Having failed to lose myself in my books, I tried for a time to forget myself by drowning my soul in saké. I can't say I'm given to drink. However, I can drink when I want to, and with enough drink, I thought, I could quell the ache in my heart. Such shallow expedient, over time, only furthered my sense of misanthropy. In the height of drunken stupor, I would suddenly come to myself. I would feel a fool, going to lengths to delude myself so. With a shudder, my eyes and my heart would both snap to sobriety. There were also times when no amount of drink could push the world away, when all I did was depress myself. Furthermore, every pleasurable moment I finessed from the bottle was paid back in full with subsequent gloom. The people I cherished most, my wife and her mother, bore witness to this. They could only judge me of course, on the basis of that which they knew.
My wife's mother, it seems, sometimes voiced her disapproval. My wife kept this from me. However, she couldn't always refrain from reproaching me of her own accord. Even when she reproached me, she was not harsh. Only rarely did her words ever rile me. She would often entreat me to tell her honestly what she'd done to displease me. She would caution me, for the sake of my own future, to not drink so. Sometimes she would weep and tell me I'd changed. That was fair, but then she would add, "You wouldn't be like this if K were alive." At times I acknowledged that perhaps this was so. However, the meaning in my acknowledgement and the meaning she took from it were a world apart. Inwardly, this saddened me. Even so, I was not inclined to explain myself.