I went to my room and surveyed the baggage left lying there. It was tied up tightly, ready to be carried out at any moment. I stood before it, wondering vaguely if I should unpack.
I passed the next few days in a restless state, like one half risen from his seat. Then Father collapsed again. The doctor ordered absolute rest.
"What do you think?" Mother asked me privately in a quiet voice, a look of discouragement on her face.
I was ready to send out telegrams to my brother and sister. However, Father seemed to be resting comfortably. From his speech and overall manner, one would hardly know he was ailing from more than a cold. On top of that, his appetite was voracious. We cautioned him, but to no avail.
"I don't have long anyway, so where's the harm in a little indulgence?"
I found his use of the word "indulgence" both amusing and, at the same time, in some way pathetic. Father had never lived in the big city, and he had no idea of true indulgence. In the evenings, he would have my mother grill rice cakes and chew them down greedily.
"What's behind these cravings? Somewhere inside, his body must still be sound."
My mother was pinning her hopes in thin air. At the same time, her use of the word "craving" all but acknowledged that Father was not his usual self.
My uncle came to visit, and only reluctantly did Father let him leave. Loneliness was the main reason, but he also believed himself underfed, and he was looking for a sympathetic ear.