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E-Books (english-e-reader), Ekaterina (1)

Ekaterina (1)

In some countries, young people marry a person chosen for them by their parents. Sometimes these arranged marriages work very well; and sometimes they don't.

It becomes more difficult when there are questions of money, or of distance. Perhaps the man's family is rich, and the girl's family is poor. Perhaps the two families live in different parts of the world. From Greece to South Africa, for example, is a long, long way...

Coming into Athens. The man in the next seat put away some papers, looking bored.

'Air travel has changed our idea of place, time, country,' I said to him. 'In fact, there aren't countries any more, in the way we used to think of them. Nowhere is more than twenty-four hours away. Soon, the idea of having different countries will just disappear.'

He laughed.

'What's so strange about that?' I said. 'And yet where I came from, there are still people who measure distance by days. "He lives two days' walk away," they say.'

'Are we talking about life in this century?' he said.

The man was an American, and I had to explain what things were like in parts of Africa. I'd lived in some of its wilder places during my fifty years.

'And now we can travel at the speed of sound,' I went on, 'but we're like children. We don't know what to do when we get there.'

He thought I was a little crazy. 'If you come from South Africa, you should be black and speak Zulu,' he said.

'I do speak Zulu,' was my answer.

He left the plane at Athens, and I was not sorry to see him go. Johannesburg was another twelve hours away.

I had not travelled through Athens before, so I ran down the steps from the plane to put my foot for the first time on Greek soil. I thought back two and a half thousand years, to the time of ancient Greece. Did those great writers, Euripides and Aristophanes, once walk where I walked now? Did they see these same white and gold hills, breathe this same air?

It was late afternoon, and a soft summer light lay on those distant white hills. Over the smell of hot engine oil around the airport, I told myself I could smell the sweet clean air of ancient Greece. I was not looking at faceless passengers hurrying into a crowded airport, but could see girls with flowers in their hair, dancing to ancient music, for ancient gods. And away to the north of the airport Athens called to me, that city of light, the birthplace of the Western world, but I had no time to visit. I had to board my plane again.

At the entrance to the airport building, a few bright flowers grew in dry, dusty soil. A young man with bad teeth stopped to offer me picture postcards of Athens.

Then a bewildered little group of men and women came into the airport building. The men, in poor best clothes, had big red hands. The women carried boxes and packets, and one of the men had a cheap suitcase. A young girl at their center, wearing a yellow suit which looked uncomfortably new, stared around her at the strangeness of everything. She looked straight at me with the same bewilderment, smiled and turned away. Her face had a beauty that was centuries old - large dark eyes, a short straight nose, and a lovely mouth. There was a circle of white star-like flowers in her long black hair.

The light still touched the ring of hills as the sun went down. When the same sun rose again for me, it would be red and wintry over South Africa. Why not leave the plane here, and find a little house somewhere? Maybe there was a deeper, quieter peace in these ancient hills than in other places.

But they were calling my flight. I ran for the plane and was the last to board it. The next seat to mine, left empty by the American, was now taken by the young girl in the yellow suit. She stood up at once to welcome me, speaking in her own language, and gave me her hand. She moved with all the naturalness of a wild animal. There had been tears in her eyes.

Back in her seat, she was looking out of the window, trying to see the tiny figures far away across the runway. She waved a hand that no one would see. The plane's engines started up. I saw that a finger of the hand at the window carried the shining gold circle of a new wedding ring.

She cried in silence, as the plane took off and rose heavily into the sky. We could see the dark blue sea below, and far to the west, the path of the dying sun on the water.

Flying was clearly a new experience for her. She said something quietly, shaking her head in wonder. The sadness left her, and a minute later she touched my arm and excitedly pointed out something. Athens was disappearing into the sea and the night; already we were rising through the clouds.

I decided to go back to reading my magazine. There was no way of making polite conversation, and it seemed useless to look at her just because she was very good to look at. But she seemed not to realize there was a language difficulty.

'Ekaterina,' she said, pointing to herself.

I told her my name - Neil Gordon. We shook hands again, and she was delighted that we could understand each other so easily. We continued our conversation using expressions and hand movements, and in answer to her questions, I explained that I was not an Englishman, a German, or an American. I was a South African, living in Johannesburg.

