Today I saw a girl being bullied.

I wasn’t there to stop it when it happened — bully stuck her bag in a place she couldn’t reach and there wasn’t many people around so nobody really could help her or stop the act.

She came to me and in a common language asked if I could help her get it back, since I’m taller. When I got grip of the situation, I felt just like being back in school. Same friendly smile on a bully’s face, same excusing smile on a bullied face. Childish reasoning and childish resistance to interference from other people. The usual situation with the biggest and strongest against weak. Except there were factors I didn’t saw in my school — this is all in a foreign country, and we’re all a flock from various countries and cultures. And the bullying person is from the first-world country, quite rich with culture, money and history. All the more typical, isn’t it?

When I responded to help the girl, bully didn’t allow me. What a surprise. I didn’t confront him — I haven’t seen people behave like that for more than 8 years, especially of legal age, so I didn’t know how to interact. So we waited — not long after bully joined few people nearby and submerged himself in a ‘friendly’ discussion he created to insert toxic jokes. I wonder what kind of environment rewards that kind of behavior, and how?

So path became clear and the backpack got saved – except it got dirty and very dusty. I’m nostalgic as I see it – girl takes it from me and says thanks, then notes the dirt and hurries away to clean it. I’m nostalgic because this dirtied backpack is another object of hurt — maybe it hurt me more than it hurt its owner, I cannot say — symbolizing the collateral damage somebody caused without caring or noting; either being ignorant of other’s feelings or simply clueless of the consequences of own’s stupid actions. Anyway, that backpack and that human got me down a little. There was a positive side — the bag was returned, and after all my negative hunch about a person suddenly got a basis (can’t say I’m happy about it).

I’m not sure now if I can handle that kind of situations and interrupt them midway – but I do have a lot more resolve to do so in the future.