Breathe deep and easy, swallow this pride
Stare at my shaking hands through bone dry, blood shot eyes

The English lessons.

They were what made school life almost bearable. That in itself is laughable as that teacher was the bane of my life. But it helped that I could fight someone that would fight back and not just laugh. Someone I could answer back to and rile up until they snapped.

I won't mention names but through her I got a few allies. A few who wouldn't beat and spit at me because everyone laughed at her behind her back and I was the entertainment in that class. I sometimes wonder if that was why I made her life a living hell: to keep them off my back.

So I answered back, made rude comments, talked during lessons, locked the blinds in place so when she pulled them they wouldn't move, and laughed at her. I can now imagine how much she must have hated me because I saw a weakness in her and I seized it to keep myself safe. We stared at each other across the classroom whilst the rest of them watched us with bated breath. It was the only time I felt part of anything. I loved it.

She won a few of the rounds, but then I learned her reactions; she was predictable and I won them all. I was happiest when I was there; shining eyes and my pride ready for battle. To be put down by one's own is acceptable, to be put down by others is not. Not in school life.

So we sparred, verbally and mentally. One time when she was standing over me I was sure she would hit me. But I refused to stand, to spring back, to get out of the way. If she had then I wouldn't have reacted along with the rest of class. I wouldn't have stood, I wouldn't have shouted. Only smirked. Because she would have given me even more power over her.

But she didn't. Even she wasn't that stupid.

In the end I think she got fired. Not long after I had left was when she snapped. Maybe that was what we were doing. Holding each other together through hate. Though I never thought of it like that when I was there.

I never thought of it as a love-hate relationship. If I had we would both have broken a lot sooner.

I guess it says something about my pride that I allowed myself to break first.

I'm proud of that.