© 2007 Christopher Vened Szwaja
(Christopher Vened Szwaja)
In the fifth grade, a group of children from the neighboring village joined our class. They were to continue their studies at our school because in their village the school only went through the fourth grade.
One of the boys from that group had an unnaturally large head. The rumor was that it was due to a some kind of syndrome such as water on the brain, but no one really knew for sure, for the medical diagnoses about these kind of syndromes were not so precise at that time, that time being the mid-sixties. However, the boy was noticeably slow and heavy minded, one might have thought that he was retarded.
His nickname was Globus, obviously due to the hugeness of his head. However, in shape his head was rather more like a huge egg than a globe. It was abnormally elongated backward and looked surreal, like the egg-shaped people from a Salvador Dali painting.
Once in history class I was sitting directly behind Globus when the teacher called on him to hear his lesson. Globus stood up reluctantly, and the teacher started to ask him questions but Globus was, as usual, not ready to answer. He just stood there silent as a mute and cast his eyes down as if he were either humiliated or resentful or both.
I felt sorry for him, for he was a moron but it didn’t seem to be his fault but, who knows whose, probably God’s or nature’s.
So I took pity on him and prompted him, whispering the answers behind his back. He heard me perfectly well and repeated aloud after me word for word. The teacher was impressed with his knowledge and gave him a very good grade.
After the class was over, however, Globus attacked me furiously on the school playground. It came from nowhere. Suddenly I saw him at a distance of twenty five to thirty yards emerging from a crowd of pupils and running aggressively toward me. He looked mad as hell. He was clenching his fists and shaking them threateningly; and he was screaming and roaring as a beast.
“O boy,” I thought, “he doesn’t look grateful for my help.” His intention was evident; he wanted to kill me, or at least to beat me up.
Before I fully realized what was happening, Globus charged at me with an enormous force and struck a powerful blow at my face. Luckily, his movement was predictably signaled in his fury, so I dodged at the last moment and evaded his blow.
The force of his impetus was so strong but wildly out of control that he was carried a few steps past me and almost fell on the ground.
This only enraged him more, so he turned around and charged at me again, punching and kicking furiously. I managed to block or avoid almost all of his blows because I was faster than he. Yet he was going at me relentlessly, and I had no chance to stand up to him because he was bigger and seemed to be stronger than me. At least I thought he was stronger because he was one or two years older than me, even though we were in the same grade.
So I was in big trouble and don’t know how it would have ended, if Staszek, the seventh grader who used to live on my street, did not come to my defense and literally kick Globus’ ass.
Staszek saved me then and he protected me against Globus attacking me repeatedly later on, for Globus became my relentless enemy, and he attacked me whenever he felt like it and had the occasion. He used to push me when I passed by, or kick me unexpectedly from behind, or block my way trying to pick a fight.
I had to be in a constant state of alert to watch my back and avoid Globus, or to keep close to Staszek, my protector. Globus would not dare to attack me in Staszek’s presence.
Unfortunately, Staszek graduated from school that year and when I proceeded to the sixth grade class, I had to cope with Globus’ hostility on my own.
Fortunately, Globus did not pass to the sixth grate; so he was not in my class any more and I did not have to deal with him on a daily basis. Initially, I thought that I had him off my back for good but it proved not to be so. He still was in the school repeating the fifth grade, and though his and my classrooms were located in different wings of the building, and our paths did not have to cross, he made an effort on many occasions to find me either on the playground or in the front of the main gate and to harass me.
I don’t know why Globus hated me so much. He never told me. I guess he didn’t know himself. His hate was not rationally motivated but came from his guts. Whenever he saw me or even thought about me, he was getting madly stirred up with hate and anger, and then he was compelled by only one desire: to beat me up. For what? I guess, in his view, I was guilty for his shortcomings. I was for him as a distorting mirror in which he saw only his own mental deficiencies. So he wanted to smash that mirror.
On my part, I did not hate him. I was above that. I was not able to hate that miserable creature but rather felt a sort of embarrassment that someone low like he hated me so much. I wanted him to like me and admire me for my mental superiority. But instead, I had to feel ashamed that I was smarter than he was or rather, because he was dumber than me. Life is not just, people are not equally endowed in the same qualities. I was smarter and Globus was stronger. But he was not able or willing to come to terms with it. And he kept attacking me, and I kept running away to save my ass. It went on like this for about a year. But then I had enough of running. It was not good for my morale, and even worse I appeared as a coward and was losing popularity among friends.
So one time I stood up to Globus when he attacked me at the main school gate. He barred my way and pushed me, not letting me pass through. But I pushed him back and we started to fight.
The boys immediately flocked around in a crowded circle and instigated us to fight. Globus threw a punch at me but I blocked it and punched him back. Wow, he became furious and struck me with a series of wild punches. But I stood up to him punching him back. My punches were more precise and effective than his.
So he grew frustrated and grabbed me, and we started to wrestle. In one move, I tripped him up and took him down, nailing him to the ground that was, as it happened, covered in horse shit that was dissolving in water as the ice melted in the early spring sun.
“Wow!” the watching boys shouted with disappointment, surprised at seeing Globus going down. “Stand up Globus, stand up!” they kept rooting for him, for they still could not believe or didn’t want to believe that he was going to lose the fight.
I heard a single voice saying, “When Globus stands up he is going to kill him.” But he was not able to get up, I held him firm rolling and smearing him in the horse shit. I felt him grow weaker in my grip and it became easier for me to keep him down. My only concern was not to smear myself in the horseshit, so I made sure not to touch the ground.
I could have ended the fight at any moment, forcing Globus to consent defeat, but I was not sure how the crowed of somehow hostile boys to me would have reacted. So I kept Globus nailed to the ground, sort of half alive, and was planning my further strategy.
At a certain moment the crowd of boys grew quiet and the circle opened up on one side, letting someone who was approaching to get inside.
I looked up and there was my father standing above me. Globus spotted him too and stopped struggling.
“Let him go,” my father said to me.
So I let Globus go and we both stood up.
“Come with me, both of you, to the principal’s office,” my father said, indicating the direction with the sparse gesture of his pointing finger.
So we went walking in front of him.
My father brought us to the principal and told her, “They were fighting.”
The principal first asked Globus, “Why have you been fighting?”
Globus cast his eyes down and said nothing.
Then she asked me the same question. I also said nothing, avoiding her eyes.
There was a moment of long silence, then the principle gave up on us and let us go. “Go now,” she said and maybe she also said, “And don’t fight anymore.”
But I am not certain that she said that or something else or nothing else at all. Perhaps I did not pay attention to her words because I was happy that she let us off the hook. Eager to get lost, Globus and I immediately left the principal’s office.
Since that time, I had no more problems with Globus. He never attacked me or crossed my way again.
However, my fights with boys had only just begun.