It was the first wet morning for a long, long time. The weather has been dry, if not particularly warm, and you could almost hear the plants gasping for water. But this morning, rain was falling steadily and wind was whipping the tree-tops from side to side. My square window was filled with luscious deep greens and gentle greys. The wind was whooshing, the rain pattering on the ground, or sometimes being pelted against the window. But from the comfort of the bedroom, with a cup of tea, a newspaper, and a curled up cat for company, and the knowledge that you didn’t have to go anywhere or be anywhere, it was all incredibly soothing.
Adults myopically view all groups of children at play as something sweet and innocent. They do wish to see that cruelty, spitefulness and bullying tendencies can be fully formed even in a half-grown child.
I made the same mistake myself while working my stand at the market. It was a quiet period for me, as most punters were milling around the dog show circle. I was passing the time by people and dog watching, the queues for the toilets alone providing enough entertainment for an entire season’s worth of TV shows.
I had registered the group of four young boys playing intently in a circle directly in front of me, but only in a ‘aww, look, isn’t it great to be young’ sort of way. I had seen them all separately at various times during the day with their parents: two brothers, each with a mop of bouncy curls crowning their heads and matching their personalities; a quieter cousin with straight, mousey-brown fly-away hair; and the outsider, an only child with a sleek helmet of thick black hair. All were the same general size, except for the younger brother who was an inch or two shorter.