Two years ago

Google tells me next to nothing about the fox. I know his address but that’s about it. With nothing to go on, I forget about him for the rest of term, in fact for the next term too. It’s only after Easter that I see him again. He’s makes his usual lightening drop-off and then he’s out of the door. This time I follow him down the stairs but he’s too fast and has disappeared by the time I reach my car.

The next morning he’s racing out of the classroom door just as I’m leaving mine. Today I’ve got a reason to talk to him – our children have been getting friendly and they’ve asked us to set up a play date. As we walk down the stairs I turn my head awkwardly to look at him and introduce myself.

“I’m Y’s mum. You must be X’s dad.”

He looks startled and mutters something I can’t quite understand amid the chatter of other parents but I don’t want to be rude and ask him to repeat it so I just laugh nervously. That gets me a strange look and then he overtakes me and he’s off out of the door again without another word. It’s not exactly the most scintillating conversation I’ve ever had, in fact one sentence hardly classifies as a conversation at all. I said something, he said something and then he panicked and ran. It’s possible that he could just be incredibly rude or really shy but there’s something about his awkwardness that makes me wonder about him. I know I intimidate some people, particularly certain men who are scared of an intelligent woman with an opinion, but I don’t think that’s it. It’s something more. And I want to know what it is.

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