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I Did Nothing But Watch
This a a true account from a girl who at one time befriended a boy who lived in an orphanage. I met Billy in 1st grade and we went through the ranks of the public school system in South Carolina. He was a quiet boy but as cute as he could be with big brown eyes and brown hair.
My earliest memory of him was seeing him sit alone in the cafeteria at lunch time as was the case during recess. After school he had no mother picking him up.
By the time we entered 3rd grade he was a target for every bully there was. At the time I literally protected him. He was so very polite and when my parents finally met him they came close to adopting him.
I was the oldest of three girls so more kids in the house wasn't in the cards but my parents would pick him up on occasion and bring him over. He was just happy to be around a family. He loved helping my dad in the yard.
I always thought I was a good person but as I grew up I became self centered and I soon forgot about the little boy who had become my very good friend. I ended up being a very pretty and popular girl.
My dad ended up making a very good living so we had a big house and cars and all sorts of materialistic things. As we entered junior high I began to catch some grief for being friends with him and it didn't take long for me to start shutting him out of my life.
Billy existed in a world that many will never know. The orphanage he lived in was far different then what you have now. It was so institutional. Almost prison like. He never complained... even when he was wearing used worn out clothes.
The non-stop taunting he endured in grade school became violent as we entered junior high. Whereas at one time I would get him away from a bad situation I now turned my back on him and soon would do something far worse.
One of the last times he attempted to speak to me was around Thanksgiving 1978. I had been ignoring him for months which in turn caused even more people to harass him. Every week he was pushed down, kicked or just verbally abused and I stood back and did nothing.
He gave up trying to talk to me as my family had shut him out too as I lied about him to them, said he was a drug addict which was so untrue and made up so many stories that I can't even remember. Anything to keep him away as I had my all important social life. The empty look he now carried on his face was my doing but I didn't care.
Right before the Christmas Holidays of the same year I heard a knock on the door and I heard my mom answer it. It was Billy and he had a Christmas Card for me. She came to get me and I know he heard me say "tell him I'm not here"... Mom told me later that he in fact had heard me and his eyes filled with tears as he stood there.
I looked out the window as he walked away. I knew what I was doing was wrong as the brown eyed boy walked off but I was consumed in my own selfish world.
Several days later school would be out for two weeks as the holidays were here. I had made jokes that Billy had tried to give me a Christmas card having no idea what that statement would turn into.
I was walking to the parking lot where I heard a lot of commotion. Billy was surrounded by several much bigger boys... His shirt was ripped almost off his body. His lip was bleeding, his cheeks were bruised. The crowd was laughing and egging it on. "what a dork...you gave her a Christmas Card...SHE HATES YOU >>FU$%ING CREEP" My heart sank as I had told everybody about it.
He was so bruised up and he truly looked petrified. I stood there and did nothing as he was brutalized. I don't know who did it but a soda bottle shattered against his head as he fell face first to the parking lot. Blood poured from his nose as they kicked him several times in the face and stomach. His thick brown hair was covered in blood from the gash the bottle left... His cries for help wake me even now from my sleep. I stood by and did nothing.
I'll never forget the look on his face as he rolled over and those big brown eyes made contact with mine. He looked to be in shock as his faint voice said "why was i ever born" sobbing as he spoke...
A piece of me died right then as I had watched for years now as this sweet gentle boy was beaten to a pulp and all at once my self consuming life ended as I had so let him down.
One by one everyone walked away as I attempted to help him up. He never looked at me nor said a word. He limped off never looking back.
I walked behind him begging him to stop but I was as guilty as everyone for what they did to him. I realized that Billy was just alone. He had no one...
Christmas 1978 will be one to remember... An unmarked police car pulled into the driveway as my father walked rather fast to the door as the bell rang.
We listened from behind the wall and I can repeat verbatim what was said. "Sorry to bother you sir and no one here is in any trouble but do you know this young man?" He had Billy's school ID and the bottom line was they had found my address in his jacket pocket and were trying to find his next of kin.
Of course there were no next of kin and after much prodding by my father and Billy being an orphan he said "This young man was found dead in the park a few blocks from here... it was a suicide:
Billy had hung himself and he left a note saying he was just tired of being hated. My dad went down to identify the body. Dad passed away a few years ago and he too carried the guilt that I do.
There was no real funeral. My family and a few people from the orphanage and the principal of the school... 9 people paid their respects as he is buried in a grave with a small headstone... It's like he never existed.
I am 47 now and I believe in God. I deserve his wrath... I have talked to my pastor about this and he says God will forgive me... I don't deserve to be forgiven.
I hope it was ok to share this. I don't have any children but I felt this should be told... Doing nothing cost this boy his life...