Ruth Ridgeway

I see you, from a distance so far I can never reach back to you, no matter how much I long to.

I see you standing there in a classroom, changing for PE, your pants being pulled down while they all laugh.

I see you, in that same classroom, being punched in the arm repeatedly.

I see you standing at the bus stop on your way home from school, trying to pretend like you don't care, trying to hold back the tears as she threatens to hit you while laughing at the joke I don't see.

I see you walking home, just a few feet from your front door having been punched again, for 'fun', finally losing it as you fight back with all the fists you could throw.

I can't turn back the clock and protect you - and oh please believe me, if I could, I would, I truly would - or even tell you why, why they threw so many punches your way.

I even see why for so long you let others throw punches, although not always physical, as it's all you knew.

I promise you, while I can't save you from the pain that's been, it won't be in vain. You bore the lesson for me, and I promise you - for both of us - I'll never take another.