I saw her in Marks and Spencers.
A rather chic woman in her middle sixties with fashionably cut grey hair.
I recognised her immediately.
She was my biology teacher at school.
Vaguely I remembered as a teacher, she was an efficient but rather distant individual, but it was seeing her that sparked a memory not of her way back in Prestatyn High School in 1974 but of her husband who my English teacher
Her husband had the rather odd nickname of " smiler" as I remember and I recall one small kindness he afforded me as a boy of twelve when I was bullied in one rather awful moment of childhood cruelty.
I loved my English classes and was a bit of buttoned up swot at every lesson, so occasionally provided a butt of the joke for several of the thicker and more disruptive boys.
One day, just before class one of those boys broke my newly bought ink pen by jamming the nib into the desktop.
It was a nasty little moment of destruction which was aimed to hurt..and hurt it did.
As class started, and biting away tears , I remember Smiler starting the lesson which was for us to write a précis of the novel " A Kestrel for a Knave" and as he walked up and down the line of desks he gave us instructions of what he wanted of us to do.
As he passed my desk, and without comment he reached into his pocket and pulled out his own rather smart ball-point pen which he placed quietly before me.
The lesson carried on as normal.
It was a kindness that meant so very much to a twelve year old boy.
At the end of the lesson, as Smiler was stacking the novels into piles, I stopped at his desk and offered him his pen back.
" Keep it" he said giving me a slight nod of his head
Who was your special teacher?