I went to the sickroom to check again on Father. To my surprise, all round the sickbed was calm. I motioned to my mother, who was seated there with a tired and helpless look, and asked how he was.
"He seems to be holding out better now," she replied.
I leaned close to Father's face. "How do you feel? Did the enema help a bit?"
Father nodded, then said, "Thank you," quite clearly. His mind was not as far gone as I'd feared.
I withdrew again from the sickroom and returned to my own room. I looked at the clock and checked the train schedule. In an instant, I was back on my feet and was straightening my sash. I dropped Sensei's letter into my sleeve pocket. After that I left through the side door. Hardly conscious of my own actions, I rushed to the doctor's house. I intended to ask him frankly if Father would last a few more days. I intended to ask his help, through injections or any means possible, to make Father hold on. Regrettably, the doctor was out. I didn't have the time, or the self-composure, to await his return. I immediately hired a rickshaw and raced for the station.
I held a piece of paper against the station wall and penciled a note to my mother and brother. It was tersely worded, but still preferable, I reckoned, to disappearing with no notice. I instructed the rickshaw driver to quickly run it back home. Then, with a burst of resolve, I jumped aboard the train bound for Tōkyō. Amid the rumbling of the third-class carriage, I pulled Sensei's letter from my sleeve pocket and read it through from start to finish.