Translation Corner – Your Love is on the Brink of Death (6)

Your Love is on the Brink of Death (6)

———————————————Mieko, Kawakami

Having recalled for a while and ruminated again and again, “but,” the woman was still thinking, standing beside the bargain sale corner of Kiikuniya bookstore.

How the differences work between those who are capable, be it man or woman, of having sex with whomever they first encountered and those who are not, the woman started to be circumspect about, despite the counterproductive futility she had found tens of times so far towards such a naïve question. Yet having thought a lot about it, she wondered, in other words, what sort of person she was indeed. She had followed confidently the same familiar route of thinking, the end of which, however, only endowed her with feebleness.

“Generally speaking a stranger – whom you know nothing about – is defined as first someone whose name you do not even know, isn’t it? Then it also means you know neither how old he is nor what sorts of personality he owns, that is, you don’t have the slightest idea about his past. Thus, in contrast, let’s say, to have sex without caring whether you are in love or being loved doesn’t necessarily assure that you are thoroughly, blissfully satisfied. More essential is where the subjectivity lies when making love with such a person,” the woman muttered, unaware that she herself did not even understand those words uttered, only to find the man, whom she had gazed for long and who had breezed through his work before she even realized, had been counting the numbers.

While the woman was standing still at the same place, the man had successfully passed out nearly a hundred tissue papers, and what’s more, whenever his hands were empty, he would somehow dance in quite a bizarre way. The woman was sizing him up, as if trying to find something good about him. Within the limits of her present knowledge. The man was wearing a military coat on his dark, grey hooded jacket, with black shoes and black trousers. Phew! While sneaking glances at his unremarkable hairstyle laterally, his nose looks seemingly a bit higher than it used to be. Behind him, the woman then called “Hey” in a low voice, and entered the bookstore as she felt her ankles had been so chilled.

The woman was chasing after the bookshelves by which she was not notably intrigued, and recalled her other friend – a woman who only made love with a particular person:

“I’ve read from somewhere,” she says with deep conviction.

“That people who have sex loosely with loose others are very, how should I put it, are rather immature from a humanistic point of view. When I read that, I really couldn’t agree more. Those who keep changing their sex partners are not unable to face their opposite sex at a minimum level, but they are, instead, evading them. They don’t fear getting hurt, but feel merely annoyed. Which is why they break up once any issue arise, and soon find another target when they feel lonely, and when problems arise again, annoyed, they will part again, as though it’s just an endless, repetitive cycle. They are who avoid the biggest trouble at any cost. It’s like you can’t even finish reading one decent book, as you know, they don’t even know how to work out a relationship. They are just no different from monkeys.”

The woman could, as she did as usual, chime in with “I see” and manage somehow to change the subject, but felt a bit uneasy because of her friend’s boastful, pompous demeanour self-proudly presented to her. While listening to her earnest remark on the issue, she felt, however, that she coveted for making love with strangers. Because she could not prove whether her friend was speaking the truth or not. Because she felt like she yearned to know what she really did not know. Because it was excruciating to possess an emotion – a strong desire – to endeavour with her body to prove whether what is acknowledged to be plausible can really be realised. Besides, although her friend would despise it, she did not know what monkey sex was like.

[To be continued]

[Photo taken by James at Roppongi, Japan on 23rd August, 2016]

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