We were amongst the crowds. All around us were happy faces. Until we'd moved on to the woods, away from both blossoms and people, there was no opportunity to continue on this topic.
"Love is iniquity?" I asked abruptly as we entered the woods.
"It is, without a doubt, iniquity." Sensei's reply was no less emphatic than before.
"You'll understand in time. Then again, you may understand already. Isn't there some aching in your heart, there for a good while now, that's stirred by love?"
I paused for a moment to reflect on my innermost feelings. Contrary to Sensei's premise, there was nothing there. Nothing at all came to mind.
"My heart, as clear as I can reckon, has nothing for which it aches. I wouldn't hesitate to confide in you if it did."
"That's precisely why it aches. It lacks any object of affection, and it won't find peace until it's grasped one."
"At present, I can't say it bothers me."
"You're somehow unfulfilled. Isn't that what brings you to seek my counsel?"
"That may be the case, but it's not related to love."
"It's a step on the path toward love. The bond you've formed with me is but preparation for the greater bond you'll form with a woman someday."
"The two things strike me as entirely dissimilar."
"No, they're the same. As a man, of course, I can never satisfy the aching in your heart. Furthermore, there are certain circumstances that render me of much less use to you than I should be. Of this I'm truly sorry, for your sake. You'll have to turn away from me and go elsewhere. I'm even compelled to hope that you do. However ..."
I felt a strange sense of sorrow.