My Best Friend Kissed My Childhood Bully

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Girls best friend kissing her childhood bully

A little boy bullied me at recess on my first day of kindergarten.

After high school graduation, he kissed my best friend under a tree in his backyard.

In the sixth grade, my best friend and I enrolled in a private school across the bridge in a neighboring town while my kindergarten bully stayed in the public school system in the city. However, we all lived within a single block of each other throughout our childhoods and early adulthoods.

My best friend and I were walking through the neighborhood shortly after my high school graduation when we passed the house where my kindergarten bully lived. He and I hadn’t spoken since elementary school.

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To my surprise, he waved at us and struck up a conversation.

He invited us into his mother’s house for a cup of coffee, and we agreed. We had a friendly talk, and it was comfortable but strange.

He was so nice, but I couldn’t forgive him for making my entire elementary school a nightmare, beginning with that first day at recess.

Being bullied on my first day of kindergarten made me a target and a victim. I would play those roles for years.

I wasn’t ready to forgive and forget.

My best friend and I said goodbye to his mother, and then he walked us outside to the front yard. Just as we turned to make our way back up the street to my friend’s house, my former bully gently pulled her in for a hug and planted a kiss on her lips.

I don’t know who was more surprised: me, her, or him.

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But I know this: I was furious. I thought my head would explode with anger.

I felt like my best friend had betrayed me. That was ridiculous.

She hadn’t betrayed me. First, he kissed her, not the other way around. Second, it had been more than a decade since that day at recess.

My kindergarten bully and the young man who kissed my best friend under a tree were barely even the same people, just as the person I am today isn’t the same little girl he bullied at recess. People change.

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It was time for me to forget about kindergarten, and maybe I would have if I hadn’t just seen my best friend and my bully engaged in a kiss.

I was still angry when I walked away from the sight of that kiss, but I knew I needed to let go of the anger and resentment I had been carrying around for years. We were all grown up now.

I forgave my bully, not because he deserved it, but because I deserved peace.

Finally, I could put the pain of my childhood behind me.

I’m not sure he ever knew how much his actions affected me, but I hope that, if he ever thinks about that day at recess, he realizes how grateful I am that he’s no longer a part of my life.

And by the way, my best friend never kissed him again, and that was good enough for me.

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Tracey Folly is a Boston-based writer, podcaster, and frequent contributor to YourTango. She’s had stories featured in Elephant Journal, Medium, NewsBreak, and YourTango, among others.

This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.