We continued on in this manner for five or six years following Mother's death. Father scolded me. I quarreled with my older brother. Kiyo gave me sweets, along with occasional words of praise. I didn't lack for anything in particular, and I was content with things as they were. I figured things were about the same for me as for any other boy. Except that Kiyo would often mention how I was unfortunate, and how I was to be pitied, so I wondered if maybe there was something to this. Otherwise I had no particular concerns, apart from the lack of any pocket money from Father.
In the sixth year after Mother's death, Father died of a stroke during the New Year's holiday. In April of that same year, I completed my studies at a private middle school. In June, my older brother graduated from business school and joined a company that had an opening in their Kyūshū branch. I needed to stay behind in Tōkyō to complete my studies. He proposed to sell off the house and property before departing for his new post, and I told him to do as he pleased. I had no intention of becoming a burden to him. If I were under his care we'd only quarrel, and sooner or later he'd find reason to run me out. In exchange for his half-hearted guardianship I'd be forced to feign respect. I was resolved to earn my own living, even if I had to deliver milk bottles.
He proceeded to call in a second-hand dealer and unloaded our ancestral belongings at rock-bottom price. He sold the house and grounds through a broker to a wealthy buyer. This apparently netted a large sum, but I know nothing of the details. A month prior to the sale, I took up temporary lodging in Ogawamachi in Kanda to wait for things to settle. Kiyo was terribly disappointed to see the house she had lived in for so long pass to a stranger, but she had no stake in the property, so there was nothing she could do. She remarked dolefully how if only I were a little older I could inherit the house. If I could inherit the house when I was a little older, then there's no reason I couldn't inherit it now. The old woman had no understanding of such matters. It was my older brother's property, yet she believed that if I were just a little older it would somehow be mine.