In the quiet of that old house, which was far too large for the few of us there, I unpacked my bags and began to peruse my texts. For whatever reason, I struggled to concentrate. In that second floor room of my lodgings in Tōkyō, where the great city had clamored and the rattle of distant trains had filled my ears, I'd matched the vigor of my surroundings, plowing my way through page after page.
I caught myself readily dozing at my desk. At times, I would even grab a pillow and indulge in a full-fledged nap. On waking, the sounds of cicadas filled my ears. Their chirping, which carried like a call from the greater world outside, would suddenly overwhelm me. I'd listen intently, sometimes struck by a keen sense of loneliness.
I took up my pen and wrote to various friends. To some I penned brief postcards, to others lengthy letters. Some of these friends were still in Tōkyō. Others had returned to far away homes. Some wrote back, and others I didn't hear from. I didn't forget Sensei, of course. I decided to tell him all that had happened since my return home, and I filled three pages with small print in the process. As I sealed the envelope, I wondered whether Sensei was even still in Tōkyō. When Sensei left home with his wife, he always had the same woman tend his house. She looked to be fifty or so, and she wore her hair loose in the style of a widow. I'd once asked Sensei about her, and he'd asked in return who I thought her to be. I'd assumed, incorrectly it turned out, that she was one of his relatives. Sensei informed me that he had no relatives. He'd severed all contact with remaining relations back home. The woman I'd asked about, who tended his house, was of no connection to Sensei. She was a relative on his wife's side. As I posted my letter, I suddenly called her to mind, her narrow kimono sash tied comfortably in back. I wondered, should my letter arrive while Sensei and his wife were away for the summer, if this older widow would have the foresight and consideration to forward it on to them. I knew full well, of course, that there was nothing in it to warrant such handling. I was simply lonesome and anticipating a return letter from Sensei. None arrived.