Translation Corner – Your Love is on the Brink of Death (8)

Your Love is on the Brink of Death (8)

———————————————Mieko, Kawakami, trans. James Au

SOMEHOW after passing through the automatic doors, the woman found that outside had turned into complete darkness, and saw, not far away, the same man was still passing out tissue papers. When Night approached to open the gate of darkness, the crowd was as if gradually growing near the entrance. The traffic signal was as though shimmering with moisture, seeing which every woman will feel her body being slightly moistened. From the view of the woman, this flock of people, faceless or silhouetted, or whose upper body got inverted with their lower part, cast a pointed look upon the body of that man of small build, sang unanimously some irrelevant songs in high-pitched voices and advanced. Having plunged into such a thought, she suddenly shivered with worry, and had an ultimate impression that the silhouette of him was apparently looking particular among the crowd tonight.

The man was exhausted. It was after all an endless toil however hard he tried. While scratching his head over the reason for running this errand in the first place, he recalled how strenuously tough time had become after he had been found out setting fire to the whole box full of leaflets. What had happened at that time had been called to mind. So why am I doing this work? Is it because it’s simple? Or because I need not to talk to others? Is it because I am an impotent? Or because whosoever can do it? But isn’t every work a farce in this world? Isn’t there occasion in which I am also a customer of these dudes, who accept my tissue papers in extreme contempt? Isn’t it just some got-damned dumb money game? Because no one else can ever understand the basics of it, I have to live like this so sulkily. As a result of having starved and stood for more than seven hours, both legs of the man were so benumbed that his sensation had gone beyond his annoyance and left him with convulsing anger. He even shuddered to think, with cascading hot tears, after an hour, and if not agile enough, from that onwards, that he had to repeat the same action.

In order to confirm what she looked like, as she was standing sideways of the automatic doors to fled herself from the fluorescent light, the woman opened her cosmetic compact which she then peeked inside for long meticulously, and with which she rapped using her fingernails the flat powder puff and put it on her cheeks, the ridge of her nose and other parts of her face. This is magical powder. With one single colour, she could feel her face looked more glossy and transparent. Yet when she was about to be satisfied sincerely from her heart with the image of her face inside the small, round mirror, the face of the young girl who had been knocked down by her in the evening, just before twilight befell the place, sprang up in her mind. The soft bulge of her tender cheeks. Inside the small, round mirror reflected some dark, drooping, loose skin surrounding her eyes, and seeing this, the woman impulsively wanted to strike her compact onto the ground. But she finally straightened up her thoughts, and was able to put it back into her handbag.

[To be continued]



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