I'd been preparing to take my leave, but instead I made my self comfortable again. I didn't want to disrupt the conversation.
"What do you think?" Sensei asked me.
I had never, of course, given any thought to who would die first, Sensei or his wife. All I could do was laugh. "Don't look to me to tell you the number of your days."
"It really is about numbered days, isn't it? Each of us is born with a given amount, no more and no less. Sensei's mother and father, for example, departed this world nearly together."
"They both died on the same day?"
"Not the same day, but close to it. One after the other."
This was news to me. I was intrigued.
"How did they manage that?"
Sensei interrupted his wife before she could answer. "Let's not get into that. It's of no relevance."
Sensei held a fan in his hand, and he made a point of stirring the air with it. Then he turned back to his wife, "Shizu, after I'm gone this house will be yours."
She smiled. "How about the land it's on too?"
"I'm afraid the land's not mine to give, but all my possessions will be yours."
"That's fine, but what do I do with all those Western books?"
"Sell them to a dealer."
"How much are they worth?"
Sensei didn't answer her question. However, he remained fixated on the distant subject of his own death. He seemed convinced that his own death would precede his wife's. His wife, initially, made her best effort to take the discussion in stride. As it went on, though, the subject began to weigh on her feminine sensibilities.