We’d called her Grubby Gert, it was more a play on words really; I mean she wasn’t at all grubby. Her real name was Trudy Grub; everyone knew that Trudy was the short version of Gertrude so it seemed an obvious thing to call her. If only we’d known the effect it had had on her, I’m sure that none of us were really nasty towards her. She could’ve had lots of friends; she just preferred her own company that‘s all.
We’d all tried to bring her out of her shell, everyone liked her; it wasn’t as if we’d made fun of her, it was just that silly name. The more we’d tried the more she’d shrank back into herself.
She’d come late in the term to the school; the teachers hadn’t told us anything about her only that she’d recently moved into the district.
I think it took about fifteen minutes for someone to think up her nick name, I mean we all had them; none of them were complimentary but we just accepted them because that’s the way things were at our school.
The morning we found out what had happened was the worst of my life. We noticed that she wasn’t there for registration and in assembly we found out why; She was dead. She’d died the headmaster said by a freak accident.
Later that week we all knew that she’d hung herself and her dad had found her dairy: Read it; it told how she’d hated her new school, how horrid the kids were, how they’d given her an awful nick name; that she couldn’t face going anymore and how much she’d missed her mummy who’d died just before the previous Christmas of cancer.
The Newspapers were saying that she’d been bullied, that she’d been in a vulnerable state. There was a big inquiry at the school and we were all feeling guilty, but we didn’t know and anyway we all had nick names.
Mine was Tombstone because of the awful gaps in my teeth…