By my reckoning, it had been two full days since Okusan's talk with K. During this time, K's behavior toward me had betrayed nothing, and I'd been utterly unaware. On the outside, at least, his emotions were fully in check, and I had to admire his forbearance. When I thought about K in comparison to myself, he was without doubt the superior man. I may have outmaneuvered him as a rival, but as a human being I was beaten. This feeling swelled in my breast. Thinking how K must despise me, my face flushed red for shame. My pride, however, prevented me still from throwing myself at his feet.
Torn between action and inaction, I decided, at any rate, to give it another day. This was Saturday evening. That very night, however, K died by his own hand. Even today, I shudder to recall the scene. I always slept with my head toward the east. On that night only, for whatever reason, I laid out my bedding with my head to the west. Perhaps there was some connection. I woke suddenly to a cold draft crossing my pillow. I looked and saw that the fusuma, partitioning K's room from mine, stood open, just as it had on that previous night. Unlike that night, though, K's silhouette did not fill the frame. Sensing something amiss, I propped myself onto my elbows and took a look into K's room. His lamp was burning dimly. His bedding had been laid out. However, his quilt had been pushed into a pile at the foot of it. K himself was lying prone with his face turned away.
I called out to him. There was no answer. I called again and asked if he wasn't well. There was no reaction. I immediately rose to my feet and advanced as far as the threshold. From there, I surveyed his room in the dim light of the lamp.
The initial sensation I received was much like that of the moment of his confession. With one sweep of his room, my eyes turned to glass and lost their capacity for movement. I stood there frozen. Paralysis gripped and then released me, like a gust of passing wind. As it swept on its way, I knew that all was lost. A dark shadow, never to be lifted, spilled across my future days. In an instant it cast its pall, with terrifying force, over the entirety of my existence. My body began to tremble.