Corrie Street Sept. 4/16

Swing Set

slide at o'connell parkLooking at a photo on my wall of the slide at O’Connell Park in Sussex, near the swings. Swings! Bethany broke the swing set! Bethany thinks she’s fat. It doesn’t matter that it was missing a bolt, she thinks her weight broke Lilly’s swing set.

That happened half a day after I’d watched Thursday’s episodes. I’d seen her open the package she had received. I’d realized the bottle of pills she quickly hid were diet pills. I recognized that, ok, Bethany’s storyline about bullying and body image is going to start up again. bethany on swing setBut I hadn’t connected it with the breaking swing.

I was worried about the bolt that was left over. It’s not just an extra, I thought. I was surprised, but glad, that Lilly refused to test drive her new swing set. If it was going to break on someone, it was good that it was Bethany. She’s old enough to take the fall without real damage, and also young enough.

swing-collapsesBut, for her self image, she was absolutely the wrong person. The laughter of the others echoed a bit maniacally, like it would in her mortified head. And Max teasing, “Bethany’s fat.” Exactly what Bethany thinks.

David’s laughter was a release for him, one he clearly needs. I don’t david-grips-boltknow how tightly wound he is. Way too tight if he grips a bolt so hard it cuts his hand as deeply as that one did. Maybe, like me, he was glad it wasn’t his little girl on the swing.

Despite the laughter, it might have been just an embarrassing moment for Bethany. It was, after all, in her own back yard with only her family and Craig around. And he, as he told her later, knows what it’s like to be picked on.

But he took a photo of her as she hit the ground and shared it on craig-takes-photosocial media. A thoughtless act, not intended with any malice, but one that cannot be taken back. Bethany was right to be upset about it. It would give loads of ammunition to those horrible girls at school. And taking it down after the fact does no good. It’s out there and probably had already been reshared. Removing it gives it greater significance than it had.

bethany-on-groundSo good writing and good construction, Corrie people. The two events – the swing set breaking and the diet pills – come from different angles back to Bethany’s storyline of teenage angst, self image and bullying.

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