K was not the traveling type. It was the first time for me, too, in Bōshū. Not knowing the territory, we climbed ashore when the boat made first land. I believe that was Hota. I don't know how it might have changed since, but in those days it was an utterly wretched fishing village. The whole place reeked of fish. Each time in the sea, we were beaten down by the waves, emerging with scrapes on our hands and our feet. Fist-sized stones were tossed about by the breakers there in a never-ending churn.
I'd soon had enough. K said nothing, however, either for or against the place. His face, too, was pure indifference. At the same time, he seldom came back unscathed from the sea. Finally, at my urging, we moved on to Tomiura. From Tomiura, we went to Nako. The entire coast was a gathering place for students back then, so wherever we went a suitable bathing beach awaited. K and I would perch ourselves on the rocks above the shore and gaze at the color of the distant sea or survey the shallows. From our vantage on the rocks, the views of the water were splendid. Small fish of crimson or indigo, colors not seen in the marketplace, were on brilliant display as they darted about in the clear waves.
I often had a book open before me. K was wont to just sit there in silence. For all I knew, he may have been deeply pensive, may have been drinking in the sights, or may have been daydreaming fancifully. I sometimes lifted my gaze to ask what he was doing. He simply replied that he was doing nothing. I often thought how nice it would be if the young lady of our house, rather than K, were the one seated quietly beside me. That in itself was fine, but I also suspected on occasion that K, as he sat there on those rocks, might perhaps be harboring exactly the same wish.