More in Common
I wrote this story with this weeks' inspiration point - CHILDHOOD - in mind. Last week was Anti-Bullying Week and that's relevant too
Kerry loves films and music and books. But she doesn’t have the same taste as many of her friends. No Frozen, Justin Bieber or Harry Potter for her. Instead she likes 1950's musicals – who doesn’t love Calamity Jane – and epic historical dramas such as Ben-Hur, Gone with the Wind and her favourite of favourites Spartacus. It was her dad that introduced her to what he calls ‘film appreciation’ as well as to the music of Eric Bogle and Peggy Seeger and their best book To Kill a Mockingbird. Her mum says she’s too young for it all but her dad doesn’t agree and insists that everyone should have as 'broad an education as possible'. 'It’s never too early to learn about the bad things that happen in the world and to give thanks for wonderfully thoughtful examples of art and culture', he says. She’s not always sure what he means but that doesn’t bother her much. He answers all the questions she has and she knows that someday she will understand it all for dad has told her so. Kerry loves doing stuff with her mum too. They play board games and watch Strictly cuddled up on the sofa. They cook together as well. Dad eats their cakes and pies in one big bite. That makes mum tut.
Kerry loves school too. Well she used to. Things have changed a little since Anna moved to town and was put in Kerry’s class. Nobody ever made fun of Kerry before but now a few others have started to giggle and copy Kerry making fun of her when she speaks up in class or during a game. They do it quietly (sneakily her dad would say) or in the playground or at lunch. Mr Bunton doesn’t seem to notice. Kerry doesn’t mention it at home because she doesn’t want to upset her mum and dad. She’s not sleeping as well as she usually does and has started sucking her thumb again.
Kerry’s school is doing lots of stuff for Anti-Bullying Week and each year group is involved. The theme this year is ‘All Different, All Equal’ and Mr Bunton gives them all the task of writing a story about what they think this means. Kerry knows just what to write about.
Kerry is chosen to read her story, not just in front of her classmates, but in front of the whole school. As she nervously climbs the steps to the stage she hears Anna and the group of kids around her start to snigger. Mr Bunton smiles at her and nods and she begins to read. Kerry’s story is an epic tale in itself which, although she doesn’t use these words, challenges stereotypes and prejudice, highlights injustice and inequality and applauds collaboration and support for the other. As usual it takes Kerry longer than it would others to tell her tale and not long into her story the whispered mimicking begins. This stops though when the children near Anna and her small gang crossly shush them.
Kerry finishes reading and looks up. The school hall is silent at first. Then a boy from the class above hers stands up. ‘I am Spartacus,’ he says. ‘I am Spartacus,’ say several of Kerry’s friends in unison standing as a group. ‘I am Spartacus,’ shouts every teacher and almost every child.