When I was growing up I always wanted to be that girl. The nice, quiet one that everyone was friends with. The one that if anyone picked on everyone else would come running to her aid because she was too nice for that kind of playground bullying.

Needless to say, I wasn't.

Between rounds of having my head slammed into playground equipment, my stomach pummeled and my arm twisted I would sit quietly and watch these girls. Small smiles always graced their lips, usually long hair with curls at the ends draped across their backs. Their pencils were usually twirling as they wrote, with big loopy letters, notes to their friends. I saddled up to these girls hoping for more than friendship, hoping that some of their niceness would rub off on me.

I recall one year thinking that if I didn't speak nothing bad would happen. No one could accuse me of being mean. Teachers wouldn't mistake me for the bully and punish me instead of my attackers. This lasted for all of a half a day, the teacher sent me to the principal's office for refusing to speak.

I was surprised years later with mixed reviews of my younger self. Some described me as a bully. Me. The one who couldn't walk home from school without getting beaten to a pulp. Others described me as a goody-goody, because I read books and did my homework.

I tell you, there's just no justice when you're growing up.

It was quite a surprise to me this morning to hear the words of a girl who was a few years behind me in school. A girl I remember vaguely, enough to have pulled her name out of the air, but don't recall having ever hung out with. In a conversation with my mother she said this:

"I always liked scribe. I hated E. Russell Hicks. Everyone there was so mean. But then I'd see scribe in the hall and it would brighten my day. She was always nice to me. She always smiled at me. I don't think I could have gotten through that place without her."