I made my way through Sarugakuchō, came out on the boulevard at Jinbōchō, and then headed toward Ogawamachi. Usually, when I strolled these environs it was in search of used books, but on that particular day I felt no interest in hand-worn tomes. All the while I walked, my mind was back at the house. I relived my conversation of the morning with Okusan. Then I imagined the scene playing out between her and her daughter. These two sets of thoughts, in a sense, were the driving force of my feet. Then from time to time, unwittingly, I would stop in my tracks in the middle of the street. About now, I would think, Okusan must be talking to her daughter. Again later, I thought that they must by now have finished.
As I continued on, I crossed Mansei Bridge, ascended the hill at Myōjin, topped the Hongō Heights, descended Kiku Hill, and finally made my way down into the Koishikawa valley. The extent of my walk drew a circle through three districts, albeit a far from perfect one. All the while on this long walk, I gave hardly a thought to K. When I think back now and ask myself why, I have no answer. All I can say is that it still strikes me as odd. I can tell myself that I was simply overwrought by events at hand, but even at that my conscience should have intervened.
It was only after I returned home, when I slid open the latticework door and made my way from the entry hall to my own room, passing through K's room in the usual way, that my conscience reawakened. K was at his desk, reading as always. And as always, he raised his eyes from his book to regard me. However, he didn't give his standard greeting, asking if I had just now returned. Instead, he asked if I was better, and if I'd been out to see the doctor. In that moment, I wanted to prostrate myself before him and ask his forgiveness. The impulse to do so, at the time, was by no means lacking in intensity. Had the two of us stood alone in the wilderness, I'd surely have followed my conscience and apologized to him then and there. However, there were others in the house with us, and their presence served to hold me in check. Regrettably, I remained in check forevermore.