I did, at times, apologize to my wife. This would be in the morning, after a night of drinking heavily and arriving home late. She would sometimes respond with a smile. At other times I was met with silence. Once in a while she'd break down and cry. In any case, I was left with a hollow feeling. My apologies, you could say, were as much to myself as my wife. In the end, I eased up on the drink. Truth be told, it was my own sense of revulsion, more than my wife's admonishments, that finally led me to do so.
I eased up on the drink but still felt no desire to work. With nothing else to do, I turned back to my books. Whatever I read, however, I would lay aside and forget. My wife asked me, on multiple occasions, to what end I studied. I would force a smile in return. Deep down, though, it pained me greatly to think that the one person in this world whom I knew and trusted did not understand me. Worse yet, the solution was close at hand. Only my courage to invoke it was lacking. I was utterly alone. I often felt I'd been cut adrift, apart from the world, fated to solitude.
All during this time, my thoughts returned, again and again, to K and his death. For some time, based on simple and direct observation, the single word "love" had been fixed in my head. K must have certainly, I'd concluded, died of a broken heart. However, with the gradual passage of time and the clarity of steadier thought, I began to see it wasn't so simple. The clash of reality and ideals -- that too was inadequate. I finally began to suspect that K, just like myself, had felt himself utterly alone in the world and, with no other recourse, had acted. A shudder ran down my spine. From this point on, a foreboding that I was following in K's footsteps would occasionally chill my breast, sweeping through like a draft of cold air.