Without speaking, I seated myself next to the ladies. Okusan suggested I offer a stick of incense. I offered my incense and remained seated, still saying nothing. The daughter did not address me. She occasionally exchanged a word or two with her mother, but only concerning tasks at hand. She was not yet, it seemed, ready to talk of K and the times we had had. Inwardly, I was relieved to have spared her the frightful scene of the night prior. To show such horror to one so young and so beautiful, I'd feared, would only risk marring her grace. Even at the height of my own terror, when my hair had stood on end, this thought had governed my actions. The idea of exposing her to the same terror was, to me, no less uninviting than the idea of beating a blameless flower to shreds.
K's father and brother arrived from the country, and I shared with them my recommendation regarding his remains. K and I had often strolled around Zōshigaya. K was very much taken with the place. I remembered telling him, half in jest, that if he liked it so much then I'd see to it he was buried there. I wondered if there was really any virtue now in doing as I'd promised. I did desire, though, to kneel each month at his grave, for as long as I might live, and express anew my regret. Perhaps out of obligation to me, since I'd looked after K while they had not, his father and brother readily acquiesced.