“Mum, here! Let’s sit here!” Jennie shouted across the din of the crowded restaurant. As it was lunchtime, the restaurant was flooded with people. Jennie and her parents rushed towards the unoccupied table, relieved to find a place to sit at last.

Just as they had finished ordering their food, Jennie’s mother smelt something burning. “Do you guys smell that?” she asked. Jennie looked around and saw something shocking. “Dad, nobody is allowed to smoke here, right? Because that man over there is!” she whispered. Jennie’s father turned abruptly. Frowning in disapproval, he stood up carefully and walked over to the man. Several people were already glaring at the inconsiderate smoker.

“Hey you, don’t you know you’re not supposed to smoke here?” Jennie’s father asked. The man stood up and shot daggers at Jennie’s father.

“This is none of your business!” he snapped.

“Oh, really? But it does seem to have to do with me. Guess who will be breathing all the secondhand smoke?” Jennie’s father retorted.

That did it.

Both men started quarrelling, snarling and growling tenaciously like lions fighting over prey. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the man stepped on Jennie’s father’s foot. Jennie’s father yowled in pain. Jennie froze in fear as she was afraid for her father.

Just then, Jennie’s mother stepped in. “You two, stop quarrelling!“ She then pointed to a sign that said: “NO SMOKING!” and dragged her husband away. Fortunately, that intervention put a stop to the argument. The two men seemed equally surprised that Jennie’s mother would intervene. Jennie thought they looked rather embarrassed as well.

On the way home, Jennie reflected on what she had observed. She remembered the fear that crept down her spine during the quarrel. She was relieved that there were no major injuries and that the quarrel had not escalated into a fight. She hoped such an unpleasant incident would never happen again. She was certain that her father would never engage in a quarrel again. Her mother had proved that it was possible to talk it out and not start any unnecessary violence.

~ by Natalie (Primary 4)