Because this neighborhood is a lot nicer than my last one – people can actually decorate their houses for Halloween without worrying that some crackhead will come along and steal everything – I bought three big bags of candy to hand out to what I assumed would be a decent number of trick-or-treaters. What I learned was that not a whole lot of kids come to my block, but that the ones who do are very polite and always say “thank you” before they leave.
My sister also brought my nephew over. Parents, let me tell you something about Halloween. I know it’s easier to buy your 3rd grader a skull mask and call it done for the next 3-5 years, but when a 4-year-old specifically requests and fucking rocks an Indiana Jones costume complete with hat, satchel, whip, and 5 o’clock shadow, well, I’m sorry, but your kid has just lost at Halloween. My nephew wins. Always.
While they were at the house, my sister told me that Beck was being bullied at school. I guess he’d wanted to play with the neighbor’s grandkid on Saturday, and when my sister told him that the grandkid wasn’t at his grandparents’ house, Beck had a meltdown. Not a typical bratty “you’re big and mean and I hate you” meltdown, either, but a depressive, neurotic, heartbreaking meltdown that I haven’t been able to get out of my head since last night.
He wants to know why he doesn’t have any friends. Apparently, all the kids who were his friends in the 3 and 4-year old class are mean to him in the 4 and 5-year old class, and his former best friends call him a “girl” and “dumb.” He said that nobody will talk to him and he plays by himself every day. He wants to know why this happened. He was sobbing to the point where he couldn’t catch his breath and said he hated his life because no one would be his friend. He just wants one friend.
You guys. I died. I just died. My heart broke inside of my chest and I just felt like dying. I still feel like dying, because I thought about this until I fell asleep last night and I woke up thinking about it, and I can’t get it out of my head because it’s so sad, and also because I want to beat the shit out of these asshole kids in his class. Especially his former best friends. When I think of them, I think of Charlie:
These fucking kids. See, this is what I was saying the other day. I can’t imagine having to explain to a child that some people are mean for no reason, and there really is no reason behind this. Well, there sort of is. One of the kids in question is a beefy, fatheaded jerkwad who pushes his own teammates out of the way during soccer games. Like, every soccer game. And his parents and grandparents never say a thing, so clearly this assholery is genetic. The other kid is the one with the pink cleats, the one whose own father referred to as a “tampon.” He’s also much smaller than both the beefy jerkwad and my nephew, and kind of a whiny tittybaby kind of kid, so I imagine his assholery is the result of a) being used to people treating other people like shit, and b) being willing to do anything to ensure that the assholery isn’t used against him.
I understand this because I’m an adult, but there’s no way to explain it to a child who is so upset by this that it occupies his mind into the weekend and causes him to completely break down over not having any friends. How do you explain loneliness to a 4-year-old? You can’t! You don’t want to! It’ll make you cry. Graham had only heard bits and pieces of the whole thing, so when I filled him in later, my voice kept cracking.
“Are you crying?” he asked.
“It’s just a really shitty thing to do to a kid like him!” I wailed, and then I started really crying.
I took Beck aside last night to tell him that he was the best and funniest kid I knew (this is true), and that any kid who was mean to him was insecure and a jerk (also true). I also told him that I was his friend, and so was Graham, and just because he didn’t have any siblings and no other kids on his block speak English, that doesn’t mean he never has anyone to hang out with. I know I’m not as good as a kid his own age and that he really just wants kids to stop being cruel to him, but I still can’t think of anything else to say. I can’t think of a way to make this better for him, which is another reason why I can’t be a parent. Heartbreak, just constant and terrible heartbreak, every day for the rest of your life.
But yeah, I am totally smacking the shit out of some kids.