I was a teacher at a high school. At that time, I was the advisor of the table tennis club. The game ended in disappointment, but I was satisfied with the students’ efforts because they worked hard until the end. Club activities in Japan are usually held even on holidays. The amount of money they get for returning from holidays is less than 1,000 yen per time. In such a situation, Japanese teachers work for their students as a matter of course, without looking back at their families.
As we left the gym, a light rain began to fall. In front of the gymnasium, there was a group of students making some kind of noise. As I approached, I saw a swallow struggling to fly in a puddle of water.
Not a single person was willing to help. I knew that neither sparrows nor swallows were allowed in the house, but I picked up the swallow by hand, put it in a piece of tissue paper, and drove home.
I dissolved some small bird food in water and fed it patiently.
Little by little it began to eat, but like the sparrow the other day, it must have fallen out of the nest. The damage must have been quite severe. Her bones may have been broken. In spite of this situation, he was feeding for a few days, but suddenly died within a week. I will never forget the sight of her walking on one leg in the garden. I felt that a chick that fell out of the nest would have a hard time surviving. I still felt that way, so I was prepared for the sparrow the other day, but I could not save it.
The students knew that I had brought the sparrow home.
I probably should have told them that the sparrow had died within a week, but I was still going strong. I lied and said it would be a few more days before it could fly away.
Then I lied again, saying that the swallow had flown away in good health.
The students looked relieved. Some of them must have been curious.
I had become a hero for saving the swallow. The students told me that I had done the right thing.
But it wasn’t. I didn’t want to see the swallow in the puddle, unable to fly, flapping its wings. And I couldn’t believe that none of the students were trying to save it. I could not tolerate the students who stood by and watched her suffer, so I just picked her up. Now that I had saved them, I had to help them. I guess everyone is hesitant to try to save them when they think about it. I’ve seen kittens and dogs abandoned in cardboard boxes, but I couldn’t save them.
But I thought I might be able to save a little bird. But I could not save it.
In addition, I lied to my students.
Maybe I should have told them that the bird was dead.
Maybe I should have told the students the reality of death.
Earlier, I looked over the front door. Yesterday there were two large open-mouthed sparrows, but today I could only see one. I hope they are tucked away in the back of the nest and are well enough to fly away.
I still think that the sparrow that died yesterday and the swallow at that time have both flown away alive in my mind.