Julie Mayhew remembers the day she took sweet revenge

These games had less sport and more scrimmage. So one day, when the pitch bounced violently in my direction, I was able to pick it up out of sight in the melee. His voice was desperate. “Where did you disappear!?”

The idea took shape in an instant. I clutched the handful of rubber behind my back and pretended, like everyone else, that its disappearance was a mystery. may have been But the boy and his friends stole me, stole the fun of school.


I imagined myself going home and enjoying that wonderful ball by myself, but when I threw it into the pale bricks of my bungalow, Mama was there and said tell me where it came from. An interrogation ensued: I sat on the center cushion of the sofa, writhing, the ragged green fabric under my thighs rough. My parents were standing over me with their arms crossed.

“Did you steal that ball?” they asked. I froze I was a good boy and good boys don’t lie. But I didn’t have the vocabulary to explain why this was justice and not a theft case. “No,” I told them. “I found it.” They knew I was lying. After all, I knew I wasn’t a good boy.

The schoolyard “mummy” and her curly-haired friends let go of me, afraid of what I might steal next, but I had no sense of victory. I hid the ball behind a cobweb-like hut to avoid seeing it whenever I rode my bike.

It’s that sour, lingering aftertaste that, perhaps subconsciously, inspired me to write a book about revenge. I probably wanted a different ending to my own story. My two school premises POWs were forced to look back on their behavior in shame. A version that no longer casts itself as the villain.

The spider hut was long gone, but Ball may have survived and moved into his father’s garage. Glancing at it again, I think it’s a memento of when I was smart and brave. It’s too late to forgive yourself for your youth, but there is justice.

little nothing Bloomsbury by Julie Mayhew is out now.

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Julie Mayhew remembers the day she took sweet revenge

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