Deep down, in that moment, I hated Sensei. Even as we walked together again, shoulders side by side, I refrained from giving voice to the questions in my mind. Sensei, for his part, whether he noticed or not, showed not the slightest concern. As he ambled on with his easy gait and signature reticence, I grew more and more spiteful. I wanted to somehow get under his skin.
"You were a little worked up back there in the gardens. I've seldom ever seen you like that. Were you showing another side of yourself?"
Sensei made no immediate reply. I thought maybe I'd gotten to him. I also feared that maybe I'd missed the mark. At any rate, I decided to leave it at that. Sensei suddenly stepped to the side of the road, tucked up his shirttails, and relieved himself at the base of a neatly-trimmed hedge. I stood by idly as he finished his business.
"Pardon the delay."
With that he started walking again. I gave up at this point on arguing him into a corner. The road we were walking gradually came to life. The hills and valleys, with their wide cultivated fields, disappeared from view as houses closed in on both sides. Even still, the neighborhoods were quiet, and in some of the yards we saw peas climbing bamboo trelliswork, or chickens penned in by wire screen. A succession of cart horses, returning from the city center, approached and passed us by. Such sights were wont to grab my attention, and the questions that had occupied my thoughts were soon forgotten. When Sensei suddenly resurfaced our earlier exchange, it hit me as out of the blue.