I sometimes wake up at night sweating at the memory of something truly awful that I saw once. I can’t remember where or when or the context but perhaps it was in a cafe on holiday, or in a car park. A distracted guy in his thirties nearby was berating his five year old son about spilling something or some other minor problem. And then suddenly that child crumpled under some terrible unseen weight of guilt and regret, profoundly apologising for his mortal sense of inadequacy, pleading and crying out “I’m sorry daddy, I’m so sorry, I’m really really sorry”. Truly awful, I still weep for that child sometimes.

The Taste of Regret, Iain of Little House in the Paddy.

Interestingly enough I have a distant memory of witnessing a similar shocking event to the one Iain speaks about. It too was played out in public. It wasn’t that long ago I think. Ah yes! It was in Tesco’s cafe in Reading near the Priory. The dad was shouting, Don’t you ever, EVER do that again. Then, coming up really close, Do you HEAR ME? The small boy was beside himself with apologies and promises. It was a truly awful scene.

Yes, one weeps for all such children

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