D-503 reiterates that he will be completely open in his records. Therefore, he must admit that, unfortunately, not everything in the One State has reached its “ideal” state, in which nothing unpredictable happens. Unforeseen circumstances still arise; earlier today, for example, D-503 read in the paper that a Celebration of Justice is scheduled to take place on the Cube Plaza in two days—the resultant consequence of a cipher choosing to disrupt the One State’s plans for progress.
D-503 wrote earlier that unanticipated disruptions are rare, yet one of these incidents has occurred with the first six records of his journals. This suggests that insubordination is more common than D-503 would like to admit, and that he is in denial about ciphers’ unconditional allegiance to the State.
What’s more, D-503 recalls, a different, unforeseen circumstance greeted him during the Personal Hour that day when he received a phone call from I-330, inviting him to the Ancient House. He doesn’t want to go with D-503, and yet—or perhaps because of it—he agrees. Shortly after, the two of them fly in an aero to the Ancient House. A cloud appears before them in the formerly clear, blue sky. D-503 spots blotches of green on the ground beyond the Green Wall.
The cloud’s appearance in the formerly blue, clear sky foreshadows the uncertainty and irrationality that will increasingly dismantle D-503’s life as the novella unfolds. It becomes a frequent habit of D-503’s to go along with I-330 despite (supposedly) not wanting anything to do with her. Still, his actions reveal his repressed desire for her.
D-503 and I-330 arrive at the Ancient House and an old, wrinkled woman greets them. It appears that I-330 is a frequent visitor. The two of them climb up a staircase, and I-330 says she loves the old woman, “Just because,” even though the State forbids loving for the simple sake of loving. D-503 responds, “It’s clear…” but catches himself saying the world “clear.” I-330 hasn’t noticed: her eyes are shut off like lowered blinds. D-503 wonders what she’s thinking and why she invited him to the Ancient House.
The One State denounces loving someone “just because” because love for love’s sake doesn’t fulfill a specific task and does nothing to advance the welfare of the State. When I-330’s eyes shut off, D-503 can’t predict what she’s thinking, and he feels alienated from her.
They enter through an opaque door into an apartment, whose walls are dark-blue. There are multicolored books in the room, a candelabra, and a Buddha statue. The room appears disorganized to D-503, and he’s uncomfortable, though I-330 loves the room—she says it’s her favorite one in the Ancient House. They venture further into the apartment. D-503 notes that I-330’s smile contains “that annoying X.” He becomes infuriated and wants to argue with her. They stand before a mirror and D-503 looks at I-330’s eyes: they are “terrifyingly dark,” and “unknown” to him. D-503 is disturbed to see himself in the mirror. I-330 instructs D-503 to go into the next room. She reappears wearing an old-fashioned yellow dress. He accuses her of wanting to be “original,” which goes against the One State’s regulations.
Nothing in the One State is opaque—it’s all transparent and made of glass—so it’s significant that the Ancient House is constructed of opaque, impenetrable surfaces. The plethora of colors D-503 observes in the Ancient House also stands in direct contrast to the One State, where everything is clear and colorless. The Ancient House’s overly colorful appearance reflects the chaotic, unordered state of the pre-One State world. It’s disarming for D-503 to see himself in the mirror because it forces him to regard himself as an individual person with unique physical traits rather than a faceless cog in the One State machine. In contrast to the identical blue unifs (uniforms) the One State forces ciphers to wear, I-330’s yellow dress makes D-503 see her as uniquely attractive.
I-330 asks D-503 what he’d do if she asked him to stay in the Ancient House with her after the Personal Hour ends. She knows a doctor at the Bureau of Medicine who will write him a phony prescription to get him out of work. D-503 is appalled at I-330’s foolish and risky behavior. Unfazed, I-330 picks up the phone and arranges for an unknown someone to meet her at the Ancient House. D-503 takes the aero back to the One State. Although he had a Personal Hour at 21:30, he fails to report I-330 to the Bureau of Guardians, though he promises himself that he’ll do so tomorrow, as misbehavior must be reported within 48 hours.
D-503 tries to rationalize his failure to report I-330 to the Bureau of Guardians, illustrating that he’s in denial about his feelings for her and his capacity to break the State’s rules.