In fact, my fixation on "humanity" was grounded in my feelings for the daughter of our house. Instead of assaulting K's ears with theories distilled from that truth, I'd have been better served by revealing it to him directly. The bond between us, though, was built on erudition, and it had come to possess its own form of inertia. I'll confess here that I lacked the courage to upset that inertia. I didn't dare perturb it with sentiment. I could say that pretentiousness got the better of me, or I could say that vanity worked its mischief. However, I use the terms "pretentiousness" and "vanity" here in not quite their usual sense. As long as you understand this, then I'm content.
We returned to Tōkyō burnt black by the sun. By that time my outlook had changed. I had lost all interest in splitting hairs over what was or wasn't humanity. K too had shed his sage-like aura. By that time, I expect, his thoughts were free from problems of the spirit and problems of the flesh. Like aliens with our darkened faces, we watched as Tōkyō teemed with motion around us. At Ryōgoku, despite the heat, we dined on game fowl. Newly energized, K suggested we walk home to Koishikawa. I could generally better him in matters of physical endurance, so I readily agreed.
Okusan was shocked at the sight of us when we arrived home. In addition to our dark complexions, we were both gaunt from our endless trekking. All the same, Okusan complimented us on how fit we both looked. The daughter couldn't help but laugh at her mother's glaring inconsistency. Her laughter, though, which had annoyed me on occasion prior to our journey, this time brightened my mood. Perhaps because of the circumstances, or perhaps due to our long absence.