How do you feel now, Lily? Father asked. Still angry? I guess not, Lily decided. I guess I feel a little sorry for him. And sorry I made a fist. She grinned. Jonas smiled back at his sister. Lily’s feelings were always straightforward, fairly simple, usually easy to resolve. He guessed that his own had been, too, when he was a Seven. He listened politely, though not very attentively, while his father took his turn, describing a feeling of worry that he’d had that day at work: a concern about one of the Famer Samurai shirt new children who wasn’t doing well.
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Jonas’s father’s title was Nurturer. He and the other Nurturers were responsible for all the Famer Samurai shirt physical and emotional needs of every new child during its earliest life. It was a very important job, Jonas knew, but it wasn’t one that interested him much. What gender is it? Lily asked. Male, Father said. He’s a sweet little male with a lovely disposition. But he isn’t growing as fast as he should, and he doesn’t sleep soundly. We have him in the extra care section for supplementary nurturing, but the committee’s beginning to talk about releasing him. Oh, no, Mother murmured sympathetically. I know how sad that must make you feel. Jonas and Lily both nodded sympathetically as well. The release of new children was always sad because they hadn’t had a chance to enjoy life within the community yet. And they hadn’t done anything wrong.