They were laughing at me again.
The week before, it was my shoes. "Suzie Cruz has bowling shoes. She doesn't even care they're used. What's funny is, she thinks they're swell and doesn't know how bad they smell!" The laughter was deafening. I remember looking at the ground, blinking back the tears. I despised my dad for working at a bowling alley. I hated how he brought home old bowling shoes for us to wear. "Well, at least they don't have holes in the soles," he would say with a smile. But I felt like I had a hole in mine.
That particular week it was my hair. "Lice are crawling in Suzie's hair and probably in her underwear!" Again, the laughter exploded in my eardrums and I fought the urge to clamp my hands to the sides of my head. I couldn't let them know how much it bothered me. If I did, it would only get worse.
The one who started it all was Lisa Malone, the self-proclaimed most popular girl in school. It seemed Lisa's only goal in life was to make me miserable. She taunted me, called me names, even crossing the line to shoving once or twice. My own goal in life was to not let her get to me. Sometimes I succeeded in blocking her out. But the times when I failed and let Lisa get the best of me were the moments when she said nothing at all. Just laughed. The laughter was the worst. If I thought about it long enough, I could still hear that evil cackle echoing in my mind. I learned how to deal with the sarcasm, the cruel words, the "Suzie slogans" as she called them, even the pushing. But when she laughed at me, I felt the most humiliated. I just wanted to crawl in a hole and die.
I heard mom say the other day that laughter is the best medicine. Well, not the laughter I knew. It was more like that medicine my brother had to take when he swallowed all those baby asprin. What was it called? The one that makes you throw up. That's the kind of medicine laughter was to me.
But it was that simple phrase: "laughter is the best medicine" that sparked the plan about how I could make the laughter stop. Specifically, Lisa Malone's. I didn't think I could bear to hear her high pitched shrill one more time. So I followed my brother's example and swallowed a bottle full of baby asprin. As I listened to the voices chanting, "Lice are crawling in Suzies hair…", I wondered how long before the medicine kicked in. I imagined Lisa's face when I collapsed at her feet. I relished the thought of the guilt she would feel over killing me. Maybe she wouldn't laugh anymore when I was dead. At least, I wouldn't have to listen to her.
I was feeling nauseous. I remember thinking maybe it wasn't such a good idea to swallow those pills.
Then everything went dark.
The first face I saw when I opened my eyes was Lisa Malone's. She was staring at me, a look of horror frozen on her face. I found out later it was because I had just barfed all over her new shoes.
Nobody laughed at me again that year.
Looking back, I know what I did was wrong. I was young, stupid, and desperate. It's amazing the lengths one will go to when faced with cruelty and rejection. Even desiring death. But I have concluded that Lisa Malone was probably just as insecure as I was. She laughed to cover up her fears and turn the negative attention onto someone else.
I have since been born again and have accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. He has shown me that people can be terribly insensitive (especially preteen girls) and will disappoint you time and time again. God's love has cleansed me from my past hurts and has even taught me how to forgive. As evidence of my forgiveness, I even look Lisa in the eye and say hello when she slides my bowling shoes over the counter on Saturday nights.
"God blesses you who weep now, for the time will come when you will laugh with joy" (Luke 6:21b)NLT
"What sorrows await you who laugh carelessly, for your laughing will turn to mourning and sorrow." (Luke 6:25b)NLT