Posted by Donna Rowe on March 25, 1998 at 22:52:50:
When I was 12, I went to grade school with two girls named Betty and Virginia. Betty bullied Virginia relentlessly, for what I don't really know. Virginia was gangly, plain and slightly mentally handicapped. I think Betty harassed her for those reasons. I remember one time I passed by the playground and a circle of students were gathered. Inside that circle Betty was hitting Virginia. Virginia was not fighting back. Instead of going to Virginia's assistance, I just walked away. I hate confrontations, always have, so I chickened out. I knew the right thing to do, but I didn't do it. For years I hated even the name "Betty," until I realized it wasn't reallly Betty who was the source of my anger, but me. I projected my anger at myself onto her. Betty had said a few insulting things about me behind my back, as well, but I found it much easier to forgive her for that than for her treatment of Virginia. How does one deal with the guilt of a road not taken? I saw a picture of Virginia with her mother in the paper a couple of years ago and her eyes looked so sad. She looked as if life had beaten her down, and I contributed to that by my cowardice. How can I set things right and is it even possible?