In the midst of all this commotion, I could still sit quietly at times. On some occasions, I could open a book and read ten pages undisturbed. My baggage, once bound up so tightly, was by now fully undone. I took out various items as needed. I thought back to the goals I'd set for the summer on leaving Tōkyō. I hadn't achieved but a third of them. The discontent of such failure was nothing new to me. However, I'd rarely fallen so short as this past summer. I told myself such failures were typical, common to all men, but to little consolation.
Stewing in my displeasure, I thought on the one hand of my father's illness. I imagined our lives without him. At the same time, I thought on the other hand of Sensei. These two countenances, so different in their schooling, disposition, and social standing, bracketed my sour mood at both ends.
As I sat there, away from my father's bedside and off by myself among scattered books, with arms folded in front of me, my mother appeared.
"Why not rest for a bit? You must be worn out."
My mother did not understand what I was thinking. And I was not so naïve as to expect that she should. I merely thanked her. She remained in the doorway.
"How is Father?" I asked.
"He's sleeping soundly now," she answered.
To my surprise, she came in and sat at my side.
"Any word yet from Sensei?"
She'd placed her faith in me. I'd assured her that Sensei would write me back without fail. From the start, however, I'd never anticipated the kind of answer my parents were hoping for. As things now stood, it was as though I'd knowingly misled them.