Translation Corner – Your Love is on the Brink of Death (4)

Your Love is on the Brink of Death (4)

——————————————————–Mieko, Kawakami

Even though young women are briskly going away, leaving the woman solitary, with none of them paying even the slightest attention on her, she, nonetheless, deliberately heaved a sigh of “Phew!” deep from her lungs and continued to walk. When the traffic light turned green, she waited impatiently, but since her heart, which had been in good shape and controlled over everything well some time ago, was making a din which ran around from the reverse side of her own skin, she had to stop a few times before finishing crossing the easy-going zebra-crossing.

When the signal turned again, and when she came to the corner between the shoe shop and the bookstore, two fingers holding a small packet of tissue paper suddenly caught her sight, followed immediately by a male voice which said “please”. The woman could not grasp the meaning of the word for an instant. Please. What on earth does it mean by ‘please’? But then without a second thought, she replied with “thanks”. Although she uttered the word instinctively with the best of her reflex, the man was still dazed by her not taking his packet, and was slightly irritated by not knowing what it means by the roundish echo – the word ‘thanks’. The man had attempted several times to offer her the packet in a swift rush, but the woman was vacant in her mind, undecided whether she should accept it or not. Still, as she showed no sign of taking it, “What’s up with this woman?” he thought and felt even more annoyed.

“Just make up your mind,” he was almost ready to say, as it seemed, however, too much trouble to him, he called out to her again, “please”. The woman, as though she saw the packet for the first time, replied courteously again with “thanks”. This time she looked into his eyes. In a very furtive glance, although an expression of which exists, she indeed did look into the two little, moist loops inside the dark, black eyes of the man somehow furtively. As though some eyes drops are forcefully applied into his eyes, he was likewise in great disgust with such polishing fluid, too.

He thus turned around, beginning to offer tissue paper not to the woman, but to another passer-by. Yet the woman took it all of a sudden, and expressed her gratitude, in a lubricating voice, even more courteously than just before. Feeling creepy and looking extremely fed up, he advanced few steps wordlessly to stay away from where the woman was standing. Ah, how gloomy! Such an endless, aimless, meager paid part-time job! When can I quit without being scared of getting involved in risks like this? Shady, banal, though I wish to use more special, and the maximum number of words of curse, expressions used to excite my present emotion could yet be found nowhere. More pursuits only invite void, loud noises, as if his life was being teased to be the residue of useless meaning of superficiality. If so, I would, he imagined, better strike and scatter the ground with all the rustling tissue papers in his hands, smash all boxes of cardboard behind the street pole, crush them all and head right to the office, and give that daytime person-in-charge – that junior chap who always sputters his words in a way foolish and nasty and who keeps calling the shots with his ugly face and flabby tummy – blows and kicks to my satisfaction with something hard and solid there. But it seemed to him that he could not get a good feeling by simply giving continuous blows and kicks with his hands. Delving into such a thought for a while, the man grew even more somber, and sank himself totally into the sea of feelings of unworthiness.

[To be continued]

[Photo taken by James on 6th April, 2014]

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