At The Urinals – by Bryce Van Nye

So they have these little urinals at Fox Hills Elementary. It’s a small school, just outside Salt Lake City, Utah. They’re just something you used to piss in; I’d never given them much thought, until that day. You don’t have occasion to think much about them until you’re right beside one, slamming and raking your tiny bloody hands into someone twice your size.

I was seven.  A very silently damaged seven. You couldn’t put the mark on what was wrong with me, but it was there. I was numb, just a little blond monster. I’d been emptied of my personage– eaten up by uncle, and then cousin, until there was nothing left of me. No child, but the convincing shell of one. I was playing pretend, and making it look like a small growing life.

I was at the urinal peeing. I had a hall pass, and because I had very little bladder control, I owned a fancy free pass. Then this 12 year old entered, and stood at the urinal next to mine. He looked at me, reached across into the urinal, and grabbed me. I froze. Everything went black, but this time instead of withdrawing inward, and away, I flew out at him. Hatred oozed out of every pore in my body. I have never felt so enraged in my entire life, either before or since. I don’t even remember attacking. He was so much fucking bigger than me, yet still smaller than the others. It did not matter, it didn’t even warrant a single thought.

So there I was clawing my way up his body, scratching and hitting him, as I rode his larger body to the ground. I punched one hand after another into his face. I remember feeling his nose break; it felt like a secret seed exploding into a full tree inside my tiny chest, with pure, unadulterated, euphoric satisfaction. Then I was standing over him, kicking him as he cried.

They wanted to expel me, but I was gone again, I wouldn’t even say a word. The angry voices were like a distant buzzing in my ear. When my mother arrived, she got them to leave. With a calm voice while looking right at me, she asked what had happened.

“He’d touched me,” was all I’d say, and she knew what I’d meant. She cleared everything with them, but I honestly don’t remember a thing about it.

I was buried again under walls, and was a ghost for many years to come. I could always feel the joy as they pulled me off of him, that joy of release. Like a tree top poking up past the piles of trash, that feeling of being free for the first time never quite left me. Of course I had no clue as to just how far I had to go. Even now after so much work, it’s the fight in me that counts on the darkest of days. I can only drown for so long before it boils back up. What I learned on that day, is that I will not leave this life without a struggle. I will not be a silent victim.

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