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Image courtesy of Pexels and Anastasia Zhenina

When I walked to the baseball field that day, I knew things were about to change.

My hands were cold and wet in anticipation, and I wiped them on my jeans. I could see the crowd of other children forming on the pitcher’s mound.

In the middle stood Izzy, our grade’s bully. He was tall, heads above the crowd of fifth graders, and I wondered how I’d gotten into this mess.

It was none of my business. Izzy wasn’t even in any of my classes, he left me alone.

But I was tired of watching the fear in his classmates’ eyes, the way they hid their lunch money in their socks, the bruises on elbows and the cuts on knees.

Izzy threw the first punch. It hit me square on the jaw and I saw red. I was so angry that suddenly nothing else mattered. Not the cheering of the other kids, not my friend Sam rooting me on — I was hurting and I wanted to hurt back.

I swung back and my fist connected. I took a few more blows, but I gave more in return. I don’t remember everything, it was too fast.

But I remember the look in Sam’s eyes as he tried to drag me off of Izzy. Somehow I’d ended on top of Izzy on the ground, still hitting him though he didn’t fight back any more.

“Stop!” I cried, trying to keep Sam from pulling me away. My job wasn’t done.

But when I went to push him away, my elbow knocked back into his face, and his glasses fell into the red dirt.

There was a sudden hush amongst the kids. I looked up and didn’t like what I saw in their faces.

When I walked to the baseball field that day, I knew things were about to change.

I am now the bully.

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