Thus I stood, frozen in place, incapable of movement in any direction. There are times when one is unwell and requires rest. The eyes alone are alert, and all around is plain to see, but the hands and feet are utterly void of volition. Unbeknownst to others, I often suffered a similar form of distress.
The old year drew to a close, and New Year's was upon us. One day, Okusan asked K to bring a friend over for karuta. She was taken aback when K promptly replied that he had no friends. In fact, there really was no one whom he could truly call a friend. There were those whom he greeted in passing on the street, but that by no means implied that he could invite them over for games. Okusan tried again with me, asking if I could invite someone I knew. Regrettably, I was in no mood for merrymaking. I sidestepped her request, giving a noncommittal and lukewarm response. However, when evening came both K and I were coerced out by the young lady of the house. Playing karuta with just us members of the household, and no guests, the scene was quite subdued. Furthermore, K was unaccustomed to games and could do no better than observe idly. I asked him if he even knew the hundred karuta verses. He replied that he really didn't. The young lady, apparently, decided I was deriding him. Thereafter, she made a point of coming to his assistance. In the end, the two were like a team, with me as their chosen adversary. One false move from K, and I would have confronted them both with harsh words. Fortunately though, his manner was unaffected. There was no show of triumph in his demeanor, and the situation passed without incident.