I Could’ve Helped But I Didn’t

I still regret it to this day.

Rachel C.
4 min readNov 18, 2021


Photo by kyo azuma on Unsplash

I could’ve helped but I didn’t.

Those are the words that ring through my head whenever I think about That Day. I was in seventh grade and it was lunch time. I was alone, walking through the halls of my large school, feet shuffling to the cafeteria to find my friends. But just before I reached the cafeteria, I heard someone snicker and someone’s muffled voice getting increasingly louder.

I walked toward the source of the sound and peered behind a large vending machine, revealing two boys having an altercation. One was much larger and he stood over a frail, thin boy sneering. I could immediately tell who was the offender and what was happening suddenly clicked. Could this be..bullying? THE bullying that I only saw in movies and read about in books? I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing.

The taller, bigger boy continued to make jabs at the thin boy who was sitting down with his lunch tray in front of him. “You have no friends,” the bully laughed. “You’re a loser.” The victim glared at him and meekly told him to stop, as the bully flipped his tray over.

My eyes widened and my breath caught in my throat. The moisture in my mouth was as nonexistent as my self esteem. How was no one else seeing this?

The boys hadn’t noticed me yet. After all, I was only a 5 foot, 90-something pound girl. I had nothing on them. I could’ve easily walked away and no one would’ve faulted me for not speaking up. Still, I knew that the situation was wrong and it didn’t sit right with my soul. However, I was afraid. The bully had to be about 6 feet, 200-something pounds. What if he got mad and beat me up? What if he started to bully me, too? I knew I needed back-up. I immediately sprinted around the cafeteria, looking for my friends. I knew they could help me. When I finally spotted them, I gave them a confusing, Sparknoted version of events in a huffy tone and dragged them along with me to the scene of the event. “They’re right here!” I yelped, rounding the corner where the vending machine was.

They were gone.

My friends turned to me, confused. “You said you saw bullying happen here?” one asked. “I — yeah, I swear, they were just here! I saw them! There was a guy…



Rachel C.