Every insult cut through me like a knife, and for every cameraphone I had pointed in my face the pain was amplified a thousand times. I felt like the pain, both emotional and physical, drove me closer and closer to just losing it. But I could get angry, and I couldn't fight back, because that's exactly what the bullies want - it would only entertain them, and make them want to bother me even more.
Every morning I walked to school thinking This is a new day. If I can just ignore them when they try to annoy me, then they'll soon get bored and run out of ammunition. As long as make it look like they're bullying isn't bothering me, then they'll realise it's futile, and they'll stop.
And yet, every afternoon, after days that seemed to be getting longer and longer as the bullying continued, I'd skulk home, wishing that I'd had the nerve to stay strong through the pain. Of course it wasn't my fault that they were picking on me, but if I could only not let it get to me, just once, just one day... Then they'd quit it and leave me alone.
But I'm not strong enough for that.
As I tried to stem the flow of tears that had surfaced in my eyes, I heard the one sentence, the one phrase that was all too common around school... The one sentence that made my insides freeze with anger and self-pity:
'Oh, look! It's Fat Franklyn!'
Ignoring the shouts, I picked up the pace, desperate to just get home and end this horrible day. Just another day I wish I didn't have to live through. However, despite trying to ignore it, the shouts continued.
'Fat Franklyn! Can't you hear me?!'
They seemed to be getting closer, and that voice was definitely different to the one that had spoken before. Turning around, I saw that there were four boys, two of whom I recognised from my English class. They noticed me turning to look at them, so I quickly snapped my head back to look in front of me, and once again picked up the pace.
'We know you can hear us, Fat Franklyn! We just wanna talk!'
As I walked, I felt tiny droplets of rainwater splashed against my head and my shoulders. The rain slowly became heavier, until the sound of it was all I could hear above the pulsing of blood in my ears. However, the rain did not drown out the shouts of hate, which had now begun to chant:
'Fat Franklyn! Fat Franklyn! Fat Franklyn!'
The words echoed in my mind, and I tried desperately to block them out, but it was no use. I came to a stop, and heard the voices, still chanting, coming closer and closer. It really irritated me to hear them calling me Franklyn. My full name was actually Frank, and that's what I liked to be called. Frank, not Franklyn.
The voices were right behind me now, and I frowned every time I heard the unholy '-lyn' at the end of my name. I listened until I could stand it no more.
Spinning around, I screamed at the top of my voice:
'My name is Frank!'
There was a pause, and I instantly regretted losing my temper like that. A fist flew out from nowhere, connecting with my cheek, and marking the first act of real violence towards me in the three years of my victimisation.