It was a dull and dreary Tuesday afternoon until the clock hit 4pm. Like the first trickling drops of an impending storm, small smidgens of colour appeared, moving in slow motion, first one, then another; some small, some taller. In a matter of minutes these dots of colour began to blur as they moved faster and faster, boldly darting to and fro, some only just missing head-on collisions. The dots became noisy, emitting high-pitched sounds and mostly moving about in pairs or threes, like particles bonding together.
These dots were not particles of course, but rather school pupils, returning after the long Easter holiday. The school had erupted into a hive of industry after its sleepy break and now saw children busily carting suitcases up flights of stairs, reuniting with friends amid flying hugs, and squealing shrilly as the younger ones competed to be heard over the commotion. Energy levels seemed to be at their peak and staff and pupils alike had regained their sparkle after the relaxing vacation.
Despite this frenzy, the children remained – as can only be expected – prone to the same unfortunate mishaps as usual. An unsuspecting child still dropped a stack of cutlery all over the dining room floor causing an almighty clamour, while another still managed to lose a tennis ball over a wall within fifteen seconds of playing with it.
After a mere hour or two since returning to school, it was as if the children had never left: football goals were haphazardly marked out on the field by a selection of newly-washed jumpers, children wiggled in a most entertaining fashion as they attempted to master the art of ‘rip-sticking’ (which I have learned requires some skill in the area of wiggling), and younger girls galloped about, having transformed themselves into a rare breed of two-legged ponies.
Another thirty minutes later, and the noise had gone. The ponies had gone. The rip-sticks had gone. The children had gone. A lone jumper remained – and a nice one at that…