'Ah! Yoannisburg!' That was where she was going. She looked very pleased, and went on talking. There was a warm feeling between us - we seemed like close friends. Sometimes her face changed and she looked sad, as she turned the ring on her finger. Then suddenly she smiled and became cheerful again. I did not understand her words, but that did not matter. She was like a child talking to herself in the night, or a mother telling her thoughts to her baby.

The air hostess was passing, and I said to her, 'Do you understand Greek?'

'Not a word,' she replied, 'but one of the other passengers looks Greek, so I'll ask him.'

A minute later she was back. 'I'm sorry,' she said, 'he isn't Greek, he's Italian. But he says he'd be very pleased to change seats with you and talk to the young lady.'

'Tell him,' I said, 'to stay in his own seat. I'm very happy where I am.'

The lights inside the plane had come on. The girl took off her jacket and, smiling, asked my opinion of the blouse that she was wearing. Unlike her factory-made suit, it was a beautiful thing. Clearly she had made it herself, and hours of careful work had gone into the patterns of flowers and leaves. I told her how lovely it was. She watched my expression carefully, her face blushing a little.

Her eyes became serious. She sat thinking for a moment, and then she decided. She took her passport from her bag, and put it into my hands. It was a passport of my own country, with Ekaterina's frightened little face looking out of the photograph. How did she come to have a South African passport? She had never left Greece.

But explaining this to me wasn't difficult. She had married a South African, married him that morning, in fact. And her husband? He was in Yoannisburg. She was going to meet him there. She had never seen him. The marriage had been by proxy. Her parents had arranged it. I began to understand the whole thing. The husband had paid for everything. He had paid for her. He had sent money for the plane ticket.

I asked the air hostess to bring a bottle of wine, to drink to Ekaterina's happiness. The Italian passenger came to see her. I told him Ekaterina had been married that morning, and invited him to join us in a drink. He tried Italian, Spanish, and German on her, but she only looked at him, surprised.

He drank to her happiness and kissed her hand, which was small and strong, a working girl's hand.

'She is too beautiful,' he said to me. 'Are you taking her to her husband?'

'Certainly not. In fact, I want her to run away with me, and there's a good chance she'll agree to it.'

'She is just a child.'

'I know how old she is, I've seen her passport. Do you still want to talk to her?'

He shook his head and went back to his seat. Ekaterina said something and smiled. She drank her wine slowly, and in a moment was lost in her own thoughts again. Her beauty was timeless, centuries old, untouchable. But the soft light in her eyes and the shine of her dark hair brought her into the present for me - here and now, sitting beside me, a warm, living, breathing girl.

She turned to me, looking serious. She put her hands together in front of her, to show that she was asking for my help with something very important. Then she calmly handed me a photograph. It was of a young man, about twenty-eight or thirty. He had thick dark hair; the face was generous in its way, strong if not handsome, and the eyes were pleasantly gentle. The photo had been cut out of a larger photo, but enough was left to show that behind the young man was a shining new car.

Who? It was her husband, of course, whom she had never seen. She told me his name: 'Savvas Athanassiades.' I hadn't looked up from the photograph, but I knew she was watching me carefully. Standing next to the car, Savvas looked unusually short. I had owned a car like that myself, many years ago. But why did Savvas want a photograph of himself in front of a thirty-year-old Chevrolet, shiny or not?

'A good man,' I said. 'Let's drink to Savvas Athanassiades.' I avoided her eyes, pouring more wine into our glasses. But her woman's instinct told her something was wrong; I could feel that she didn't believe me. Slowly and miserably she put away her photograph. Then she noticed her glass and lifted it. 'Yoannisburg,' she said.

'Athena,' I replied. She repeated it and added with a sad smile, 'Vari.' I did not know the town of Vari, but wherever it was, it was the place where she had left her dreams.

Dinner was the usual kind of tasteless meal that you get on planes. I showed Ekaterina how to hold her knife and fork, and she got through it by watching and copying. From time to time she looked happily at me, her face a little pink from the wine. To her, it was all new and strange and wonderful.

