I never thought it was fair; I never really understood. To be honest, I was very naive. I remember their faces, contorted sneers painted across them. Deep red cheeks clashed with disdainful glares. The sound of their uncontrollable cackles still rings in my ears: haunting me. I can still remember it like it was yesterday - I don’t think I could ever forget. It’s as if the memory has been permanently imprinted into my mind with a burning hot metal marker. That’s how it felt at the time, like hot metal had burned a feeling of hatred in my gut. The feeling still remains to this day.

The thunderous roar of the bus’s engine warned my siblings and I of what was soon to come. This was the only chance we had to escape our unbearable fate, to listen for the monstrous groans that gave me goose-bumps all up my shaking arms. I could feel the thick mud squelching in between my bare toes as I scrambled to the sodden banks as rapidly as my diminutive legs could take me. Unfortunately, I was never quite quick enough. The stagnant tidal wave would engulf me, drenching me from head to toe. Every inch of tattered material covering my small figure stuck to my skin as if it's life depended on it. The cool, dense mud clinging to my cloths had made it’s escape from the depths of murky puddles that lay on the clay road. I would find myself staring down at my image reflected in what was left of the puddles, wondering what I had done - what any of us had done - to deserve such monstrous punishments.

My brothers would try to hide their anger most days. I guess they did that to show me that there was no point in fighting back because as long as this frightfully aggressive performance of discrimination continued, there was nothing we could do. However, I could see a sparkle of rage and hatred in their eyes as they attempted to release their tensed muscles. Their menacing glares, with eyes of fire, would follow the bus full of laughing faces.

That’s what gave me an unforgettable feeling of hatred in my stomach, not the fact that the bus had coated us in a disgusting, dirty substance, but the mocking that followed. The sight of the bus, full of convulsing school children, gave me a shameful feeling of self-loathing. There was one face that stood out to me every morning this happened - a young girl. My age or maybe a little bit older. She was different from the rest of them; her smile didn’t reach her pitiful eyes but she laughed just the same. Her cheeks were rosy from her laughter but there was something about her gaze (a glint in her eyes) that told me she was sorry. However, I didn’t need her pity or a sorrowful look. She was as monstrous as the rest of them and deserved to know how I felt, how they made me feel... how it scarred me. They will never be punished for the colour of their skin. They will never know. They will never suffer as we have. They will never understand.

So we trudged on to our worn down school with worn down books and worn down walls, our journey becoming ever more difficult with every step.