Who’s Laughing Now?
*inspired by Who’s Laughing Now? (video below)
The woman was plump, had a face full of wrinkles and looked beyond dowdy in her washed out yoga pants and oversized T-shirt. She stood shaking her head in frustration as her children raced up and down the grocery aisle. It was obvious that she wanted to crucify them but she seemed too tired to deal with them as they screamed and darted around people’s grocery carts.
Something about her felt familiar and I wondered from where I knew her. As I continued to scan the shelf for what I needed for the weekend, I eliminated the possibilities. She wasn’t from my university days, past jobs or from elementary school where everyone knew each other. High school was the only feasible place left and I immediately knew who she was – Eva the bully.
Eva was an older girl who had bullied me when I first started high school. She was in the graduating class and had taken a “liking” to me, taunting me in the meanest ways possible on the bus and whenever our paths would cross in the school hallways. I was her perfect target – young fresh meat, four years younger than her and one out of the handful of Black kids in the entire school. Her insults always focused my “blackness” – how ugly and Medusa-like my braids were, how my skin was brown like a monkey and anything else that came to her nasty little mind. Eva was a class act with her promises to beat me up if I opened my mouth and told on her. Yes, she was a first class mean girl who had a good laugh at my expense.
But even at that age, I knew better than to give her what she wanted – the satisfaction of scaring me, even if I was on the inside. But when pretending not to care only aggravated her more, she doubled up on her efforts and I had no choice to get the family involved. I couldn’t live on pins and needles until she graduated. She was already as dumb as a doorknob – what if she failed and had to repeat her grade…what would happen then?
I must have been deep in thought and staring at her while I took that 30 year trip down memory lane because I found her staring curiously right back at me.
“Do we know each other?” Eva had the nerve to smile and it irked the shit out of me.
I was about to shake my head with a “no” and simply go about my business but when one of her kids crashed into me and kept running, it ignited a fire in the pit of my stomach. I found myself approaching her.
“I’m sure that you won’t remember me but I definitely remember you. You’re Eva, right?” I smiled.
“Yeah, I am. How do we know each other?”
I couldn’t help but smile even wider.
“You were the racist bitch that bullied me in my first year of high school. It’s hard to forget a face as ugly as yours.”
Eva’s face quickly changed from a smile to shock. From her wide eyes, she was confused at how the words coming out of my words were not corresponding with the smile plastered on my face. She opened her mouth but couldn’t form a full sentence.
“I said that you were the racist bitch that bullied me in my first year of high school,” I repeated a little louder, attracting the attention of a young couple standing nearby.
She tried to recognize my face from all those years ago, probably flashing back to what and who she had been back then and maybe to what and who she still was.
“You were nothing less than a monster but from the looks of it, you’re living a nightmare of your own. And you definitely deserve it. You reap what you sow.”
I pointed to her kids spitting out f* bombs at each other like they were candy, fighting over something from the shelf down the aisle. I didn’t give a flying fig that the couple watching were fully fascinated by my words and were looking at Eva in disgust.
I gave Eva my back and returned to where I had left my cart a few steps away, feeling her eyes on me the entire time. From the corner of my eye, I could see her standing motionless, unsure of what to do and looking extremely embarrassed. I finished taking down what I needed and glanced back at her.
“Have yourself a wonderful day Eva,” I told her and walked away to the cashier.
No, it’s not true that I walked away.
I strutted my way down the grocery aisle, my stride overflowing with satisfaction.
You know what they say, he who laughs last, laughs best…
All Rights Reserved©2016 Marquessa Matthews.
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