She was dirty and sore from fighting with one of the bullies in school. She did not care. Her mother would never notice. She would have loved to be noticed and reprimanded for her dirty clothes. Then she could tell her mother that she got into a fight with the boys who bullied her in school.
Lily’s father left them for another woman. She and her three other siblings were left to the care of their mother who took all her anger unto her children, especially Lily. Her father would drop by from time to time to give them money and food. But the food was not enough, Lily and her siblings were always hungry.
She tried her best to help her mother at home. She was only eleven but her mother made it her responsibility to do all the house chores. Her mother never understood why Lily had to go to school. She wanted her to stay home to do housework, and to take care of her younger siblings.
But Lily had to go to school. She wanted to be in school because school was the place where she was recognized for her excellence, school was a haven where she felt safe from verbal and physical abuse.
At home she took a beating at the slightest mistake. She took a beating when she dropped or lost something, no matter how unimportant. She took a beating when she could not stop her youngest brother from crying.
Her mother hated to see her reading her lessons, or doing school homework. She wanted to see her doing housework at all times.
She goes to school with bruises and red marks on her arms and legs but nobody cared. The teachers would not ask her why. It was the time and place where the children’s rights were not exercised. No one wanted to meddle with any parent’s manner of discipline.
Fighting the Bullies
She and her younger sister went to the barrio school. She knew everyone in school whispered about her mother’s treatment of her, about her father having another woman. She did not let it bother her. She minded her own business.
Someday, she knew she would leave that school, someday her life would change. She was on the top of her class and that was all that mattered to her. Her classmates could not believe that the poor battered child could excel in school, but she did!
The boys in her class became bolder and started saying things about her father and how her mother beats her every day.
Lily did not want to be bullied outside of home. She had been bullied enough inside the house. She engaged the boys and challenged them to a fist fight. “Wait for me after school!” she screamed at the boys.
If she thought the boys would not take her seriously, she was wrong. The boys were there waiting for her outside of school. And if they thought she would not fight, they were wrong. She would not allow these stupid boys to think she was a coward. She handed her books to her younger sister and proceeded to fight with one of the boys.
She fought fiercely, fist for fist, blow for blow. They rolled on the ground and she clawed, she kicked, she punched. Of course, she was also on the receiving end of blows and punches, but she did not flinch. She was used to being beaten but the BIG difference was, this time, she could fight back. She could strike back at her oppressor. It was an even game. All her frustration throughout the years of being beaten helplessly, she released on the boy. She knew she could not overpower him because she was just a frail, malnourished kid but she kept on. Her sister watched helplessly crying and calling out her name but she was relentless until both fighters ran out of steam.
She came home spent and dirty from all the rolling on the ground. Her body sore from the blows she received but she did not cry. She was angry but she could not dwell on her emotions because when her mother saw they were home, she shouted orders to fetch water from the stream, to feed the chicken, to feed the goat.
She had to run and finish her chores before the night fell or there would be another beating. Her body ached all over. She prayed that she finished her chores before dark so her mother would not find a reason to beat her.
Forty years later...
Lily is now a Doctor of Business Management, and a graduate school professor. She is happily married with two children. Her son is an Electronics Engineer and her daughter an Architect. In all her life as a mother, she has never hit her children, not even once.
© 2020 Norma