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Righting My Wrongs

Righting My Wrongs
Eoghan O’Mahony

“That’s it, I’ve had enough,” I said to myself.

It was 3am in November. The clouds hung above the mountains, dead still, and I could see my breath in the frosty air. At that moment it didn’t matter how cold it was. My mind was elsewhere. I couldn’t sleep. It all had become too much; it needs to stop.

It had started in September, the start of a new school year with new students. One of the new guys was James. He was a quiet boy. I had my own friends in school. There was a gang of us, but Jack, my best friend, was our leader. He called the shots and we followed.

In the beginning, Jack made comments towards James and I didn’t think much of it. Looking back, I should have intervened. I helped steal his pens and pencils, hide books and I jeered at times. I felt bad but didn’t want to let my friends down. Jack said it was just a bit of fun. Like a fool, I believed him.

After a few weeks, I started to feel uneasy. If it was just a bit of fun, it seemed over the top, so I tried to exclude myself.

Jack soon caught on.

“Why are you ignoring us? We called you over in English, why didn’t you come?” he whispered in my ear.

“Sorry, I just didn’t feel like it, I want to be easy on James,” I replied.

Jack gripped my arm, squeezing it. “You’re weak! Do what I tell you. You don’t want to let me down, do you?”

I apologised, hoping he would loosen his grip.

“Connor, very good,” he said and walked off.

So, I did what he said because he was my best friend, there was no way I could get away with disobeying him.

I followed his orders until I was walking past the bathrooms and I heard sobbing. Instantly, I knew it was James. The sound was gut wrenching. It all hit me at once, like I was being tossed around like a
rag doll mentally. My head pounding, I realised how much we had hurt this person.

That evening, I could hardly eat my dinner I was so conflicted. If I stood up for James, I risked losing my friends. I was at a crossroads. I went to sleep early; I was worn down.

When I awoke at 3am, I had reached my decision. I needed to right my wrongs. I headed into school and mustered up the courage to approach James.

“James, I’m so sorry–”

He cut me off. “Is that supposed to help? Torment after torment and you expect me to accept your apology?”

He was close to tears.
“I really am sorry,” I told him.

He wouldn’t accept it. “You can keep trying, Connor, but until the others apologise, I won’t accept this.”
I saw Jack glaring at me. I didn’t care. By freeing myself, I could be a better person.