The letter I wrote was quite lengthy. Both my mother and I were confident that this time Sensei would respond. Then, two days after I'd posted my letter, another telegram arrived. All it said was that I needn't make the trip. I showed it to my mother.
"He probably intends to fill you in by letter."
To my mother, all of this confirmed that Sensei was moving on my behalf. I couldn't rule this out off hand, but it was not in fitting with Sensei as I knew him. I struggled to imagine him landing me a job.
"Anyway, he couldn't have received my letter yet, so no doubt this telegram preceded it."
I stated the obvious to my mother. After a moment of serious thought, she was compelled to voice her agreement. Whether Sensei had read my letter or not, of course, shed no light whatsoever on the current situation.
Our family doctor was coming from town that same day, and he was bringing the head doctor with him, so we talked no further on this matter. The two doctors examined their patient, flushed him out with an enema, and took their leave.
Since ordered to bedrest by his doctor, my father had relieved himself in bed and relied on others for assistance. This went against his nature, and initially he loathed the thought of it. Circumstances being what they were, though, he grudgingly acquiesced. It may be that his illness was slowly dulling his senses, but with the passing of days he came to think nothing of such indulgence. On occasion he'd soil his futon or sheets. In contrast to the chagrin of those attending him, he himself seemed little concerned. One result of his illness was a sharp drop in the volume of his urine. This concerned his doctor. His appetite too gradually diminished. Once in a while he would get a craving, but it was only a craving of the tongue, and very little would make it past his throat. He lacked the vigor to reach for his cherished paper. The reading glasses by his pillow remained tucked away in their black sleeve. Saku, a childhood friend who still resided nearby, called to see how he was doing. Father greeted him by name and looked at him with heavy eyes.