Book Two - My Parents and I
What struck me on returning home was how little my father's health had changed in my absence.
"Welcome home. So, you've graduated. That's splendid. Give me a moment to go wash up."
Father had been doing something in the garden. He was wearing an old straw hat with a soiled handkerchief tied behind to block the sun. The handkerchief flapped as he went round back to the well.
To me, graduation was nothing special. It was what one did as a matter of course. My father's elation caught me off guard.
"You've graduated. Splendid."
He repeated this time and again. In my mind, I compared my father's elation with Sensei's expression as he'd toasted me that night at his dinner table after the ceremony. Sensei, who'd outwardly cheered my graduation while inwardly disparaging it, seemed nobler somehow than my father, who was overly pleased by something routine. I began to fault him for his provincialism.
"A university graduation is nothing all that splendid. Hundreds graduate each year."
When I finally voiced my thoughts, he looked at me in an odd way.
"It's not just your graduation I'm calling splendid. Your graduation, no doubt, is splendid enough, but there's more to my words than just that. If you'd see things once from my perspective ..."
I tried to ask what he meant, but he was reluctant to continue. After a bit, he finally went on.