K and I enrolled in the same college. With his devil-may-care attitude, he proceeded to use the money from his foster family to pursue his own studies. I couldn't but conclude that there were two thoughts in his mind. The first was that they wouldn't find out, and the second was so-what-if-they-did. Between the two of us, K seemed the lesser concerned.
K didn't return home that first summer. He told me of his plans to rent a room at a temple in Komagome and study there. I returned in early September and, sure enough, found him holed up in a tumbledown temple near the Great Kannon. He had a small room off the main hall, where he seemed most content to study as he pleased. That was, I believe, when I first noticed how priest-like he'd become. He wore a ring of prayer beads on his wrist. I asked what they were for, and he showed me how he could count them off with his thumb. Each day, it seemed, he counted his way round and round the ring. I failed to see the significance of this. In counting beads round a ring, there was no end. At what point in his counting, or with what thought in his mind, did he bring his hand to a halt? This is a trifling point, but I often wondered nonetheless.
I saw that K had a Bible in his room. This surprised me. I'd known him to talk often of the sutras, but I'd never heard him express any interest in Christianity. I couldn't help but ask why he had it. He asked in return why he shouldn't. Any writing so cherished by so many was certainly worth a read. In addition, he wanted to read the Koran when he had a chance. He seemed fascinated by the concept of "Muhammad and the Sword."