Early this morning as I put my son on the train for a school excursion, I witnessed the propogation of pain. Nothing was meant by it, nobody intended any harm and the cruelty was imperceptible.
Children, parents and teachers all crowded on the platform waiting for the infrequent train. The boys were crowded together, laughing and talking excitedly. Every comment was considered with a glance, a laugh, a counter comment or a friendly punch. Twelve year olds who had known each other for the majority of their lives. Larrikins, every one of them.
Another stepped to the edge of the bundle of boys, unnoticed. He wore an eccentric trilby hat. His eyes flitted keenly between the boys as they jostled, joked and laughed. His mouth smiled at their jokes, opening too late to join the parry. His eyes watched in dismay. He went to his bag, to retrieve red spectacles with the lenses knocked out. Put them on and smiled to himself. Boldly, he stepped up to one of the boys saying, "Hello!". A look was all he got, the buzzing energy of the group was overwhelming. To be on the outside of that cohesive power once on the inside was ridiculous. The look told everything. Returning to his bag with a stilted smile he put away the glasses and returned to watching.
During the 20 minute wait for the train I watched half a dozen attempts at connection to the closed group. The train arrived for the beginning of their nine hour journey. I kissed and waved my son goodbye. Parenting makes shits of us all.