Sensei's wife impressed me with her insight. Her thought process differed from that of a traditional Japanese woman, and this too greatly piqued my interest. Furthermore, she spoke plainly, eschewing the use of "modern" words that had, of late, come into common use.
I myself was an imprudent young man, yet to experience any meaningful female contact. As a man, of course, I was drawn to the opposite sex, and in my musings, women were an object of constant desire. In my musings, though, I evoked these women only vaguely. I saw them like lovely clouds, floating by on an enchanting springtime breeze. When confronted with a real woman, my feelings were prone to tumultuous change. Rather than feel attraction, I might well feel an odd sense of repulsion. Sensei's wife, though, had no such effect on me. That gulf between men and women, who view the world so differently, was hardly apparent. I was no longer conscious of conversing with a woman. She was simply another who, through faithful observation and sympathetic reflection, knew Sensei well.
"A while back, when I asked you why Sensei had disengaged from the world, there was something you said to me. You told me he'd changed."
"He really has changed. He wasn't like this before."
"What was he like."
"He was exactly what we both wish him to be - a man full of promise."
"How could he have changed so abruptly?"
"It wasn't abrupt. It happened gradually, over time."
"And you were by him all this time?"
"Of course. We're husband and wife."
"Then you must, I expect, have some idea what caused him to change."