Friday, April 29, 2011

You Never Know

NOTE: This week, for Red Writing Hood, we want fightin' words. Write a piece about a fight. What happened? Why? Who "won"? What were the repercussions? Show us. Use emotion. Description. If it's a fist fight, what did it feel like to hit someone - or be hit? This can be fiction or non-fiction. This is a fictionalized account of every fight I've ever been in.

You really never know when you will need to use what you learn. At fifteen, I stood in the middle of a ring of girls and sized up my opponent. The girls surrounding me were egging Tasha on like good little bystanders. Some of them were a bit overzealous in their efforts, and pushed at me. They needn't have bothered; I wasn't going anywhere.

Tasha used to be my friend. At some point during tenth grade, she stopped being my friend. But Tasha wasn't done; she and several of her friends began to follow me around, insulting me, taunting me, threatening to beat me up, etc. Bullying. The three girls would follow me from the bus stop. Sometimes there would be more than three, when the sharks smelled blood in the water. This went on for a couple of months, and I mostly ignored them all. Until the day that someone behind me picked up a rock and threw it at the back of my head. It struck a glancing blow right above my ear, and it hurt. When I put my hand up to my head I felt the sticky wetness that is blood. I was instantly furious, but calm at the same time.

I turned around to face the crowd. I didn't say anything. I put my purse and my books down. Then I took my watch off my wrist and put it in the pocket of my jeans. I also put my rings in my pocket, because when you hit someone with a fist, your fingers sometimes swell.

"What are you doing?" Tasha smirked at me, then looked around at the crowd to make sure all eyes were on her. I tried to keep my face as impassive as possible, although inside I was seething.

"We are going to fight," I said. My statement was met with eagerness by the Peanut Gallery, but Tasha became uncertain.


She was a few deputies short of a posse, I decided. I moved closer, invading Tasha's space, and I lowered my voice.

"We are going to fight," I repeated. "We are going to fight, and then you are going to leave me alone, because I am tired of this shit."

Tasha was about to respond to my direct challenge. The noises of the crowd fell away and I was surrounded with silence. My right fist struck her like a snake striking. I really hadn't meant to hit her as hard as I did, but adrenaline and anger put a lot more power behind my punch than expected. I felt the punch in slow motion; the knuckles of my right hand compressing with the impact, telegraphing up my arm to my elbow and then my shoulder as I followed through as I had been taught. I felt, rather than heard, a cracking sound. My brain registered intense pain radiating up my arm.

Blood spurted from Tasha's upper lip where it had split, and spatters of it showered the front of me and several bystanders. My hand was throbbing now, and vaguely I thought that I might have fractured something. The days spent preparing for fights when I was ten and the New Kid yet again had paid off, however. I said a quick mental thank you to the older boy who had taken pity and taught a nerdy girl how to correctly throw a punch.

I was still standing, and Tasha was not. I turned away from her, picked up my stuff, moved through the shocked crowd, and walked the rest of the way home.


  1. In every post I read today, I have to take a deep breath and figure out "Fiction or Not?" Thank you for clearing that up in the beginning!
    This really is a very good account of "every fight". It has every element "every fight" needs, and you did an excellent job of presenting it.

  2. So very descriptive. I felt the sudden surge of empowerment as you decided that you had had enough of the bullying.

    As a new writer, I am curious about the process of compiling many experiences and distilling them into one, well-crafted account. Did it happen effortlessly or did you have to really work to make it appear so seamless?


  3. Actually, Frume, my memory has gotten so horrible with time that some things just all run together, so it was really no effort at all! I think most of 9th and 10th grade were full of fighting, because that was how things were done back then.

  4. Ohh man, the imagery here. The blood spurting from the cracked lip, the throb of the fist that made impact, so very nicely done.

    This: When I put my hand up to my head I felt the sticky wetness that is blood. >>I thought "that is blood" is repetitive. If a rock hit her head, and she feels sticky wetness, then I know it's blood. This is the only thing that stood out to me.

    Good for you for standing up for yourself. I wish more girls did.

  5. I love the low voice, the direct challenge, and how you wrote it, but I'm sorry as hell you had to go through anything like that.

    And the only tiny concrit I had has already been addressed, so I'm just going to say again how much of an impact this had. Wow.

  6. Bravo, girl! It's so good that you stood up to someone who was picking on you. It sounded like she didn't know what was coming. You showed her. I take it she never bothered you again after that incident?

  7. Great job! This is exactly why I have always avoided fighting cause I knew if I did, I would hurt myself more than the other person. It's hard to throw a good punch! Lol.


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