FINALS IS DONE. As a treat, here’s the chapter tracing back to a significant event in Dmitri’s life.
Chapter 11: Dmitri’s Story
It was October and we were young 8 year old kids figuring out the world as society dictates. There was this kid, I forgot his name but he was my seat mate in the classroom.
I remember him writing down noisy kids in a notepad. This was usually the job of the class monitor. He was not the monitor. I was such a stickler for the rules but made sure to tell him nicely that he wasn’t to do that. I have no idea why I did that but I do remember that this classmate did not say a word.
Instead, this classmate’s fist did the talking.
I remember wincing.
I remember the pain that blossomed across my cheek.
I can never forget that it was the first time I cried. I cried and it terrified me. I cried not just because this classmate of mine punched me because I told him he was breaking rules but also I was now less than a boy and more of a sissy.
It was an unwritten rule that boys never cry. Only girls do.
Of course, our classmates saw that and ran to get our teacher before this kid could do any more damage.
To be honest, I don’t remember how everything else went but I remember our teacher telling us that we should keep this a secret.
Now Dorian wasn’t much of a talker at school. He’s always alone with a book in his hand. But during that day I heard him tell our teacher and classmates with such clarity that until now it stuck with me. “Mam and Da told me lying is bad and I don’t lie.”
During dismissal, my dad fetched me. Before he could even ask, Dorian told him everything and, of course, being an over-protective dad, he was furious. When I looked at Dorian, I expected that he would be terrified of my dad but no. I saw him looking at me. Then with a smile he told me that things will be okay.
I couldn’t explain the wave of emotions I felt but I simply dismissed it as admiration. Sure that event led to waves of bullying after my dad charged like a bull to the teacher to call for an explanation (he’s terrifying that way) but I couldn’t help but think of this…
My biggest regret? I never stood out for him when he needed it the most. Because of that, I always thought that I suck as a human being.
About a month later, Dorian got into a bad fight with really bad kids. I guess word got around that a tattle-tale bookworm did not play by the rules.
At that time, I was in the little boys’ room. If memory serves me right, it was during lunch time. I was doing my business in a stall when I heard someone burst in the room. I thought it was some kid who held in his pee for the whole morning until I heard Dorian.
I wanted to go out but hearing more than one person about, I got scared. I froze with my pants halfway down, my kiddie ass stuck on the toilet seat and my entire body going cold.
I hated myself for it.
There were punches being thrown. Jeers and points being declared to what body part way kicked or punched. And Dorian –
Dorian just begged them to stop.
Even if I never emerged from my cubicle, the noises were clear until today and whenever I would remember I get disgusted with myself. Dmitri the Coward.
Dorian never came back to school after that. His parents transferred him. But what broke me the most was that he was thoughtful enough to leave a note in my locker saying that he’s transferring and that he hoped my swollen cheek would be okay.
If I knew what love was back then, I would’ve realized it sooner.
Catch up with the entire series here.
Playlist for this story (Spotify):