Ever since that day when you had revealed your injuries in front of Gilbert, you made sure to stay as far away from him as possible at all times. There were some occurrences when you were walking down the hallway that you detected his presence and heard him attempting to get your attention, but you just simply ignored him. Now that he knew the full extent to what his bullying had done to you, you wanted absolutely nothing to do with him anymore. You were just going to put everything that happened between the both of you throughout these past three years to the back of your head and move on with your life. Instead, you were going to focus on things that were more important at the moment, such as finding a way to take all of your spring exams without failing any of them.
Now, it was nearly three weeks since you had last talked to Gilbert, and by this point you were aware of how easier your life became now that you no longer had to deal with one of your biggest problems. You no longer spent nearly all night tossing and turning, thinking about how cruddy your life was because of the fact that you had to deal with getting hurt by someone else nearly every single day. You no longer woke up in a sour mood. You were no longer reluctant and even somewhat terrified to go to school because you knew that sooner or later you were going to be beaten and wounded. You no longer were so distracted during class because you kept on fretting whether or not you were going to run into Gilbert between periods and have him bully you. You no longer kept as many secrets from your parents and no longer had to hide the fact that you were being bullied from everyone. You were now able to focus on more important things like improving your grades instead of how you were going to keep on dealing with Gilbert. You were able to relax more and spent more time at ease than at worry.
It felt a bit strange, but a part of you was actually kind of glad that you tried to commit suicide and your attempt failed. When it seemed like life had absolutely no meaning to you, now you wanted to live it as best as you can.
But there was only a tiny problem that you currently had to face. Instead of looking at Gilbert as someone who you feared more than anybody, now you saw him as someone who only got on your nerves. He had been trying to get your attention whenever you were around ever since he caught you when you tried to kill yourself, and every time you seemed to be more and more irritated with how he was acting. Why was it so hard for him to understand that you were mad at him for the fact that after all the pain he had caused you, he now wanted to be your friend? Why couldn't he have just realized that you wanted nothing more to do with him? Why did he seem so determined to keep on interacting with you, even though he wasn't going to be bullying you anymore?
One day after the end of your history class, you were walking down the hall keeping a careful eye out for Gilbert. It wasn't because you were afraid of him coming up to you or anything, but you didn’t feel like once again getting annoyed by his presence. Even though having him as a nuisance was a lot better than having him as a bully, that didn’t stop you from looking at him as someone who was a problem to you.
You looked up and fixed your gaze ahead of you, keeping it cold and hard. Just when it seemed to you like you were temporarily free of any worries at the moment, you felt someone grab your arm and spin you around. Your eyes widened and a surprised look crossed your face at the action, but it quickly turned into annoyance when you looked up to meet the persistent face of Gilbert.
“Listen, _____,” he began with a serious tone to his voice. “I need to talk you to abou—”
He never got the chance to finish his sentence before you roughly slapped his arm, causing his grip on you to release. “Leave me alone,” you muttered and dropped your gaze down to the floor, still not finding enough courage to look up at him with determined and angry eyes. “I don’t get why it’s so hard for you to just stop trying to get my attention.”
Gilbert frowned. “Because you won't let me tell you—”
“No,” you said firmly. Lifting your gaze to look up at him calmly, you continued. “Look, just pretend that what went on between us for the past three years never happened. Pretend as if you don’t know me. I don’t care what you pretend as long as it means you’ll stay away from me. I’ve dealt enough of you and your crap for the past three years, and I don’t want to have to put up with it anymore.” With that, you turned away from him and resumed walking to your next class as if nothing had happened between the both of you for the past minute at all.
Despite the feeling that you were now able to stand up towards him a little better than before, you still didn’t have enough confidence to reveal to him exactly all the anger that had been building up inside you ever since he began bullying you. And you didn’t know if there was anything that was able to make your true, inner feelings come out in front of him.
Gilbert stood there with disappointed eyes as he watched you walk away from him right after he once again tried to talk to you but you turned him away. Well, there goes another failed attempt at trying to get your attention and say to you what he wanted to say ever since he had caught you after your fall. He wanted to tell you exactly how sorry he was, how it had been terribly wrong of him to bully you in the way he had up until the point where it made you want to kill yourself.
But most of all, he wanted to tell you the real reason of why he began bullying you. It was true that you had done absolutely nothing wrong when you walked up to him in the beginning of the freshman year and offered to be his friend, but he wanted to explain what had triggered inside him at that moment when he first saw you that instantly made him want to make your life miserable. But he doubted that he was ever going to be able to get your attention and be allowed to talk to you for more than five seconds without you interrupting him.
