When I was in 6th grade at a catholic school for girls, I got into a serious fight with another kid in my class. Each student in my class had a little shelf to store their books and writing materials when they weren’t needed. My shelf was - a habit that unfortunately hasn’t changed until today - terribly untidy, it was full of unneccessary stuff and crumpled paper, and nothing was properly stacked, I usually just threw stuff on top of the messy pile and hoped it wouldn’t collapse.
The head girl of my class, in my objective opinion back then a niggling neurotic named Cosima, took offense at this sight. She kept nagging that I should tidy it up and keep the sloppy mass of school materials in order. I refused. The conflict got more and more tense, until she finally threatened to auction off my stuff. Cosima only got halfway through shouting “Who wants a horse-shaped eraser” towards a group of our classmates when she was interrupted by the splashing sound of ten year old me hitting her in the face as hard as I could.
Since we were attending, as I mentioned, a catholic school for girls, this was (while extremely satisfying for me) quite the scandal. The teacher called my parents, there were several serious conversations about non-violent communication, and as I normally was a happy and friendly kid that didn’t solve conflicts with physical force I soon felt sorry for hurting Cosima (even though it did have the pleasant effect that this persnickety nitwid never bothered me again). I was too proud to apologize, but during lunchtime I did my best to make a nice stack of the wrinkly math and latin excercise sheets on my shelf and put a piece of paper on Cosima’s desk. I had painted the word “Peace?” on it, in big and colourful letters.
A little later everyone got cardboard boxes for their things, so any mess became invisible. Cosima and I never spoke again and pretty much avoided each other for the rest of the year, so I never knew how if she had found the paper and how she reacted.
The following summer my family moved to a different town and I had to change to a new school. I didn’t want to leave my friends and teachers and classmates behind, so I waited with emptying my shelf until the very last moment. When I couldn’t possibly push it any further away and had to take my things from the cardboard box, on it’s very bottom I found the peace offering I had put on Cosima’s desk months ago. She had scribbled a single word into the corner: “Yes.”