[WP]: A school principal calls a parent into a meeting concerning his son bullying other students. The father turns out to be her own old bully.

The sweat on his hand seeped through furious pores. His palm would have slid on the door handle, had he not elected to kick it open instead.

"Mr. Wilson?"

With a series of ungraceful thuds, he stormed towards the desk and glanced towards the Principal, her hand extended for a handshake. "Mm", he muttered in affirmation. With one hand, he pulled out the chair at the other end of the table and let gravity guide him to his seat. He looked at her hand, still extended for a shake, and then beyond, into her eyes. Born fully blind and with tightly curled red hair, the Principal was unmistakable.

There are those rare moments in a person's life when the mountain they stand on vanishes from underneath them. Upon recognising the Principal, Mr. Wilson felt as if he had suddenly found himself encased in a swimming pool filled with sand, pressing firmly against his naked body from all directions, the next breath inviting in a prickly suffocation. A moment passed before his mind landed back into his body, and he reached out to meet her hand with his.

"Sorry, I'm sorry." He was not sure whether the apology was for the sweatiness of his hand, or for the torment she was handed by them. His voice sounded as if some sand had actually entered his throat. The Principal retained a solid disposition despite the pathetic display.

He wondered if she could recognise his voice, or if she knew who he was. He had changed his name, but are Principals told about these things? Had someone else told her? But her name was also different, so she must have changed it too, perhaps, like him, to escape their past.

"As Tom's class teacher had talked to you about, over the phone, his treatment of other students has been unacceptable, and this is continuing." She waited for a response.

Oh God, the handshake. He lost the end of his index finger when it happened. She must have felt that, right? He cleared his throat, and embarked on an attempt to sound slightly foreign.

"Yes" It sounded ridiculous. Putting on an accent would not work. Did she notice? If she did, her pokerface was very convincing. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry."

"Thank you for the apology, Mr. Wilson, but we need to be hearing that from Tom himself." He considered that there might have been sarcasm in her voice. Mr. Wilson fidgeted, not feling the need to hide his concerned expression.

"Yes. I'm... sorry."

"Look, Mr. Wilson, I bought you in here because you need to understand exactly what bullying entails in my school" She was getting irate, possibly.

"What, what does it entail?" He wondered if she was finally getting her revenge. A small bubble of rage reappeared to his brow. How could she take her anger out on his son? But it quickly popped, and he felt small once again.

"I could..." She was using the first person, this was personal, wasn't it? "let him" Let? As if she owes him anything! "stay in my school." Oh? Maybe she doesn't know after all. Maybe...

"That would..."

"But he needs a fair punishment, as you must be aware.We need children to accept their mistakes, understand this has affected the other person, and then apologise in a fitting manner. Atonement can come in many forms."

Mr. Wilson felt each word hit him. He knew he had never received a fitting punishment for what he did to the Principal. He felt that it was directed at him, and her poise and confidence felt intimidating.

"We know that he had problems at his last school. We also know that victims of bullying can struggle to deal with their past. On some occasions, they do become defensive, they do seek revenge." He considered her tone to be intimidating. The way she talked of revenge frightened him.

"I know you struggled..." He blurted, a droplet of saliva flying across the table onto the Principal's hand. Steely-faced, she wiped it off. "Uh... he had a struggle. With the, I'm... sorry, I'm sorry." Was her absense of emotion threatning or profressional?

"This school is a bully-free zone. We must... squash bullying." The Principal moved back to open up a drawer in her desk. He moved back too, slightly, anticipating a knife, or a gun. But she pulled out a sheet of paper and a pen. "Your son is suspended for two weeks. Please sign here and take him home. He needs to learn."

He pulled the paper towards him, and signed on the dotted line. Maybe she had not recognised him. But she was so menacing, or at least, he thought so.

"Okay, thank you, sorry, I'll sort it, sorry." He stood from his chair with a clumsiness under his feet.

"Thank you for coming, Mr. Wilson. I was bullied when I was younger, and I'm still seeking a cure. It's a difficult time for everyone involved."

"Yes, well... sorry" He stumbled to the door, and opened it carefully.

"Oh, and Mr. Wilson? Take care on the roads. They're a bit slippery this time of year."

/r/WritingPrompts Thread