When I was in sixth grade, a little boy WOULD NOT STOP being mean to me. Every day he would come over and say, "F. U.."
"Eff Ewe?" I'd ask, seriously having no idea what he was saying.
"Ewe, like a sheep?" I asked, sheltered.
"What? No! You like you!"
"You! As in you are so stupid."
The whole class would laugh. This would happen every day, until I consulted the ultimate guru . . . my brother.
"What does F. U. mean?" I asked.
"F. stands for Fabulous."
"That stands for you as in you. Fabulous You." He pointed to me, patted me on the shoulder and smiled. The guy tried walking away, but I wouldn't let him.
I grabbed his arm. "Well, if he's calling me, Fabulous You, why are all of the other kids laughing?"
He looked troubled and I knew he cared. "You want him to stop?"
"Yes," I said.
"Well, I'll tell you what to say, but you can't tell Mom. Like that time I taught you the word 'fugly.' You CAN NOT tell mom this time. Promise."
We made the ultimate pact; we even pinkie swore!
"When he says 'F. U.' I want you to say . . ." Then my brother made me memorize a comeback.
"What in the heck does that mean?" I asked after memorizing it.
"Nothing really, but it will get him to stop calling you . . . fabulous."
"He's not calling me 'fabulous' is he?"
My brother just stared.
"Are you sure I can trust you?"
"When could you not?"
He was right. When it came down to it, my brother always had my back. So, I followed his advice. I dressed really nice for school the next day. I did my hair and wore lip gloss. I actually looked like a tom boy turned cute. When that boy walked up and said "F. U." in front of everyone, I said what my brother taught me.
"I know you want to, but you never ever will." I put my hand on my hip and stuck it out like Sandy at the end of Grease. "And when I grow up, you'll be a yucky guy. Then you'll wish you could."
"F. U.?" he said again, weakly. All the kids laughed AT HIM this time. Then after a moment all the rage in the world came out. "I'd never want to do that . . . ever! Who wants to be with a freak anyway."
I barked his shin when the words left his mouth.
As the teacher pulled me from the classroom and toward the principal's office, she asked, "What possessed you to do that?"
I stared at her. All those days I'd gotten made fun of and she never stood up for me, yet I was going to the office?
"Well, answer me! Who taught you how to do that?"
I'd never tell her it was my brother--never. My lips sealed shut. My soul became a tomb. They could string me up in detention, pluck my hairs one by one. They could pull out my liver and sell it for school supplies--and STILL I'd never rat on my angel of a brother. He'd saved my life.
I turned back and saw all the kids watching me from the classroom.
"F. U. Boy" cried in the corner and somehow I knew he'd never bother me again.