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children squeezed together came into the room timidly,

and sat on the very edge of the soft sofa and watched how

the man with the dark complexion plodded with broad

steps through the luxurious room – wall to wall, stopping

for a moment near a window, then to the hallway, and

back. He spoke energetically and quickly, talking about the

school out towards Ērgļi, which had caught fire just the day

before yesterday. All the writings had burned, but

everything had been memorized, so it should be rewritten.

His rough hand with the thick, yellowed nails once again

caressed the pile of paper. The man talked about how, a

year prior, during this period he was spending a lot of time

in church, each day, attending a number of times a day, and

that had saved him, that had taken him here, “back to his

family,” he said. It reminded him of his father, who had

died in spring - “So that would be your grandpa.” - and his

mama, who waited for all of them at home.

“We have our own mommy,” the oldest boy said, who

clenched his hands into small fists and would have gotten

in the old man’s way had he been a bit bigger.

“Arvīds, you protect your owl.” The man stopped, looked at

the children with a tilted head, then looked once more

without talking. He sat on the desk with a sudden

confusion, murmured, turned his back to the children, and

stooped over the sheets of paper.