The Locker Room

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There was a time when I loved gym time, being outside playing games and exercising.  However, that started to change in about grade 3.  When we had to start to change for gym time.  The girls were all in the locker room, and were told to change into our gym clothes.  I had gotten so excited about gym that I rushed into the change room got half way dressed again and ran out into the gym.  The kids all laughed at me.  My teacher rushed up to me.  “Aime you are in your undershirt, go put on your gym shirt you have to wear.”  I felt my face get all hot and I cried.  Running back into the locker room, I put on my gym shirt and re-joined my class-mates.  However, I never expected to experience what I did in grade seven.

In grade seven I enjoyed music a lot, and had fun.  Even though I was laughed and made fun of for doing things right in class and playing the clarinet well.  I felt like I couldn’t win.  My teacher did her best to encourage me to keep going.  All the teachers did really.  Even though I still struggled in the core subjects, and now with history and science I had to concentrate even more to get my homework done.

My teachers even chose me to attend something called “Math Olympics”.  Where kids from all over the city went to do math questions and problem solving all day.  I liked being out of school for the day I was away from the bullies, but I didn’t like doing math all day!  My brain was so full, confused, and tired when done.  The group I was with were all smarter than I was, I still felt dumb and stupid.  Maybe I was, as my peers were calling me that every day at school.

“Aime, I have selected you and a couple others to attend Honour Band at the high school here in town.  You and your classmates are going to represent our school in the city-wide concert band for grade 7’s and 8’s.  You will have 4 weeks to learn and perform the music presented to you from the high school music director.”  Mrs. B said to me one day after school.  I was so excited!  I almost ran home to tell my parents.

“Mum!  I get to go to the high school and do Honour Band!  I get to learn new music with other kids from all over the city and perform for you as well!  There is only myself and 2 others going from our school!”  I was jumping up and down smiling ear to ear.

“That’s great Aime!  Happy for you!”  My Mum hugged me.

I silently wished I had the same happy feelings in the other classes I attended in grade 7.  I did enjoy gym, but I was always picked last, called loser, and retarded by the kids.  My gym teacher did her best to help me.  And she sure did one day.

It was time to get changed into our gym clothes.  I walked into the locker room the walls were cream coloured, the shelves and hooks were light brown, almost golden in colour.  I sat on the bench changing my shorts.  They were black.  Because I had been held back a year in grade 3 I was a bit more physically developed than some of the girls in grade seven, and even a few of the girls in grade eight. 

“Hey Aime!  Aime!  Hey loser!”  I did my best to ignore the taunts from the girls in grade 8.  Then I felt hands on my back, that dug into and around my bra strap.  I was pulled into the center of the room, and spun around.  I couldn’t see who was behind me, and I was going so fast that I couldn’t focus on anything.  I knew who it was by the voice though.  It was one of the girls in grade 8, she was cackling her crazy laugh that she had and called out ‘loser’ as she flung me around.  Finally, she stopped.  I though went flying into a locker.  I could gain my balance a bit but I was so disorientated I didn’t know who I was beside when I stopped.  Hot steamy tears burning down my face.  I didn’t know who I could trust and I was scared, all the girls were laughing. 

“What is going on in here?”  the gym teacher came into the locker room and stared at me first as I was closer to the door.  “What happened?”  The teacher looked at me again but I didn’t know what to say, as I was scared to be laughed at more, and teased more for telling on them.  “Out, now!”  The gym teacher pointed her arm towards the door and the rest of the girls filed out. 

Still trying to catch my breath, and find my feet the gym teacher came over to me.  “Aime, are you okay?”  She had care and compassion in her eyes. 

I slowly nodded yes.  I walked out of the locker room.  The gym teacher looked at me again as I walked past her.  I’m sure she knew what had happened to some degree, but not the full story.

From that day on when it was gym I changed in the girl’s bathroom which was not attached to the locker room.

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