When I was 13, a lad in my French class would always try to grab my dick. He wasn’t gay, he was just a total nutter, or so it seemed. You’d be sat trying to concentrate, when he’d shout- in a heavy Pakistani accent- “Got to feel your willy!” and he’d stick his hand on your crotch. You’d yell at him, telling him to get the fuck off you, and you’d both get bollocked off the teacher. (He was a white local bloke, for the record.)
Aside from this, he was in detention pretty much every night, occasionally he got into fights (he was pretty handy), he swore at his teachers and he seemed to be waging a one-man war against the establishment. He was throwing his life away.
He was expelled eventually, for smacking the deputy head in the face.
The weird thing was, he was the son of one of the science teachers in the school, and his older sister was academically gifted. I always wondered, why didn’t he at least give it a shot?
After this I never saw him for 16 years. His name was RG.
A couple of weeks ago I was in my local gym, working abs on the pulley machine. The bloke behind me says, “Patrick Bateman?”
I turn around and look at this big, strong bloke with dark shaved hair. There’s a pause before I recognise him.
Me and RG, we catch up for about half an hour, doing no exercise. The timer goes on my phone, and I let it ring. The gym instructor asks me if it’s my phone. I say yes but brush it off. We’re deep in conversation about the people we haven’t seen for half our lives, the bullies that were full of hot air, the teachers that let us down, the system. Then he tells me that he was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
I think back to those lessons, his exaggerated behaviour, the weird outbursts, the relentless bollockings. I tell him, now he mentions it, it does make a lot of sense.
He tells me he’d spent some time in prison. I mention I had heard that rumour although I can’t remember who from.
He apologises to me, right there in the gym, for “being a twat with me in school.” I tell him not to worry about it. It was a long time ago. I tell him it was other people I’d rather get apologies from, if any.
It goes to show that sometimes you don’t know what other people are dealing with, especially during childhood and adolescence. They don’t teach you about real mental conditions that affect people and damage people’s lives. You have to figure that out for yourself as an adult. They will teach you foreign languages from countries that speak English anyway, though…