There was a boy at my school. He looked by a sleepy Cornish town standard; a bit ‘scary’. He attended the local children’s’ home and had tattoos on his hands at the tender age of 15. He never really engaged with anyone and was considered a loner. He was certainly not anyone I would ever imagine talking to…until one day, when something happened.
It was my birthday and I had been floured, one of the school bullies’ favourite tricks for anyone who was slow enough not to get away from the school gates on time. This day I fell into the ambush and was covered with eggs and flour! A fantastic mixture for a cake but not when landed on your head. Like many youngsters from all the ages, I was subjected to various bouts of bullying, which, it goes without saying I did not like.
As I walked away from school, covered in flour, sobbing my heart out, I heard this voice, asking me if I were “okay.” AI turned to see who it was, realizing it was ‘John’ the town rebel. I told him how I was picked on for my red hair but how I was struggling at home too. He walked with me all the way home.
As he left me, he turned to me and said, “do not worry about being picked on again, in future I will walk you home every day if you like.” He was true to his word. I found him to be gentle and kind, having had his own fair share of issues, he recognised someone who needed help.
It was a lesson for me, one that has held me in good stead. Never judge a book by its cover, as that person could be hiding behind a protective mask, a mask that hides a beautiful and kind soul.
I will never forget John and I often wonder what became of him. I hope he’s happy.