331 If You Sympathize Then...?
"Hey, hey? You sure we can eat this? We got no cash even if you demand us to cough up later."
"I don't need cash. But you must listen to what I say if you eat this. Do not back talk me when I'm teaching you. I don't need kids who have no motivation or just here to drag me down. You said you only have each other yeah? Then those who contribute nothing can get out. Eat if you agree."
The kids swallowed their saliva altogether.
A weird silence came up afterward.
"Ah yeah, you gotta know your manners before you get to eating. First, say 'time to dig in'. Only then you can start."
None of the kids said a word. I was confused for a second, 'Hm? Are they acting rebellious now?', but that wasn't the case.
After I said, 'time to dig in' and started eating, the kids followed, saying 'time to dig in' together and chowing down on the food.
(Ah, they're listening to me huh. They saw me as their superior so they didn't dare to eat before me. I see, they've made their resolve then.)
Some of the children chewed on the bread almost to the point of choking, some slowly relished the soup and some stuffed their mouths full of meat.
The joy of finally being able to have a full stomach on food they had always starved for, longing for, for years.
Days of spending time with hardened hearts just trying to live to see another day.
And finally the fortune to eat good food.
They must be strongly relishing all that.
I felt pity when I saw the expressions on these kids. Circumstances completely outside their control. I am not going to ask them how they get to this point.
I have no words that could soothe these children who must have lacked the power to overturn all the 'misfortune', 'unreasonableness' and 'absurdity' they experienced.
Once we were done eating, I murmured, 'thanks for the food' and began cleaning up. Then after a short break, I executed the plan I formulated during mealtime.
"You kids, line up by the wall. In a row."
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Normally, their reaction should have been that of a confusion. These kids seem to be barely ten after all.
Yet, they swiftly lined up following my 'order'. Standing up straight.
(They're way too good at this... I didn't mean to go that far though... It's like we're an army...)
"Ah, I won't ask you for detail. But it's a pain to tell you apart without names. So I'm gonna give you ones."
I pointed at each the children while counting the numbers.
The leader is naturally '1'. And then the rest is by the order they lined up.
The tall lanky one is '2'. The shaggy hair is '3'. The smallest one is '4'.
The girl with waist length hair is '5'. The short haired girl is '6'.
"Roll call! When I said that, you immediately line up and say your name out loud. Let's give it a try. Roll call!"
Yep, handling all six children was a pain so I just haphazardly treated it like we're in some kinda army.
But their unexpected enthusiasm took me by surprise.
(Hm? What now? This is heading in a weird direction...?)
And thus, I was getting a bit worried for the future as I began the kids' education by chance.