I could see them, standing around her, laughing.
She was laughing too.
I watched her trying to get them to NOT do it.
She was trying to be a good sport, but, they just couldn’t let her alone.
They did it.
They pulled off her wig… her wig.
Her hands shot up to her hair as she tried to straighten it.
She continued to be a good sport.
She was asking, nicely, for them to give it back.
She was asking nicely.
I raced over to her side of the playground and I screamed at that boy!
‘You give that back to her right now!’
Faces of laughing boys, ill affected by my reprimand, taunting me to chase them.
And chase them I did.
I ran and ran all over that playground trying to catch them.
I had to run, I had to get it.
It was MY job to get it for her… although she never asked, even once.
I could not catch him.
He was bigger and older and faster.
I felt defeated when he threw the wig back at me, discarded it, like he didn’t want it in the first place.
The bullies walked away, patting themselves on the back for a job well done.
I turned to find her and then I saw her brave face.
It took my breath away.
As she replaced the wig onto her head, she told me to get back to my end of the playground.
There was no discussion.
There was no praise.
Just a stoic sadness as she walked away.
Did I make it worse?
Why did I feel I needed to interfere?
What is worse, being bullied or being bullied while the younger sibling tries to protect you?
Oh, god, she must have been so embarrassed.
I must have made it worse.
If I did, she never, ever said.