A strange unease washed over me. I tried to read but couldn't concentrate. An hour passed, and Sensei appeared below my window and called my name. Surprised, I opened the window. He asked from below if I'd walk with him. I took out my watch, which was still tucked into the folds of my sash, and saw that it was a bit past eight. I was still dressed as for my visit, so I immediately went out front.
Sensei and I drank beer together that night. Sensei was not a heavy drinker. If the first few drinks didn't cheer him, he wasn't one to double down by drinking more.
"It's no use tonight," he said with a forced smile.
"The drink's not helping you?" I asked with some sympathy.
For my part, the earlier incident had been weighing on my mind the entire time, making me anxious. It was akin to a fishbone stuck in one's throat. I would think about speaking to Sensei frankly, then reconsider and decide not to. These inner vacillations, no doubt, presented themselves outwardly as an odd sort of restlessness.
"You seem out of sorts tonight," Sensei broached the subject. "The truth is, I'm not myself either. I suppose you've noticed."
I had no answer to give.
"I quarreled with my wife earlier. I let petty emotions get the better of me."
"Why did you ..." I couldn't bring myself to voice the word quarrel.
"My wife misunderstands me. And when I try to tell her so, she refuses to listen. I got cross with her."
"In what way does she misunderstand you?"
Sensei did not respond directly to my question. "If I were the kind of man she thinks I am, then I'd have no need to suffer so."
The nature and extent of Sensei's suffering were entirely unknown to me.