I used to think of myself as a connoisseur of being bullied. Being the youngest of three, I was often the target of little attacks, such as butter in the hair while I washed it, or tacks in my favorite seat when it was time for dinner. Sometimes, I even drank soda laced with a huge amount of salt and pepper, or even had to cut strands of my hair off because gum had been stuck inside my winter hat. Bullying helped shaped me into who I am: a person who understands and cares for others when they’re feeling pressure from home or school, and one who vowed to raise her children to respect one another and to not hurt each other. They would be all they have in the world after I have left it. Love would keep them together, not guilt or memories that were not so fond because all they did was fight.
There are times when I wish bullying was non-existent, but if not for bullying, I would have never became close friends with Suzie. Suzie was a very pretty girl, abnormally so. She had long, blonde hair, and she always took care of herself. She was popular, but always found time to spend with me and all of the other people who really weren’t as high on the totem pole as she was. Imagine being popular in college; it was a feat, but Suzie pulled it off while still remaining humble.
I remember the time when she first signed up for Facebook. She and I sat down, figuring out our profiles, adding each other as friends almost immediately. We checked and looked for others of our rag-tag crew, and if they weren’t signed up, we made them. It wasn’t like twisting an arm, they were happy to. And to be honest, it was a fun time in my internet life.
Since Suzie was popular and beautiful, random people would add her, and she would accept with no problem. Her friends became my friends, and it trickled down the ladder as such. We also gained friends by playing games, joining groups that we had interests in, and eventually we branched off. There were things that I liked that Suzie did not and vice versa. It was like that with all of us.
Eventually we lost touch. Suzie had too much going on in her life to try to hold a social life as well. She had her overload of classes, a side job to help with the bills at her house which she enjoyed, a boyfriend whom she adored and whom she actually met through the social networking site. Every now and then she would call me to say, “Look at my post! It’s pretty darn funny!” Or “Hey girl, did you see what he said about me on my wall? I love him so much!” I was happy because she was happy. We had that type of friendship that we no longer needed to keep in touch.
Only a few months before she had called me crying. Her boyfriend, the one whom she loved, met a girl from that same circle of friends that we all shared. She was worried that they had done something with each other, and she begged me to look at his profile page.
“Just look at what he wrote to her. Tell me if you think that it’s suspicious,” Suzie cried.
I couldn’t help but agree, not only because she was my friend, but because she was right. Later I found out that Suzie gave him an ultimatum. Remove the girl, clear out your facebook account, or leave. And he did so, no question.
It may seem that I am confessing about a relationship that worked, and that there were no problems to this, but that’s wrong. No more than a week passed when she called me once again, crying.
“Girl, look at my page. Did you see with that girl wrote?”
I looked at her page and saw the foul language written there, and the gang of others who had joined in on the bickering. The bickering went back and forth, a few of Suzie’s friends, and a few of the strange woman’s friends. All tangled in a web of hate over a guy’s love for Suzie.
“Please say something on that post. Just so that I know you’re on my side,” Suzie pleaded.
“But I am on your side, Suzie. I just don’t know what to say,” I told her, and I was honest. I couldn’t say anything to those people.
“What type of friend are you? All you have to do is post one little stupid comment,” Suzie said.
“No, Suzie, I’m pretty busy, can I call you back?” I asked.
“Sure,” she said, and hung up immediately.
I had a mind to apologize, but I didn’t want to get tangled into that mess. It was a disaster from the start, but I didn’t know it at the time.
Suzie and I hadn’t spoken for a month before she called me, and when she did, she sounded so tired. She told me that she and the guy had broken up, and that he went with the other girl, the girl who was on her page, yelling at her. I told her that I was sorry, but she wouldn’t hear any of it. She tried her best to sound strong, and told me that she didn’t need him anyway. He was no good and a cheater. I gave her praise when I should have given her a shoulder.
Not too long after that phone call, I decided to actually check out my Facebook account to look at her page. Something had urged me to. I saw everything that was written there. The cursing, the profanities, the rumors, the way the girl and her friends continued to hound Suzie even though the ringleader had gotten what she wanted. Suzie never commented, but everyone else did. Some took up for Suzie, the others laughed and pointed, some joined in on the Suzie bashing.
I called her immediately and asked her why she didn’t say anything. But she was too busy to talk but wanted to see me later. I allowed her to hang up the phone without so much of a protest.
It couldn’t have been any more than two hours later when she called me, crying profusely.
“Did you see what he put on my wall?” She asked. My heart dropped as I heard her. This cry was worse; it felt like the end of the world.
“No, let me look.” And look I did. I would be a cruel friend if I repeated what I saw on her page. But when I saw it, I cried but I did not dare let Suzie hear me. “Oh my god,” was all I could utter.
Suzie continued to cry, she couldn’t speak. I couldn’t speak. She just cried. After a few minutes, she hung up the phone without another word. I didn’t bother to call her back; I didn’t bother to visit. I just sat and watched the comments build and build underneath her ex-boyfriends post.
There is nothing that I regret more than hanging up the phone and not getting up and out of my chair to go and see Suzie because I received a call in the morning that she had taken her life. There were a few notes, notes addressed to me and her parents, and a few other people who I can’t mention.
She said to me, “Thank you for being a friend, I love you.”
I remember breaking down in tears as I had read it. What kind of friend was I who didn’t tell her what she should have done? If I could rewind time, we would have done things differently. We could have kept our social networking site to our little circle of friends because some friends do grow apart and wonder. We could have ignored the whole thing and gotten rid of those who caused us pain with their words. I could have hugged her more. And I could have been there for her. And I could have told her that no matter what they said about her and to her, she was beautiful.
I thought myself to be a connoisseur of being bullied. It was too bad that I couldn’t help one person important enough to me cope.
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