I grew up in Southeastern Europe, in a place I loved up until one point. Then, the war broke out in the area and all hell broke loose.
In a couple of years span, my life transformed from a perfect childhood to a “twilight zone”. Not only was I in puberty, but my parents were getting divorced and the society around me spin out of control. No one had time or energy to worry about the kids. The street mentality took over in my school.
I became a favorite victim of a group of bullies and every day at school was a nightmare. This was 6th grade so it wasn’t really a “gang” and none of the teachers took it seriously. The “kids” were suffering so they acted out, that was their thinking. To me, they were senseless monsters and I did not know how to fight back. I was sexually abused, but not raped. But in my mind, I was raped because I was so humiliated. And I thought it was my fault.
One of the main bullies had a nickname that translates to “the Devil”. I am not making this stuff up. One of the most horrifying moments for me was seeing the school psychologist, who I had been talking to and who was supposed to be on my side trying to help me (but who I urged not to tell my parents what was happening because I would kill myself if they found out) talking to the Devil in the school yard. He said something, she laughed. She was making very loving gestures toward him. She found him CHARMING and AMUSING! The Devil!! That monster that made me learn what hate feels like!!
I lost all hope in adults. I continued to deal with it on my own. Dance was my escape.
A few years later, I sunk into a major depression. The war was still raging. I still had to see the same people in my neighborhood, although they didn’t bother me any longer. Before, I had to have my friends check the area was clear before I could walk down the street just to get to school. Now I was passing by them pretending I didn’t even see them there. But the “leaders” I really didn’t see around. Fortunately.
I decided to go abroad and escape from all the troubles. That saved me. Because, somehow, I never lost faith in my own humanity. I always subconsciously felt that I was better than them. And I felt reassured once I realized that in normal societies, different rules applied. Kindness was regarded as a virtue, not a weakness or stupidity. Rudeness was not tolerated at all.
I visited my family frequently, and I have had two encounters with my torturers.
One of them ended up as a cab driver. I hailed a taxi, and it was him. He recognized me in the rear-view mirror and only then I noticed him. Ten years have gone by, I was so over that horrible past! I was very happy with my life and I felt no hate towards him, just forgiveness and pity. He started apologizing to me, telling me he was a kid and that now he already had two children (!)and that he has changed. It’s ok, I said. I live far away from all of this anyway and I DON’T CARE. I was so above the whole situation. We get to the destination and he says that it’s on him. No, please, no way, I say. I leave him double the amount and I exit the car. It felt so good!!! I ended that chapter of my life finally, I thought.
A few years later, I met the Devil.
I was driving my dad’s car and I stopped for some pedestrians to cross. It was him. He looked straight at me (probably to make sure he could cross) and when I realized it was him, my whole body went numb. I don’t know how long that moment lasted, but it felt like he was standing there for a long time. I kept thinking “Will he move already? Did he recognize me? What will he do next? Where do I run?” But his face was cold and his eyes just evil.
The daze ended and I managed to drive off. The whole day I had that feeling of being someone’s prey. It was an awful feeling that I never wanted to feel again.
I still don’t know if he had recognized me that day, but I can recall that moment vividly anytime.
The Devil is a psychopath. I know that now.
I have had two or three more psychopaths in my life.
One is a cousin of mine, one is an ex-friend and the third is my dad’s wife.
The evil stepmother, I know. Such a cliche. Again, I am not making this up, if I did it would be too cheesy. She is a true psychopath. My father does not speak to my grandma (his mom), my sister (his daughter) and does not have any friends left. Because of her.
But that is a long story and I will tell it some other time.