The maths lesson

The punch came from the left and hit me hot on the ear. I didn’t turn round. The maths teacher carried on teaching maths.

After the second or third punch, I saw a couple of girls on the other side of the classroom looking concerned. They had noticed, but they did not intervene. Still I did not turn to face him.

I don’t remember how much it hurt, but I do remember that I started it. Sort of. He had taken something of mine – a new scientific calculator, perhaps – and wasn’t giving it back. I’d picked up all of my exercise books and brought them down on his head as hard as I could. Then I’d sat down with my calculator, plus the foreboding sense of having started something I would not be very happy about afterwards.