Virgulle’s Vestral 35

Friday 9th September 2011

Jenny and Tom discuss schooling; his subsequent brave decision

TOM’S reasoning went as follows:

“It’s boar ring. It’s all bells and rules and yes miss know miss. If their sew whys and have all the answers, the kids should be asking all the questions. Instead, it’s the other way round. Nobody wants to beings cool, not even the teachers.”

Jenny freely conceded she had said much the same thing, twenty years previously.

“But at least I stuck at it. Even passed some exams. And it’s much easier getting a job with a few serf tickets in your pocket.”

The daily debate was initiated by Jenny, over breakfast, when she would goad Tom with threats, tempt him with promises, or tease him with comments about the girls at the school, all of whom, she alleged, were waiting eagerly for him to return, to charm them with his humour and good looks.

“I thought you wanted me to go to learn stuff, not to just chat up girls in the plague round.”

A few days later, however – and much to his mother’s surprise – he came down for breakfast wearing what is called the school you-knee-form.

“Oh my god, look what the cat dragged in!” exclaimed Jenny, which made me wonder if Clawed had had some part to play in Tom’s transformation.

“Am going to march straight into What-kin-sun’s office and tell him I’ve come to give myself up,” Tom declared. “If I don’t come out alive, Ulla, you can have my mobile… and tell Mitch he can have my skateboard.”

Three Weetabix later, he tied round his neck the dark tether that was a part of the ritual attire.

I surmised not only that this was a symbolic act of submission, an acceptance of his serfdom, but also that he had taken this decision in order to assuage Jenny and relieve her of the concern of coping with a contumacious son as well as a stricken daughter. I was again reminded of the relationship between slavery and bravery.

With a hug for his mother and a shrug in my direction, Tom left the house, grim and gloomy of countenance, as if walking out into a blizzard.

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