Tret came into Boj's life the summer after Golda became his protector. Most of Golda's work after the first brief fracas in the schoolyard was to reassure Boj. The Left-Back gang soon found another unprotected little boy to prey on and the Boj was safe.
Still, Golda accompanied Boj on trips back and forth to school and at recess. Golda started to find out two things adults know by experience: much of the work of the female with the male is to comfort him and, when one takes up the role of Protector-Comforter, she feels more bonded to her charge than the victim she saves.
In their case, Boj and Golda, the latter knowledge was mitigated by the feelings Boj evinced for Golda immediately. He sought to anticipate her needs and learn her quirks. She was his Protector. He wanted to be her Provider.
Golda protected Boj from the onslaughts of the Left-Back gang one day at recess. She had viewed their depredations for some time, thinking surely some adult would intervene. Yet, for day after day, she watched asthmatic Boj shoved to the ground, his glasses torn from his face, his clothes disheveled and his body pummeled. She grew to accept the fact he could not defend himself from four larger boys. They had utterly cowed him.
No adults appeared to notice, much less intervene.
"This is an unparented generation," she sighed in her deep heart one day.
Then she jumped in the middle of the tiny circle of torment. She kicked Jimbo, the leader, where she thought it would bother him most. She grabbed the two boys nearest her by their shirts, scratching where she could, bringing blood and yelps all at the same time. When they fell back, surprised, their usual victim still on the ground but a wildcat at their throats, she found her sinister left hand in a fist and brought it up, hard to the eye of the fourth fellow who was bent over Boj to deliver one of the accustomed taunts.
"Stay down there, you…Yow!" his hatefulness that day was punctuated with a shot to his eye. He would wear a shiner for ten days and receive many taunts of his own because a girl marked him.