Chapter 1:

Telling My Bully To Leave Me Alone

Help, This Magical Boy Outfit is Embarrassing Me

My name is Jun Botan and I am 16 years old. I am currently in my second year of high school and I think my life has gotten better than it used to be - at least kind of, if we take into consideration some major life-altering events that happened in the past month of June.

Before I entered high school, I used to be bullied a lot.
In middle school, I had a fake friend called Isas. He was my only friend and my only bully at the same time, and I had no other choice but to follow his orders and keep quiet because I felt lonely. I don't remember being overly weird around others; in fact, I did my best to hide my passion for certain kinds of anime that might be deemed as girly, but still, no other classmates wanted to spend time with me. I had no exchange of dialogue with them, not even a "good mornings" or "see you tomorrow" with the girls.

The other students in my class were terrible honestly. I don't really remember their names, but I know they didn't care about me a lot. They could clearly see that I was bullied, but they did nothing to stop it from happening.

Isas was a really tall guy. By most standards I was tall too, but still shorter than Isas. Thinking of it, it's normal that he was taller - after all, he was older than me and was forced to repeat 8th grade twice since he couldn't bother to study. 

He made fun of me and my tastes. I was that soft-spoken guy that admired Magical Girl anime, and he would always say with his terribly annoying voice "You like ×××××, huh?" and he would laugh out loud. I never felt angry at him for not understanding the appeal of Magical Girl shows, but what really infuriated me was his high-pitched laugh, which ironically enough, I believe was the one bullying-worthy.

It wasn't a normal type of laugh. Isas had a loud, sarcastic, painful type of laugh that sounded like a hyena sharing a joke and giving birth at the same time. There's no other way I can explain it. I couldn't get why he laughed that much. "I don't get why you're laughing. Couldn't be more of a jerk." I would say aggressively in my head while also guarding a poker face pretending to not feel pissed. There were times my annoyance would be visible, but that happened very rarely since I was taught from an early age that bullies want to see your reaction at all costs in order to gain any sort of satisfaction.

I think I have this special talent, pretending to be fine when in reality I want to go to someone and rant all day long. I guess I was sensitive since childhood, but as time went by, I learned how to be a master at bottling my emotions up.

I don't want to go into details about my bullying.

Isas made fun of my family, he stole my supplies and even though I did his homework everyday, he never thanked me.

He would gossip about me. Once, I told him I was talking with a girl on Facebaak and he told everyone that I was dating her and my parents had made plans for me to marry her in the near future. I mean, that's not a big deal, but I felt sad that he so easily exposed my secrets to others while adding shockingly detailed fabrications. What's worse is that people believed his lies.

I hated him a lot. I was sure I didn't do anything to hurt him.
"Then why was he bullying me?" That's a question that still echoes in my mind. Maybe he had family problems or had mental problems, but I was 100% sure that I was innocent. Maybe my innocence was the one to blame for making me a target of ridicule.

I know I am probably annoying you with my story so I'll cut it short - I decided to cut all ties with him. It was hard. I was hoping he would break up with me instead.

I tried being annoying and not talking at all. I tried being super boring and hoping he would find other friends (to bully, heh). But he would still follow me home and force me to hang out with him. Even though I didn't want to, my body would go out because of fear. I'd just go outside and buy him whatever snacks and drinks he wanted. Once, when I pretended to forget my money home, Isas wanted me to steal a large bag of chips. It seems like such a dumb thing to me now. But back then, I was terrified and did it. He still punched me in the end.

Isas was physically violent for no reason, but his words were doubtlessly the ones making the most damage. They would make me overthink for days or months depending on the intensity of the words and tone.

I really don't know how a coward like me found the courage to defend myself. It was a sunny day in June.

I was at the usual hairstylist. My black hair had grown too long.
The place was comprised of a small room with two big mirrors, one in the front and one in the back, and a transparent glass door that had a view on one of the busiest streets in town. A toilet could be found behind a big artificial plant pot.
As I was trying to avoid eye contact with my reflection on the mirror, I glanced outside the door.
He was out there. Tapping his foot. Waiting for me.
Isas didn't even say a word, but I felt the butterflies inside my stomach.

Nervous, I excused myself to the stylist, stood up, and got out. I could feel the stylist, a man in his 50s, staring at the back of my head and curiously checking what was going on.

Isas looked me in the eye and abruptly said: "Jun, you don't want to hang with me anymore, do you?"
I don't know how he realized that so late. I was quite scared, but I frankly replied "Yeah, you're right. I don't."

I listed all the reasons why I wanted to break up with him. I practiced saying those reasons in my head every day. I imagined talking with him the way I was talking at that moment.

He punched me in the chest. The stylist quickly came out and grabbed me by my arm.
"I will come again to discuss this properly some other time", Isas said.
"There will be no other time" I coldly told him while entering the hairstylist's again. My legs were shaking. I watched him slowly leaving.

That day, when I got home, I was so happy. My chest didn't even hurt that much.

"I finally did it!" I thought.
Standing up for myself wasn't that hard! I couldn't believe I let Isas bully me for so many years. I felt immensely proud of myself and went to sleep with thoughts of this important, life-changing decision that I made. Summer vacation had just started in the most perfect way imaginable.