Nicholas is already crying by the time I reach the cafeteria. No histrionics today, no wailing, no attention-seeking behavior; he’s just huddled by himself at the far end of an unoccupied table with his knees drawn up to his chest, tears dribbling out of his eyes and running down his cheeks, nose running a little,
‘Monty, climb down. This instant.’ The smooth blonde crown of his head visible through the dark spikes, Monty is halfway up the monkey puzzle tree that stands by the school pitch. From his look-out, he can see the mini red rugby shirts of his classmates, bulldozing about. ‘Sir, did you know that even a tap
In the event of a playground altercation, Mr. and Mrs. Grace have told their seven-year-old son to abide by the following rule: Hit Back, Not First. A sharp little piece of parallel structure, Mrs. Grace thinks. Four words, four syllables; a neat arrangement of assertive consonants communicating an honourable principle. Hit Back, Not First. Perfect.