After our evening class today a bunch of my classmates went for a few drinks. Nothing unusual about that. I had an interview for a story and had to stay in work mode a little longer than they did. Nothing unusual about that either. I stuck my head into the university pub and couldn’t find them, so I texted a few people to find out where they might be. Two of them got back to me in minutes.
“We’re at Temps Perdu,” texted one of the guys in the group. “Come on!”
As if the two of them actually cared about my being there.
I almost got emotional right there in the Atrium of the university.
I am a severe bullying survivor. From the age of 7 to the age of 15, almost no one my age wanted anything to do with me. In so many ways, I was just too strange. I latched on to anyone who tolerated my presence. There were a handful of those. For some of them, that tolerance was benign, if a little exasperated at times. On at least one occasion, I was invited to a Halloween party by the host’s mother. For others, it came with a price– physical violence, emotional blackmail, public humiliation, taking punishment for something someone else had done, so on and so forth.
Certainly no one ever text messaged me to invite me out, and told me “Come on!”
Of course, it happened a few times during the latter half of high school–the first few times, I was quite beside myself. And it happened in undergrad. With Devan and Melissa, with Jonas, with my rarely separated journalism pod of Cameron, Mbonisi, Jean-Sébastien and Eugène.
But after being the outcast of a community, receiving confirmation that people accept you, that people actually sincerely value your company, never gets old and quite possibly never becomes fully believable. It might be banal for those who have always been the life of the party, but for me it was just like an early Christmas present.
“Come on!” …