He had no idea that he was indulging in a disgusting habit, but being the son of a fisherman means he can’t afford the luxury or time to wash his hands before every single meal. Besides, the dirt beneath his fingernails have long caked there permanently, and have taken residence in every wrinkle found on his hands. Washing his hands won’t make much difference to his personal hygiene.
But the crowd is pointing at him and his friends with accusing fingers and rolling eyes, and he feels like there’s just no way to please everyone so please stop pointing as if you write all of life’s rules. And it’s a good thing his teacher is there with them, who makes a witty yet cryptic comeback by saying that their words are what’s filthy – spewed out like a black cloud that settles on their hands, their clothes, their choices in whatever they do.
The truth seems to burn their tongues and they leave in a fuming anger, and he wonders what it will take before they’d be willing to admit their loss.