Loaf of Bread

Upon our arrival at the factory, a cutting-edge knife manufacturing facility established by a benevolent organization, I had formed a few acquaintances. I only saw them while on duty and had never socialized with them outside of work. Among them, one individual stood out to me. I had never disclosed my domestic plight to him, yet he seemed to be cognizant of it. He consistently made efforts to look after me.

He exuded an air of jubilance, and like myself, he was of humble means. Despite the harsh winter weather, he persistently wore his work clothes, a sight that caused me much sorrow as I knew he did not possess a coat. As a result, I had resolved to save a minuscule amount of money, with the intention of purchasing him a modest but durable coat when winter arrived. Fortunately, it is currently autumn. His name is Thomas.

My colleagues and friends often likened Thomas and I to the Sun and Moon, with Thomas being the embodiment of brightness and myself being the embodiment of melancholy. I cannot fault them for this perception, as I do possess a penchant for a melancholic disposition. I had even considered cutting my long black hair in an attempt to alter their perception, despite my personal inclination towards it.

My role at the factory primarily involved honing the knives crafted by the older workers. The task could become quite arduous as we were not provided with gloves and were required to perform our duties with bare hands. The heat was a constant affliction, but one becomes accustomed to it over time.

My father and I would separate after signing in at the administration room. I would proceed to my designated work area, while my father would depart. Thomas, however, would always await me in the administration room, at the opposite end of the hallway.

“Top of the morning Dante! Had a good sleep?”

As boisterous as ever… A perfect substitute for a cup of coffee, his energy alone is invigorating…

“Yeah, I’ve been okay.”

Thomas approached me and ruffled my hair, great. Now it’s disheveled again…

“Lookin a little pale today mate, you sure you’re… okay…?”

He forgot I was with my father, as I mentioned earlier, it seemed as if he were privy to my domestic circumstances. He raised his gaze and saw my father glaring at him.

“Good morning mister Porter! Let’s make it a good day today alright!”

He attempted to greet him cheerfully, only for my father to leave an awkward silence as he walked away without a word.

My other friends arrived as well, we were a group of four individuals. We had all met each other at the inception of the factory. I could say that we had grown quite close to one another, even my reticent self had warmed up to them, it was a pleasant feeling to say the least.

Me, Thomas, Okabe, and Gabriel. Okabe’s parents were foreigners, hailing from the distant country of Japan. However, Okabe had been born here.

He was not well-versed in the customs of his motherland. He and Gabriel possessed a more relaxed disposition. Both of them were not as impoverished as Thomas and I, yet were still of modest means to be working at the factory. They both had the opportunity to attend school, a privilege that I envied. I am certain Thomas did as well.

Gabriel was the tallest among us, he also possessed the most striking visage. It was sometimes difficult to reconcile that he lived a life of poverty. He possessed all the desirable attributes, with his beautiful short-cropped blonde hair, hazel blue eyes, and well-proportioned physique.

Okabe was the shortest among us, he also commonly donned his work clothes, almost as frequently as Thomas did. He often bore a relaxed expression on his face and was never reticent to engage in conversation. He bore a visible scar on the right side of his face, and he would become hostile whenever anyone inquired about it.

Thomas was our jester, it still befuddled me how he and the others were able to maintain such a positive disposition. I would constantly observe them at the workplace, and it was astounding to me that they were able to laugh and jest while we worked. Thomas was almost as tall as Gabriel, he had freckles on his face, green eyes, and ginger hair color. He often had his hair tied back.

Then, there was me. Compared to my contemporaries, I appeared to be the most unwell. I donned larger-sized garments to obscure my gaunt physique. Though I was unable to conceal my emaciated visage from the others, it was a small price to pay. My dark brown eyes did not lend themselves to an appearance of vitality.

“You sick or something? You’re looking so pale, did you have breakfast?” Gabriel inquired.

I ignored Gabriel and cast my gaze upon my father, who was already occupied with his work.

“No…”

Gabriel reached into his satchel and procured a substantial piece of cinnamon-sugared bread, which he proffered to me.

“Work this down, I also have some water for you. We have some time before we go work anyways.”

I was relieved to have something to eat for breakfast, as I had gone nearly two days without sustenance. I was famished…

We engaged in idle chitchat, with Thomas regaling us with his fantastical tales, as was his wont. He frequently related the dreams he had recently experienced.

But all good things must come to an end, and it was time to commence work. Thankfully, it was also a Saturday, so we did not have to labor on Sundays, which was the day I finally got to rest.

After 4 hours of sharpening, we got to take a little breath, for 30 minutes.

We sat together at a table outside, and they all brought food with them. However, I did not have anything with me. I surmised that we only had enough food to eat before nightfall, and nothing to bring with us for the day. I should suggest to my father that we should endeavor to go hunting sometime. We live in close proximity to nature, after all.

Where even is he? Should he not be here…

I observed my father indulging in a hearty meal of meat and bread with his colleagues. Lucky him…

“What are ya dozing off for Dante?” Thomas queried.

I shrugged it off, shaking my head, it was nothing, I was accustomed to this, anyhow. My friends most likely did not have enough to share, anyhow, so I would let them be.

“Oh, it’s nothing, perhaps I did not sleep enough.”

To my surprise, Thomas handed me a piece of bread.

“Here ya go, fella! Chomp it down, you bony vessel.”

I supposed it was my lucky day, today.

“Thank you.”

We continued our banter, and Gabriel made an unusual comment about me.

“Do you guys not think Dante’s vocabulary is so different from ours?”

“Oooh, yeah! He talks like those noble squirrels!” Thomas replied.

Even Okabe silently nodded in agreement. Me, being compared to nobility? What a jest.

“Oh please friends.”

“Hey, why not go out together tomorrow? Go in the woods, the cities, steal some food for ourselves, ya?” Thomas proposed.

“But tomorrow is resting day, you know that. Stores are most likely closed on Sundays.” Okabe responded.

Gabriel insisted on Thomas his idea

“Let’s try it okay? We come here at noon, at the front gate. Is that okay?”

We eventually came to an agreement to venture out together the following day. The only issue was our parents…

The day had come to a close. I returned home with my father, it was always a comfort to be reunited with my family, who were all in good health. My mother was engaged in preparing a meal, and my younger brother greeted me with enthusiasm, having evidently missed me greatly.

“Dante! Papa!”

“Hello Noah, have you been a good boy?”

“Yes, Dante! I take care of mommy!”

I surmised that my sisters were asleep, but my mother noticed our return as well. My father had retired to their bedroom, and I was left in the company of Noah and my mother.

“Hello honey, how was work?”

“It was okay mother, I feel a little bit better, too.”

“Oh! Speaking of, I made some tea which I believe will make you feel even better!”

She retrieved the teapot and a cup, and poured me a serving.

“Here, drink up!”

I had never imbibed tea of such excellent quality before, and I felt a sense of pure euphoria with my first sip.

“Where did you get this from mother?”

“I made it myself dear, with some herbs, plants, cinnamon, and sugar.”

Such simple ingredients, yet such a delightful flavor…

“I really like it, mother. I would love to drink more.”

“I’m so glad you do dear. Get yourself dressed up, let’s loosen up before we go to bed.”

I changed into my nightclothes, and returned downstairs. I spent some time with my family, my father, however, was engrossed in a book and not inclined to converse with us.

I retired to my bedchamber, what a beautiful night sky it was tonight…

— New chapter is coming soon —
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