After that, I called at Sensei's house from time to time. I always found him at home. As my visits grew in number, so too did their frequency.
Sensei's manner toward me though, even later on in our friendship, showed little change from the time of our initial encounter. He was always reserved. Sometimes he was too reserved, almost withdrawn. I'd sensed from the start that he was somehow a hard man to approach. At the same time, I'd felt most keenly a need to approach him. I was perhaps, in all the world, the only soul who felt this way toward Sensei. However, this instinct of mine was later vindicated by the course of events. It's a source of both pride and comfort to me now that, despite being deemed naïve or foolish, I trusted my inner voice. A man capable of love, in fact incapable of not loving, yet unable to embrace those whom he would cherish -- such a man was Sensei.
As I've mentioned, Sensei was always reserved. He was always composed. However, a peculiar shadow would at times cross his countenance, like the dark shadow of a bird as it passes a window. Almost before one noticed, it was gone again. It was at the cemetery in Zōshigaya, when I'd called out abruptly to Sensei, that I first observed this shadow on his brow. In that brief, unnatural moment, the ebb of my heart had lost a touch of its usual verve. It was just a momentary lapse, and soon enough I was fully myself again. I thought no more on that dark shadow till one evening in late autumn, when suddenly it came back to bear.