Two children are at the First Steps Nursery School. They are in class K-4. It is the first day of school. If it is possible to distinguish between work and play at a nursery school, it can be said that the time of day is now recess.

One of mentioned children goes up to the other, cocking his head to one side.

"Why is your hair like that?" the approacher absently motions to his own dark coiffure, quite different from the other's thin, blonde hair.

The other is sucking his thumb. All except the fact that he is almost inside the school rabbit's cage suggests that he is hiding. Despite themselves, his eyes look up. They are curious about the other boy, too.

"I don't know," is the translation of what he says around his thumb. He figures that the dark-haired boy will go away now. All the other kids had. They did not find the wide-eyed, thumb-sucking boy very entertaining. But, to his surprise, this one is still here.

His thumb exited, leaving a trail of saliva lest it should forget the route to his mouth. Not used to the absence of its comforting inhabitant, his mouth speaks slowly. "What are you doing?"

"I don't know. Watching you. I like you," the other boy smiles through his words.

The blonde boy's mouth experiences a less comfortable exercise. Dropping open and staying there for a long time. The trail of saliva snaps. With the weight of his thumb removed, he speaks faster yet.

"Really?" How anticlimactic.

"Yeah. Want to play tag?" He extends a hand.

"I…" his fingers twiddled furiously, "…I don't know how."

"Come on. I'll teach you. You have a really red face. It's funny!"

Four fingers materialise in the other boy's hand. His thumb follows.

A few minutes later, the bell rang and the best friends went inside and out of the heat of the afternoon.


Two best friends are at the United Prep School. They are big now. Each has to use two hands to show his age. They are in Grade 1. It is unmistakably recess. In prep school, the senses did not have the ability to miss it.

The brunette stands just outside the football field. His friend is not usually late. Ten minutes was a major subtraction from their daily tag-playing. He shades his dark brown eyes with his hand, scanning the playground for a sign of his friend. He is hard to spot. Most people had blonde hair. Suddenly, he sees him. The blonde is running towards him. And fast.

What a good game plan! Being late and then rushing in so fast that, so fast that…

So fast that the brunette could not finish his thought.

So fast that he was slammed to the ground by the blonde's solid fist before he could get out of the way.

The world seemed to spin as the victim writhed from the impact. His vision was blurred with the redness of the blood spurting from a nerveless region on his face. All he could see was blonde hair and blue eyes contorted in rage and boring into him.

"What are you doing?" he gasped, hand clamping the wound.

"Oh. I'm sorry. Did. That. Hurt?!" his voice was distant and strange. But yet, scathing. It sounded as if he had copied it from someone.

All of a sudden, the friends had names. Blonde was German, and brunette was Jew.

"What?!" Jew asked. Rage was contagious.

They fought. They got hurt. They got tired. They stopped. They were breathing hard.

"Why did you hit me?"

"Because Dad told me to." Pause. "Why did you hit me?"

"Because you hit me first."

There is another pause.

The two children look at each other.

"I don't like this game."