Some of my friends had secured middle school teaching positions well in advance of graduation. Deep down, I knew that Sensei's wife was right. However, I replied with, "A bit of Sensei must have rubbed off on me."
"Well, don't let it be more than a bit."
Sensei forced a smile. "No harm if it does rub off, just remember what I told you the other day. While your father's still with you, arrange for your share of his wealth. Until you've done so you mustn't rest easy."
I recalled that day in early May, when Sensei and I had ventured out of the city and into the vast gardens of a nursery where azaleas were in bloom. On our way home, Sensei had become quite worked up. I replayed in my mind the forceful words he'd directed my way. They had, on second thought, rang more dire than forceful. At the same time, however, I did not know what was behind them, and they'd failed to move me.
"Tell me, how much money do you and Sensei have?"
"Why would you ask such a thing?"
"Because Sensei refuses to tell me."
She smiled and looked at Sensei. "Probably because there's nothing worth telling."
"But I'd like to know what it takes to live like Sensei. Please tell me, so when I speak with my father I can know what I'm after."
Sensei had turned toward the garden and was smoking with an air of detachment. My only recourse was to continue with his wife.
"It's not enough to even make mention of. We find a way to get by as we are. -- At any rate, you really must apply yourself to something. Just idling about like Sensei is out of the question ..."
"I don't just idle about." Sensei turned his head to challenge his wife's words.