I did make various mention of K's health and how, if left alone, he would only skew more eccentric. I also talked about K's failed relationship with his adoptive family and his estrangement from his birth family. In bringing in K, I informed her, I was prepared to embrace a drowning man and revive him with my own lifeblood. On that note, I implored both Okusan and her daughter to treat K with utmost kindness. At this point, Okusan was finally persuaded. K though, to whom I said nothing, was unaware of all this. I thought this for the best, and as he stolidly moved himself in, I welcomed him with a look of indifference.
Okusan and her daughter helped K settle in and attended kindly to his needs. Inwardly, I was well pleased, as I knew they were doing so in deference to me. -- K, for his part, was his usual sullen self.
When I asked K how he liked his new surroundings, he replied simply that they weren't bad. As I saw things, this was quite the understatement. His previous place was a north-facing room. It was damp, musty, and filthy. And the board was no better than the room. For K, moving from there into my house was akin to coming out of a deep ravine to the top of a tall tree. His subdued response was in part due to his obstinacy and in part due to his tenets. Brought up as he was in Buddhist doctrine, he viewed anything beyond the essentials as extravagance and moral corruption. He was versed in the tales of virtuous priests and eminent saints of old, and he sought to separate the spirit from the flesh. He may have, at times, been wont to scourge his body for the betterment of his soul.
I took great care not to confront him. The best way to melt ice, I reasoned, was to set it out in the sun. In due time it would melt into warm water, and when it did it would react to its own transformation.