Gilbert had been completely horrified and disgusted when you had shown him all of your bruises and scars. The truth was, he had never in his entire life expected that all the damage he was causing to your body every day was so bad. You had been right when you said that he were unaware of the physical extent that all his blows had taken on you. You had been right when you said that before your suicide, he had no idea just how much pain he was causing you both physically and mentally.
He wanted to do something to prove to you that he was sorry for everything that he had done, but apparently offering to be friends wasn't the answer. And he doubted that you were going to be happy when he apologized. In fact, he knew that it probably would've made you even more frustrated.
Just a few days ago, he was the one who was influencing your feelings and caused you to feel so depressed. But now, you were the one who was influencing his feelings and causing him to feel so guilty. It seemed kind of odd how a suicide attempt was the cause of these sudden changes in the behavior of the both of you.
Gilbert sighed as he continued to watch you walk away. After three weeks, it seemed by now that he was probably never going to be able to get his inner feelings out to you, not because he didn’t feel confident enough, but because you wouldn’t have allowed him to.
The one sport you sucked at even more than volleyball.
Not only did you not even know how to run and dribble at the same time, but no matter how close you were, you were never able to get the freakin ball in the freakin hoop. And let’s not forget that you were constantly afraid of getting hit in the head with that ridiculously heavy thing.
That’s why you knew you were instantly dreading the next half hour or so of your life when your PE teacher announced that you guys were going to be playing basketball.
You lifted your gaze and scanned the group of kids that were in the gym with you at the moment, and when your gaze met Gilbert’s, you instantly dropped it and let out a low growl. Sure, you were able to face him with bravery, but when it came to basketball, you were a complete and useless coward. It felt a bit odd that you were able to deal with a former bully better than with a regular sport. But this entire month had been filled with odd occurrences, so you decided not to question anything anymore. Instead, you focused on praying that the coach wouldn’t have picked you to go out into the actual court and actually play with two other people against three others. If you didn’t get to play, you would've been just fine.
The group was split into two teams, and just your luck, Gilbert had ended up in the same one as yours. Thankfully, you weren’t called to be a part of the first two groups to go out into the court and play, so at least your luck didn’t completely run out.
You instantly took that thought back a few seconds later when you had somehow ended up sitting on the bench straight next to Gilbert. You were sitting on the direct end of the bench, so you tried scooting and turning away as much as possible, but that didn’t prevent the fact that you were able to feel his gaze fixed on you.
That idiot! you mentally hissed, shutting your eyes tight and clenching your fists. Why can't he just leave me alone? You sat there with your back nearly facing Gilbert, your elbow resting on your thigh and your chin in your hand, the expression on your face one of utter annoyance. You kept on looking up at the clock, hoping over and over that this period would've ended soon, but time seemed to be going slower than a snail.
As soon as you heard your name being called out, you instantly lifted your head and saw the two current groups that were out in the court return to either bench, and new groups of three come out into the court. That was when you knew that the coach had called you out to go and play.
Oh god...you thought, your heart racing as you feebly stood up on trembling legs and forced yourself to walk to the other two kids from your team who were already standing in the middle of the court. Looks like this period hadn’t gone along as smoothly as you had thought.
For most of the duration of the game, all you had done was trail behind your teammates as if you were a lost duckling. You had hardly done anything to support the team, and you were too afraid to block a shot or a pass for fear that the ball would've hit your face instead of your hand. You heard the coach call out to you several times to participate in the game, but you ignored him.
Basketball just isn’t my thing, okay?! you mentally yelled.
However, you forced yourself to stay close to the two groups and tried not to wander far away or move excessively slow, or else you were just going to attract more attention to yourself than you already were. Can someone just get me away from here? This is like torture!
It felt like you had been standing and moving around in the court forever. All you were aware of at the moment was someone from the opposite team a few yards away from you shooting the ball a good enough distance away from the hoop and the sound of it hitting the rim as the shot was missed.
This is stupid, you thought as you stared down at the ground. I want to just run away and never have to play this stupid sport again.
But you were instantly snapped out of your thoughts when you heard a familiar voice scream, “_____, watch out!”
At that moment, confusion replaced the annoyance in your gaze as you lifted your head and looked up just in time to see a basketball fly through the air and head straight towards you. You were frozen to the spot, somehow unable to force your feet to move as you watched it hurl closer and closer to you. The last thing you were aware of was a sharp pain hitting your face before the feeling disappeared as well as your consciousness.