I’m back but my head is still out of shape so bear with me! This piece was inspired by an anecdote about a pregnant concert pianist, truly.
It was the last day of term. Mrs Winter popped a CD into the classroom music system, something light and bright, to go with the radiant sunshine that was dancing off the walls and the euphoric mood of the children, eager for summer holidays.
A couple of tracks later, several eras of frothy pop tunes later, she looked up, catching giggles and jeers in a corner. She was surprised, confused.
Little Paul Rivers was literally bawling his eyes out. It was the first display of emotion that she had ever seen from the boy. It was a small school and although she hadn’t been his teacher all the way through the classes, she had seen his journey from reception up. He had never cried, ever. Not even that all-testing first day when his mother had let go his hand and let him walk into the playground all by himself, loosing him free to the hordes.
But children didn’t always cry, she knew that from her many years of primary school teaching. You could never predict how a child would react and this seemed to be a case in point. What on earth had happened?
She bustled over to his table, in the corner by the artwork, and came down low and looked at the six children. The ripples were just starting to spread to other tables and she wanted to put a stop to it. Paul was already looking a little uncomfortable.
“What is going on here?” she asked sternly, looking at the other children but it was Paul who blushed deeply.
“It’s Paul,” answered a girl. “He just starting crying!”
The other two boys on the table clearly thought that this was amusing and giggled some more at her statement.
“Like a girl!” jeered one of them.
He quickly withered into silence after Mrs Winter aimed a well designed look at him. She moved around the corner of the table and looked at Paul carefully.
“Paul, who made you cry?”
He wriggled uncomfortably but Mrs Winter held his gaze until he awkwardly surrendered the answer.
“The song,” whispered low and with shame.
“Which one? Why?”
“The last one,” his head hung lower.
Mrs Winter was even more confused. The previous song, like all the others, had been a jaunty pop number. She sent him out of the room to wash his face, silenced his peers and looked at the clock, grateful that there was only another fifteen minutes left of the day. She would definitely be speaking to Paul’s mother this evening.
She asked Paul’s mother to step into the classroom for a word, singling her out from all the other parents bustling in the playground. This wasn’t a mother who showed her emotions on her face but there was definitely a flicker of frustration, even embarrassment. Paul looked embarrassed too.
Mrs Winter quickly explained the situation, appreciating the mutual feeling of having to wait around on the last day of term.
“I don’t know why. I don’t recognise the title.”
Mrs Winter asked if she could play it, maybe it was something he’d heard as a younger child. The song started playing. Within seconds, the controlled mother too had tears pouring down her face. Mrs Winter was embarrassed now, she hadn’t thought that she would cause that much distress by a simple song. She apologised and quickly turned the music off.
“It’s Chris’ song,” sobbed the younger woman. “He’s never heard it, I haven’t heard it since I was pregnant with him.”
Yes, it’s a little over! But I’m just glad that I found something to write, it’s been a tough week and the writing just hasn’t been happening.