I finally found myself unable to stay still. The longer I held my ground, the greater my urge to burst in on K. I had to get up, and after doing so I made my way onto the veranda. From there I went to the hearth room and, having nothing better to do, poured out a cup of hot water from the iron kettle and sipped it. Then I went to the entry hall. Having gone to great lengths to avoid K's room, I now found myself out on the street. There was nowhere, of course, that I needed to go. I was there because I couldn't stay still. I wandered aimlessly through the town, regarding its New Year's adornments. However much I wandered, my thoughts remained on K. Shaking him off was not the intent of my stroll. On the contrary, I was set, as I wandered, on coming to grips with who he was.
First of all, he struck me as enigmatic. Why had he hit me out of the blue with such a revelation? And how could it be he'd fallen so hard as to have no choice but to confess? Had his former self been thoroughly swept away? The answers to all of these questions eluded me. I knew him as iron-willed. I knew him as earnest. There was much more about him, though, that I felt I needed to learn. Only then could I determine how to approach him. At the same time, I was strangely unsettled by the thought that we should be rivals. As I wandered the town in a daze, I pictured him in my mind's eye, sitting there quietly in his room. A voice in my head told me I walked in vain, that I had no power to affect K. Perhaps in my mind he was larger than life, monstrous. I had a sense, even, that he would torment me all my days.
I returned home exhausted. K was quiet as ever. There was no sound at all from his room.