To get home from school, I had to walk past the bus stop where the girls from the girls' school waited for their bus home. Every day I slowed my pace as I approached, hoping the bus would beat me to the stop and my route would be free from the trolls. But the bus was never on time, so I had to run the gauntlet, face my fears. Why didn't I cross the road I hear you think, well the girls on my side of the road were heading out to Wenvoe and were angels compared to the girls heading into the murky, underworld of Cadoxton on the other side of the street. Why didn't you tell someone, I hear you wonder. Well, it was tough for a fourteen-year-old boy in 1985 to admit to being bullied by boys let alone by girls. I did tell my mum and one teacher but they told me to toughen up, I was meant to be a big tough rugby lad, but a rugby field is one thing, brute force wins the day; you can’t use violence on girls who are calling you names, pushing you from pillar to post and on the worst days, pinching your bum. It was no wonder I had a loyalty card for detention. I used to do anything to get on the bad side of Mr. Daniels, or Miss Holmes, but more often than not they'd just give me a good ticking off and send me out to face the devils in Bryn Hafren green.
On a Wednesday evening in November, as cars splashed through puddles, their headlights blurred in the rain, I trudged home wondering what was for tea.
“Here he comes,” one of the girls laughed. “Alright, scruff?” she said.
I ignored her as I always did, trying to make myself as small as possible and squeeze through the gap they offered me, knowing it would close as soon as I stepped into it.
“Watch where you’re going scruff,” a nasty looking girl with a moustache said as she stepped into my path.
I made for another gap but that soon closed and I got another push in the chest.
“Please let me through,” I said.
“Please let me through,” moustache girl echoed.
“Shall we girls?” the ringleader said. She came up to me, looked down and smiled. “Or shall we have some fun with Scruff?” She put her hand on my crotch. “I think he’s getting hard girls. He likes it.”
I was doing no such thing but I felt my face redden anyway. I tried to push her away but she stood her ground
“Don’t touch me,” she said and tightened her grip down there.
I thought one of my balls was going to burst, I bit my lip, trying not to scream, but it was impossible.
“Aaargh,” I pushed her away, sending her tumbling into the bus stop. Shards of glass splintered everywhere as the girl went straight through the glass and ended up sitting in a bloody puddle on the road. I ran and ran.
“Just tell them what happened,” my mum said to me, but I shook my head and kept my mouth shut.
“Rebecca Robinson needs an operation to fix an artery, she could have died,” the policeman said again. But still I said nothing. “Her friends said it was an unprovoked attack.”
“Say something!” my mum said. The clock ticked on the wall of the interview room.
“What’s the point? What’s the fucking point? It’s my word against theirs, isn’t it? Who’s gonna believe a fat rugby boy when the pretty girls will call me a bully? Well, I’ll show you bully.” I got up and dropped my trousers. “Look,” I said.
The policeman winced and my mother gasped. I acquired the nickname blue ball for the rest of my life but at least I didn’t get sent to a young offenders’ institute.