We came down at Khartoum and left the plane for an hour. Ekaterina kept close to me as we walked to the airport building through the hot, breathless African night. There were sleepy flies on the dirty tables in the restaurant. We drank a warm, sweet drink that tasted of soap. A man came through the restaurant, selling things. He showed Ekaterina a piece of cheap silk, and her eyes shone with delight. I offered to buy it for her. She thanked me, but no, it was impossible. Not because I was a stranger, no, that wasn't it. Perhaps because she couldn't give anything back. Then the man put a fan into her hand. It was worth almost nothing, and I paid too much for it. But that was different - a fan was necessary in the heat.


Ekaterina (1)

In some countries, young people marry a person chosen for them by their parents. Sometimes these arranged marriages work very well; and sometimes they don't.

It becomes more difficult when there are questions of money, or of distance. お金や距離の問題があると、それはより難しくなります。 Perhaps the man's family is rich, and the girl's family is poor. Perhaps the two families live in different parts of the world. From Greece to South Africa, for example, is a long, long way... たとえば、ギリシャから南アフリカまでは、長い道のりです...

Coming into Athens. アテネに来る。 The man in the next seat put away some papers, looking bored. 次の席の男は退屈そうに見えて、いくつかの書類を片付けました。

'Air travel has changed our idea of place, time, country,' I said to him. 「空の旅は私たちの場所、時間、国の考え方を変えました」と私は彼に言いました。 'In fact, there aren't countries any more, in the way we used to think of them. 「実際、私たちが以前考えていたように、国はもうありません。 Nowhere is more than twenty-four hours away. 24時間以上離れているところはありません。 Soon, the idea of having different countries will just disappear.' すぐに、異なる国を持つという考えはただ消えるでしょう。」

He laughed.

'What's so strange about that?' 「それについて何がそんなに奇妙なのですか?」 I said. 'And yet where I came from, there are still people who measure distance by days. 「それでも私がどこから来たのか、距離を日数で測定する人がまだいます。 "He lives two days' walk away," they say.' 「彼は徒歩2日で住んでいます」と彼らは言います。

'Are we talking about life in this century?' 「私たちは今世紀の人生について話しているのですか?」 he said.

The man was an American, and I had to explain what things were like in parts of Africa. その男はアメリカ人だったので、アフリカの一部での様子を説明しなければなりませんでした。 I'd lived in some of its wilder places during my fifty years. 私は50年間、その荒野のいくつかに住んでいました。

'And now we can travel at the speed of sound,' I went on, 'but we're like children. 「そして今、私たちは音速で旅行することができます」と私は続けました、しかし私たちは子供のようです。 We don't know what to do when we get there.' そこに着いたらどうしたらいいのかわからない」

He thought I was a little crazy. 彼は私が少し頭がおかしいと思った。 'If you come from South Africa, you should be black and speak Zulu,' he said. 「南アフリカから来たのなら、黒人でズールー語を話す必要があります」と彼は言いました。

'I do speak Zulu,' was my answer. 「私はズールー語を話します」が私の答えでした。

He left the plane at Athens, and I was not sorry to see him go. 彼はアテネで飛行機を去りました、そして私は彼が行くのを見て申し訳ありませんでした。 Johannesburg was another twelve hours away. ヨハネスブルグはさらに12時間離れていました。

I had not travelled through Athens before, so I ran down the steps from the plane to put my foot for the first time on Greek soil. I thought back two and a half thousand years, to the time of ancient Greece. 古代ギリシャの時代まで、2年半を振り返りました。 Did those great writers, Euripides and Aristophanes, once walk where I walked now? それらの偉大な作家、エウリピデスとアリストパネスは、かつて私が今歩いた場所を歩いたことがありますか? Did they see these same white and gold hills, breathe this same air? 彼らはこれらの同じ白と金の丘を見ましたか、これと同じ空気を吸いますか?

It was late afternoon, and a soft summer light lay on those distant white hills. 午後遅く、遠くの白い丘にやわらかな夏の光が降り注いでいました。 Over the smell of hot engine oil around the airport, I told myself I could smell the sweet clean air of ancient Greece. 空港周辺の熱いエンジンオイルの匂いで、古代ギリシャの甘くてきれいな空気の匂いがするのではないかと自分に言い聞かせました。 I was not looking at faceless passengers hurrying into a crowded airport, but could see girls with flowers in their hair, dancing to ancient music, for ancient gods. And away to the north of the airport Athens called to me, that city of light, the birthplace of the Western world, but I had no time to visit. そして、空港の北にあるアテネから、西洋世界の発祥の地である光の街が私に呼ばれましたが、私は訪れる時間がありませんでした。 I had to board my plane again. 私は再び飛行機に乗らなければなりませんでした。

