Bullying Memory #1: Felicia

by 11:22 PM 0 comments
I could not stop laughing at this shirt, not even long enough to take the photo.

I went to a pretty nice preschool in Tucson, from what I can remember. We had plenty of tricycles, we made a painting around the entire sidewalk to show how bit a whale was, and my teacher had met Rosa Parks at some point, which was cool. One thing that was not nice about my preschool was my "friend" Felicia*.  

I had a play-date with this girl, who had at least one older brother. First, her parents took us all mini-golfing: me, Felicia, her brother and his friend. That went well, and I got a prize. Then we went to their house for dinner. It was a pretty typical middle-class home, and Felicia and I were eating our chicken at a table while the rest of the family was watching TV on the couch, which was out of earshot. 

Felicia was a bossy girl, and I was compliant. Usually this resulted in mundane victories for her. She wanted to play Power Rangers? Not really my thing, but okay! She's Kimberly? Fine, I'm the Asian one. But that night, Felicia took her bossiness to the next level.

"Do you like this chicken?" She asked me. 
"Yes, it's good!" I answered innocently.
"My parents made it for us. Do you really like it?"
"Uh-huh!"
"If you really like it, you have to eat mine after I spit it out."

WHAT!? That would give me germs! That is yucky! I don't eat other people's chewed up food! 

"No, I don't want to!" I protested.
"But you have to if you think it's yummy," she said.
"I only think it's yummy when I eat it the first time!"
"If you don't eat my chewed-up chicken I'm going to tell my parents to take your prize away."
"But they wouldn't do that!"
"They would. They do whatever I want. I'll tell them you did something bad. I'll tell them you made ME eat chewed-up chicken."

In hindsight, this doesn't seem like quite the Catch-22 that it did at the time. But sitting at that dining table, I felt absolutely trapped into doing what she made me. So, crying, I watched her chew up some chicken, spit it out onto her plate. Then I picked up my fork, put it in my mouth, chewed it again, and swallowed. 

That feeling of being totally humiliated and dominated stuck with me. I must have slept over, because we had waffles in the morning, and her parents helped me cut mine. I never told them, or my own, what had happened. Luckily for me, her mom apparently sent me home crying at another time by telling me that millions of women were killing their babies and it was up to me and Felicia to stop them. That was the end of those playdates!

I wonder what made Felicia do that to me? Was she drawn to power, did she want to test my limits? Had her brother ever done that to her? How did she even come up with it? Regardless, I'm still really embarrassed that I ate that chicken. 

*Name not changed. Felicia, if you see this and you remember me, write me and we can figure things out!/Lolz

Marina Gafni

Marina Gafni is a 28-year-old speech pathology student. She lives with her husband in San Jose, CA.

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