My doubts about Okusan began with the smallest of things. The smallest of things, however, as they recur over time, can give rise to serious doubts. Somewhere along the way, I began to wonder if Okusan wasn't pushing her daughter on me, just as my uncle had done. This woman, whom I'd thought a person of kindness, all of a sudden appeared to me a cunning schemer. Contempt welled from within me.
Okusan had made it known from the start that her house was too quiet and she wished, therefore, to take in a boarder. I didn't doubt this. After we grew close and I'd learned more about her, this motive still seemed valid. On the other hand, her financial situation was far from secure. In the interest of her own material comfort, I was not an unattractive prospect.
Once again I put up my guard. Being on guard against the mother, however, was of little avail, as my affections toward the daughter continued unattenuated. Inwardly, I derided myself. I cursed my own foolishness. This conflict in my heart, though, however foolish, was nothing to caused me pain. It was doubts of the daughter, that she might be as much the schemer as her mother, that first brought on my anguish. The thought that the two of them, behind my back, were scheming this all, was at once unbearable. I wasn't merely displeased. I was utterly and hopelessly despondent. Even at that, there was a part of me that firmly believed in the daughter. I was caught halfway between devotion and distrust, frozen in place. Both were unreal, and at the same time both were the truth.