Father's condition was not as bad as I'd feared. Even so, when I arrived I found him sitting in bed. "Everyone's worried, so I'm biding my time. I'm well enough to get up," he told me.
The very next day, despite my mother's objections, he did get out of bed. "Now that you're home, your father suddenly has his energy back," my mother remarked as she reluctantly folded away the thick futon. It seemed to me, though, that he was not just putting on a brave face - he really did look okay.
My older brother had taken on work in far off Kyūshū. Under all but the most pressing circumstances, it was not easy for him to make his way back. My younger sister had married a man in another province, and she too was not easily summoned home. Of us three siblings, it was me, the student, who was most at the ready to come when called. Father took great satisfaction in the fact that I'd put aside my studies for his sake and come home early at mother's behest.
"I'm sorry we've disrupted your studies. It was really nothing serious. Mother overstates things in her letters." Father spoke thus, and once he was out of bed, he did indeed seem back to his usual self.
"Don't overdo it, or you'll end up back in bed."
Father appreciated my concern but paid little heed to my warning. "I'm fine. I know my limitations."
He did, in fact, look fine. As he moved about the house, there was no shortness of breath, and he experienced no dizzy spells. His complexion was terribly pale, but this had been the case for quite some while, so we saw no particular cause for concern.