Simone’s ballet class
Simone’s been having ballet lessons since September in a class where she’s been bullied by a few little pests. One Wednesday afternoon, Margaret, Simone’s babysitter came back from the ballet lesson really upset. “We have a situation.” She told me that my daughter was a sitting duck for the whole class and had photos to prove it. Simone had been complaining about not being able to make friends for weeks, but, aware of her melodramatic temperament and tendency to play the victim, I hadn’t paid much attention. But that day, Margaret had taken photos on her phone. My eyes grew wider as she showed me pictures of Simone standing apart from the group, without anybody to hold her hand, all alone en diagonale, always the outsider looking sad in her little pink tutu. Simone then told me what I didn’t want to hear: all the children in her ballet class made fun of her: she was the laughing stock.
I felt as if my heart was going to shatter into a thousand pieces. Initially, I tried explaining to Simone that it didn’t matter, that she shouldn’t care what others thought about her, that if she liked ballet as much as she said she did, then she should ignore all the teasing, that those girls were mean and nasty and that she had loads of other friends at school, etc, etc. She listened very carefully to me and then went off with Margaret to have her bath. That’s when I stretched out on my bed and, thinking about what Simone had been going through for months, I began to cry. I dare not even say what I imagined doing to those little pests at that moment. Torture, cigarette burns, kidnapping… nothing seemed enough to satisfy my desire for vengeance.
But since I’m a coward, I phoned my sister Félicie, who, no more capable than I am of dealing with this sort of information, very calmly advised me to “do them all in”, before telling me that she’d take care of it herself if I didn’t feel up to it. Not wanting to see a sordid story about crazy sisters make the headlines, I decided to wait a few days before taking my revenge myself.
The following Wednesday, I’d slept well, built up my strength again and, after an hour’s exercise, was ready to do battle with this band of little b…easts. I took Simone to her ballet class, glowered at all the other pupils and posted myself behind the window to decide who I was going to give hell to first.
It didn’t take me long to spot two of them: Lison and Charlotte. A blonde and a brunette with not a hair out of place, clad in tutus that must have cost the earth. Very pleased with themselves, they pushed Simone away every time she tried to go anywhere near them. One even pulled a face when Simone practised her entrechats, while the other pointed her finger at her and burst out laughing. Thirty minutes later, I was so heartbroken, I had to stop myself from rushing into the room to step in and take action. But what I did instead was worse. I went into the changing room and found their little backpacks. I squashed their afternoon snacks, emptied their cartons of apple juice, hid their hats in other lockers and scattered their things under the benches.
When the class was over, looking nonchalant, I simply took Simone by the hand, strolled down the corridor and returned home. That evening, I called her father to tell him about my “little raid”. As he’s used to my shenanigans, he didn’t say anything, just laughed grudgingly. We then signed Simone up for modern jazz lessons next door. She seems much happier these days.
The following morning, I took Simone to school and in the playground, Alexa, one of her classmates, made fun of her coat. I waited until she had hung hers up and, when everyone had gone, grabbed it off her peg and threw it into the lost-and-found box. Decidedly, it just wasn’t our week.