I was asked by one of K's friends, as we made our way back from the funeral, why I thought he had killed himself. Since that fateful night, I'd been tormented repeatedly by this question. From Okusan, to her daughter, to K's father and brother arriving from the country, to acquaintances who were notified, to newspaper reporters with no connection whatsoever to K, none failed to pose this question. And each time it was posed, the question stung at my conscience. I could hear behind the question a voice, hounding me, telling me to confess my wrongdoing.
The answer I gave to all was the same. I simply related what K had written in the letter he'd left me. I offered up nothing more. K's friend, who on the way back from the funeral had posed the same question and received my standard answer, took a newspaper from his pocket to show me. He pointed out a passage and, still walking, I read where directed. It reported how K, estranged from his family, had fallen into misanthropic despair and ended his life. Without comment, I refolded the paper and returned it to the friend. According to other papers, he informed me, it was mental instability that led to K's suicide. I'd been too busy to read the papers and had no idea what had been reported. However, there wasn't a moment when it didn't weigh on my mind. What I feared most of all was anything enmeshing the other members of the household. Even the mention of the daughter's name, in my mind, was unbearable. I asked the friend if anything else had been reported. Other than those two story lines, he replied, he hadn't seen anything else.