K asked if I was asleep. He was never one to retire early. I turned toward the dark shadow and asked in return if he needed anything. He replied that it was nothing in particular. He'd been up to use the toilet and was simply wondering whether I was still awake or had gone to bed. The light from his lamp fell on his backside, so I couldn't see his face or gauge his eyes. His voice, however, seemed fully at ease.
After a moment, K slid the fusuma closed. My room sank back into darkness. Preferring my dreams to the darkness, I again closed my eyes. The next moment it was morning. When I thought back on the night before, it all seemed strange. I wondered if I hadn't been dreaming. At breakfast, I asked K. He confirmed that he had indeed opened the fusuma and called my name. When I asked him why, he didn't provide a clear answer. He asked me then if I'd been out of sorts lately and not sleeping well. I found his question odd.
Both of our lectures began at the same time that day, so we left the house together. The incident of the previous evening had been bothering me all morning, so along the way I pressed him again. However, I still received no satisfactory explanation. I asked him if he needed to tell me something, perhaps on the matter of late. He replied emphatically that such was not the case. I sensed reproach in his tone. He was reminding me that we'd agreed to speak of it no further. In such situations, K was defiantly proud. As I remembered this, I suddenly reflected on his use of the word "prepared." This single word, to which I'd paid little heed before, began suddenly to exert a strange power in my mind.