Bullies come with little brains. I think this as I observe a young family walk down the street. The little boy is a spark of sorts. It’s a wonder how this four-year old, or so he seems, skipping alongside his mum thinks he can catch the adroit pigeon scooping breadcrumbs from the ground or that he can recapture the balloon that slipped through his fingers. He watches, helplessly and with wonder, the yellow ball of air drift unquestionably sky-bound and the way the inflated rubber is bouncing in the wind looks suspiciously like a victory dance, a celebration of being free of the little rascal. As his mother pauses to look at a shop window bargain he makes a face at his older sister and from her reaction I am pretty sure this is a mask he has worn before to mother’s disapprobation.
One of my great regrets is being unable to remember not just what pretty thoughts I contemplated when I was still a child but how I actually thought – the process by which I laid down Napoleonic schemes to outfox my watchful father for my mother’s limited and, therefore, precious attention. Was I aware of cause and effect; pride and punishment; id and super-ego? And so when I see how that little boy pushes his sister so he can be the one next to mum I know that there is more than dutiful innocence in those puppy green eyes. No puppy he is; he is riotously naughty. He knows exactly what he wants and no sister, for love or punishment, will stand in his way. Perhaps he’ll turn out alright in the end. I did.