Four others followed the old man off the train, and only one boarded in their place. The compartment, which hadn't been very full to begin with, suddenly seemed deserted. A station attendant could be heard walking the roof to drop in lighted lamps from above. As if remembering to do something, Sanshirō started in on the bentō box he'd bought at the last station.
Several minutes after the train had started again on its way, the woman quietly rose and passed by Sanshirō on her way out of the car. He caught sight of her kimono sash for the first time. Chewing on the head of a stewed ayu, he watched her from behind as she walked away. Thinking she probably went off to the restroom, he continued his meal.
The woman came back after a while, and this time Sanshirō watched her from the front. He was almost through eating. Looking down, he thrust his chopsticks in with vigor and stuffed his cheeks with two or three mouthfuls. The woman hadn't returned to her seat. Sensing a presence, he raised his eyes and saw she had stopped directly in front of him. As soon as he looked up at her she moved, but rather than passing by and returning to her own seat, she dropped onto the seat in front of his. She turned sideways, put her face to the open window, and gazed silently out. Sanshirō could see her side locks dancing in the wind. Finishing his bentō, he hurled the empty box out the open window behind him. Only one window separated his own from the woman's. When he saw the white lid fluttering back with the wind, he realized he'd been terribly careless. He turned quickly to look at the woman's face, which unfortunately was still at the window. She withdrew from the window silently and began to gently wipe her forehead with a printed cotton handkerchief. Sanshirō decided he had best apologize.
"I'm terribly sorry," he told her.
"Don't worry," she replied, and continued with her handkerchief. Sanshirō was at a loss and kept silent. The woman remained silent too. Then she returned to looking out the window. The weary faces of three or four other passengers were visible under the dim lamps. No one spoke. Only the roar of the engine sounded as the train continued on. Sanshirō closed his eyes.