Or the traumatic sadness of seeing people react after my best friend's death.
Art: Ritusri Halambi
Army Public School, I was a small boy,
Friends with a big kid.
We were in eighth grade, of the same age,
But he looked elder, cos of his thickness.
The barbarians of the class called him a fatass,
Why? Simply cos he was a fatass!
Back then, we didn't know what's it like to body shame,
And maybe now years later as adults, we know the meaning of body shaming,
But deep inside we still judge people and their bodies.
This maturity and knowledge, all fake.
But my fat friend never saw adulthood,
In fact, I don't know what he saw last.
But calm down, it's not the intense bullying that killed him,
Or pushed him to suicide-- nah, that's a pass.
He died like Princess Diana, he died like Paul Walker,
In a traffic collision.
His parents were in the car too,
but they survived,
Death specifically took his fat ass from his car seat, with finesse and precision.
I went to school,
I got the news,
I felt like crying but my eyes were frozen,
No drops of dew.
But then I witnessed a metamorphosis,
Human classmates changing into crocodiles.
Shedding crocodile tears of sympathy and pity,
And just cos I wasn't crying, they said I'm stonecold and vile.
I didn't cry for I didn't know how to react.
I was too shocked.
I didn't know death, except killing mosquitoes, and flies.
And it just awed me to see fatass's acquaintances turn into friends,
And talk about "good memories" but I knew they were uttering bad lies.
Fatass liked a girl. A cliche plot point.
He could never tell her his feelings before he died. Another cliche.
So, now I told her what he really felt.
Her face told me that she wanted to say "ugh" and "eww",
But all she said was "oh, okay."
Everyone wanted to eat some footage,
The class nerd was in the morning assembly,
Saying that fatass was a good student, a good human, a good friend.
While I just cringed a little from inside.
Nah, I actually cringed a lot,
For this was the same person who called my dead best friend fatass, dumbass, and asshole.
This pseudo-sympathy knew no end.
Better than these were the other kids who rejoiced that
The school was about to give them a chutti, a day off.
They were happy that a boy died, and they can go home to play GTA San Andreas, but at least they showed their real selves,
Unlike these child actors, with their fake feelings, to whom I just wanted to say fuck off, fake off (...no pun intended).
This wasn't a traumatic experience.
I'm privileged that way, my childhood had a lot of drama but lesser trauma,
But this trauma facing fatass's death was largely unworded
For I didn't know how to express it.
In many ways, his death's aftermath taught me a lesson of facing this big, bad world,
Where people garner fake feelings inside and don't supress it.
And to this day, I tend to question people, question their intentions,
Question their smiles, question their tears,
Question their issues,
Question their fears.
For kids and crocodiles are smart enough,
Multitasking, ready to take pity and ready to harass,
Ready to wet their eyes and call a boy an angel,
Ready to call him...a fatass...