As the day of my departure finally approached (I believe it was the evening two days prior) Father blacked out again. I was securing my baggage, which I'd packed full with books and clothing. Father had just gone in to bathe. My mother, who'd gone to scrub his back, cried out for me in a loud voice. I went and saw my father, fully naked, supported from behind by my mother. By the time we got him back to the parlor, he was asserting again that all was fine. Out of caution, I stayed at his bedside and cooled his head with a damp washcloth. It was past nine when I finally finished a cursory dinner.
The next day, Father was in surprisingly good spirits. Despite our objections, he insisted on walking to the toilet unaided.
"I'm fine now."
Father repeated the same words he'd said to me after swooning late last year. At that time, true to his word, he really had seemed fine. I thought maybe this time might be the same. The doctor, however, could not be pressed to give any definitive prognosis. He simply advised an abundance of caution. The day of my departure came, but I was too unsettled to bring myself to leave.
"Maybe I should wait a bit and see how he's doing," I suggested to my mother.
"Yes, please do," she replied.
My mother, who had shown no concern before with Father puttering about in the garden or backyard, was now overly concerned and worrying herself sick.
"Weren't you leaving for Tōkyō today?" my father asked me.
"Yes, but I've put it off for a bit," I replied.
"On my account, then?" he asked further.
I hesitated. If I answered yes, it would only confirm the gravity of his condition. I didn't want to set his nerves on edge. My father, though, could see what I was thinking.
"I'm sorry for this," he said as he gazed at the garden.