In some respects, K's contempt for me may have been justified. It could be argued that he'd set his sights much higher than mine. I wouldn't refute it. However, lofty goals, when coupled with day in and day out drudgery, make for the proverbial strange bedfellows. What he desperately needed, in my opinion, was a healthy dose of humanity. He could fill his head with images of great men, but to what purpose, I asked myself, if his own path to greatness were thwarted. His first lesson in humanity, I decided, should be exposure to the opposite sex. By exposing him to female company, I hoped to loose the rust from his lifeblood and see him renewed.
My efforts began to gradually bear fruit. What once seemed immiscible slowly started to mix. It seemed to dawn on K, bit by bit, that there existed a world outside of himself. He turned to me one day and conceded that women were not so contemptible after all. He had initially, it seemed, expected of women the same scholarship and learning he expected of me. Not finding it, he'd unleashed his contempt in response. He hadn't learned to adjust his approach based on gender. He'd observed every individual, man or woman, through the same lens. I pointed out to him that if the two of us, as men, exchanged ideas just among ourselves, we'd be fated forever to walking a single straight path. He readily acknowledged my point. At the time, smitten as I was with the daughter, it was natural for me to talk so. I did not, however, divulge these feelings to K.
I was elated to see K's heart, which he'd heretofore entombed in ramparts built from books, breaking out into the light. Such had been my aim from the start, and I couldn't help but feel the joy that comes with success. I didn't share these thoughts with K, but I did share them with Okusan and her daughter. Both seemed duly pleased.