting my hand on my hip, I stared at Michael. "You and your friends need to stop bulling people. You need to get away from the bikes or..."
"Or what?" He hopped down from his perch and crouched so that his crooked nose was inches from mine. "What's a little thing like you gonna do?"
I wrapped my arms around his head and planted a sloppy wet kiss on his lips. He jerked away and took off screaming.
Balling up my fists, I glared at each of the goons. "So who's next?" I puckered my lips and blew kisses at them. "Who else wants to get cooties?"
They shook their heads and walked away. My sister and her friends ran over, laughing and congratulating me. Several people shouted, "She scared them off with a kiss!"
After that day, those boys avoided me like a plague and never staked out the bikes again.
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