Translation Corner – Your Love is on the Brink of Death (5)

Your Love is on the Brink of Death (5)

——————————————————–Mieko, Kawakami

The woman, standing at some distance away from the man, stared long at his back. “Had I been more considerate, he would have called to me more proactively “Hey”, and something may happen afterwards,” she thought, and continued her fantasy for a while. She had come to the front of Kiikuniya bookstore where books were piled up like hills at the bargain sale corner. Here, as if feigning to wait for someone, she never ceased glancing at the man.

To meet men whom she had never known before, and to try to have sex in a somehow nice mood was her night time habitual fantasy. She doubted, as always in her imagination, whether such an encounter would go well at last, or whether such was a mere ridiculous irreality after all. Since the answer was obviously unbeknown to her, she could but pass those nights in agony.

Everyone – both men and women – felt content either with their phones, or with their PCs, or without any gadgets, or perhaps content with even only catching on each other’s elbows. In other words, they – whoever, clearly knowing that the reverie of the woman, or something therein which to her was as though insurmountable ditches, were habituated from the onset to its non-existence, walked past it with great strides, got prone to it, expressed their thoughts in words, were dealt a grew blow and were solaced – were, from the view of hers, very satisfied, well, in terms of overall sexual relations.

The woman once tried, from her friend – she who, already having a decent lover, still considered a necessity to taste once the flavour of it, as though she herself had almost quotidian experience –, to seek some ideas in a casual way, but she had not the clearest idea as to how to connect or rearrange appropriately any scenes her friend narrated in words. Her friend always leaped too swiftly from one action to another. For instance, she could not get the meaning why she could jump from talks about her domesticating cat about which she had been heaving a sigh until twenty minutes ago, to immediately a scene where a couple were licking each other’s nipples.; she did not know what to say after getting done with everything and at the moment of leaving. It may perhaps be better to watch a sticky movie, but still, she feigns unnoticeably to passionately listen to every details and cram them all into her head.

“The most wonderful thing was that,” her friend said expressionlessly and with a plain face, “somehow after exchanging a few shots of look with a man who’s standing at the front of a packed train – asked if he was my type or not, I would say he’s just so-so – it then got emptier and emptier, I mean the train. So I sat down, and said to him “please take a seat. The one next to me is empty now”. He followed my advice, and asked if I was going to work then. When I told him I was on my way back home, he asked me out for a meal. At last we got off the train and went to a restaurant, as it was.”

“Can that be possible?” the woman tried to make sure several times if she had not misheard. At last she could only chime in with “I see”, although she was so eager to know in detail what happened afterwards, as well as her own feelings. Despite her first emphasis on “the most wonderful thing”, the woman kept stumbling in seeking the reason why she did not specify it. She wanted to ask her about what she meant by “the most wonderful thing”, but it seemed to her friend that she simply did not care about it, so when the woman only replied with something like “Oh, that’s too bad”, the topic was changed to rumours about the marriage of their common friends, how someone’s husband failed in his investment of shares, the function of camera, how to buy an apartment more easily, and finally to the latest medical treatment of tooth decay. In the end, the answer of what the woman really wished to know had never come to light.

[To be continued]

[Photo taken by James on 15th November, 2015; edited on 22nd August, 2016]


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