They were ﬁghting in the corridor. And they were both bigger than I was. Sixteen years old, full of testosterone and with minimal self-control.
Fighting? Well, it was more of a pushing and shoving match. But now they had gripped each other at the shoulders like two elk, antlers locked.
That might not have been a problem if it wasn’t for the class of youngsters looking on at them, with a mixture of awe and fear in their eyes. As the only teacher in the vicinity, I had to do something, if only to protect the little’uns. I walked towards the two elk.
“Oh, and what are you doing?” I enquired as though they were idly playing marbles.
They grunted at each other and spoke to me in single words
“He. Started. It”, they both said.
I was sure I would never get to the bottom of whether it was Push or Shove that started it. And I didn’t care. All I wanted was for them to stop, and for me to avoid getting hurt in the process.
“What made you push him?”, I asked one, and immediately asked the other. “What made you shove him?” “He said I was a …”, garbled one, and shoved.
“He called me a …”, stuttered the other, and pushed.
“Oh, and how did that make you feel?”, I asked them both. By now they were standing almost still. Their arms were still locked around each other’s shoulders. They had stopped struggling. It had become more of a hug. It was getting embarrassing. I grabbed the advantage.
“And how often will you let him decide how you feel?” I asked them both. Neither could answer. I’m not sure I could have answered the question either.
“Aww, we’re just friends”, they both said and hugged each other. In a manly way.
“Well, go and be friends elsewhere,” I suggested. “You are scaring the little’uns.”
They galloped down the corridor and outdoors, to be friends out there I supposed.
It was at that moment I became fully aware that the little'uns were looking at me with a mixture of awe and fear in their eyes.
“Line up outside your classroom,” I ordered. They scuttled into line and stood there like tin soldiers and waited for their class teacher to arrive.
Courtesy of Martin Richards.