By the time I'd left my hometown, my outlook on life had grown quite dark. The conviction that others cannot be trusted, it seemed, had firmly taken root in my bones. I'd come to regard my uncle and aunt and other relatives, who in my mind were adversaries, as proxies for all mankind. Even on the train, I'd found myself unwittingly scrutinizing my fellow passengers. Any who ventured to engage me merely stoked my suspicions. My soul was beaten down. It often felt heavy, as though I'd swallowed lead. At the same time, as I've just described, my nerves were keenly on edge.
I think this is largely what drove me to quit my lodgings after returning to Tōkyō. I can make the case that financial freedom spurred me to set off on my own, but my former self, even with the means to do so, would never have gone to such lengths.
Even after relocating to Koishikawa, this tension within me persisted. I felt shame at the way I nervously surveyed my surroundings. Curiously enough, only my mind and my eyes functioned keenly. My mouth, in contrast, grew less and less active. Sitting silently at my desk, I observed the others in cat-like fashion. I sometimes felt bad for them, subjected to my constant mistrust. I felt like a thief in their midst, albeit one who refrains from theft. At times I fell to self-loathing.
This must strike you as odd. How could I, in such a state, feel affection toward the young lady? How could I gaze happily at her uninspired flowers? In the same vein, how could I listen with pleasure to her unpracticed koto? All I can say in response to such questions is that the feelings I've described to you were genuine. You can work out the explanation in your own mind, but I will add here just one more thought. My trust in humanity was gone with regard to money, but not with regard to love. This may come across as strange, and I too was aware of the inconsistency, but in my heart these feelings coexisted nonetheless.