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Wednesday 11 January 2012

When ordinary people do extraordinary things.

When ordinary people do extraordinary things posted on . . .2012 by David Leadbeater
Real heroes don’t wear masks. They don’t dream in colour. In the real world they’re not super. They’re the weird guy down the street who sees you’ve managed to strand yourself on the rope that swings across the beck and gets his feet wet pulling you back to dry land. It’s your mum. My daughter. The Chosen Few who go to fight for their country, for their way of life. They don’t go trying to be special, but one day they just are. . .
    As a child I thought my heroes were caped crusaders and wise-cracking web-slingers. I didn’t know the near-real-life version was the girl who stands resolute before the approaching monster. She’s smaller, weaker, and younger, but she never hesitates. Thanks for that, Joss.
    So who did I turn to when a real-life nightmare came calling? My real heroes of course- my mum and dad. When I told them about a habitual bully, the scourge of our school, my mum wanted to head out straight away and confront him but my dad managed to calm her and  went round to see the bully’s father. Now that I’m older I know he must have been scared, but I never saw it then.
    And the next day, the bully just went on to someone else. . .

    So it’s lunch-break and I’m walking free, feeling good, and I see a crowd has gathered past the old, empty classrooms where the teachers can’t see. Where the Prefects don’t go. The crowd’s silence betrays its guilt like a government betrays its country by hiding a politician’s expenses.
    I walk among the quiet ones, the whisperers, witnesses whose eyes shine with sadistic glee, and move to the front. For a moment I stagger, I flashback and see myself there, on the ground, being kicked and jeered at by the bully, being pinched and spat upon, crying. . .
    And then I see with eyes that suddenly can dream in colour, and I utter those immortal words: “She’s a girl!”
    The bully turns to stare at me, and then shrieks in surprise as my body suddenly slams into him. He goes down. I go down. We fight, scuffle and scratch, like kids do until a pair of teachers finally wade in and break us apart.
    “I’m shocked at you.” One of them says to me.
    But. . .
    Red-faced, I am marched away and my last image is of the dishevelled girl. I never knew her name and never got to know. Her words ring out strongly: “I didn’t need your help, Leadbeater. Not really.”
    I turn to the bully and look him straight in the eyes. “My dad says: Stand Your Ground.”
    That was the day I became extraordinary.

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