At the entrance to the airport building, a few bright flowers grew in dry, dusty soil. 空港ビルの入り口では、乾いたほこりっぽい土に明るい花が咲きました。 A young man with bad teeth stopped to offer me picture postcards of Athens. 歯の悪い青年が立ち止まって、アテネの絵葉書をくれました。

Then a bewildered little group of men and women came into the airport building. それから、当惑した男性と女性の小さなグループが空港の建物に入ってきました。 The men, in poor best clothes, had big red hands. 貧弱な最高の服を着た男性は、大きな赤い手を持っていました。 The women carried boxes and packets, and one of the men had a cheap suitcase. 女性は箱と小包を運び、男性の1人は安いスーツケースを持っていました。 A young girl at their center, wearing a yellow suit which looked uncomfortably new, stared around her at the strangeness of everything. 彼らの中心にいる若い女の子は、不快に新しく見えた黄色いスーツを着て、すべての奇妙さを彼女の周りを見つめていました。 She looked straight at me with the same bewilderment, smiled and turned away. 彼女は同じ戸惑いで私をまっすぐ見つめ、微笑んで背を向けた。 Her face had a beauty that was centuries old - large dark eyes, a short straight nose, and a lovely mouth. 彼女の顔は何世紀も前の美しさを持っていました-大きな黒い目、短いまっすぐな鼻、そして素敵な口。 There was a circle of white star-like flowers in her long black hair. 彼女の長い黒髪には白い星のような花の輪がありました。

The light still touched the ring of hills as the sun went down. 太陽が沈むとき、光はまだ丘の輪に触れていました。 When the same sun rose again for me, it would be red and wintry over South Africa. 同じ太陽が私のために再び昇ったとき、それは南アフリカの上で赤くて冬になるでしょう。 Why not leave the plane here, and find a little house somewhere? ここで飛行機を離れて、どこかに小さな家を見つけてみませんか? Maybe there was a deeper, quieter peace in these ancient hills than in other places. たぶん、これらの古代の丘には他の場所よりも深く静かな平和があったのでしょう。

But they were calling my flight. しかし、彼らは私のフライトを呼んでいました。 I ran for the plane and was the last to board it. The next seat to mine, left empty by the American, was now taken by the young girl in the yellow suit. アメリカ人によって空のままにされた私の次の席は、今や黄色いスーツを着た少女によって占められました。 She stood up at once to welcome me, speaking in her own language, and gave me her hand. 彼女はすぐに立ち上がって私を歓迎し、母国語で話し、私に手を差し伸べました。 She moved with all the naturalness of a wild animal. 彼女は野生動物の自然さをすべて持って動いた。 There had been tears in her eyes. 彼女の目には涙があった。

Back in her seat, she was looking out of the window, trying to see the tiny figures far away across the runway. 席に戻ると、彼女は窓の外を見て、滑走路の向こう側にある小さな人物を見ようとしていました。 She waved a hand that no one would see. 彼女は誰にも見えない手を振った。 The plane's engines started up. I saw that a finger of the hand at the window carried the shining gold circle of a new wedding ring. 窓際の手の指が新しい結婚指輪の輝く金の輪を運んでいるのを見ました。

She cried in silence, as the plane took off and rose heavily into the sky. 飛行機が離陸し、空に大きく上昇したとき、彼女は黙って泣きました。 We could see the dark blue sea below, and far to the west, the path of the dying sun on the water. 下に紺碧の海が見え、はるか西には、水面に沈む太陽の道が見えました。

Flying was clearly a new experience for her. 飛行は明らかに彼女にとって新しい経験でした。 She said something quietly, shaking her head in wonder. 彼女は不思議に頭を振って静かに何かを言った。 The sadness left her, and a minute later she touched my arm and excitedly pointed out something. 悲しみが彼女を去り、1分後、彼女は私の腕に触れ、興奮して何かを指摘しました。 Athens was disappearing into the sea and the night; already we were rising through the clouds.

I decided to go back to reading my magazine. There was no way of making polite conversation, and it seemed useless to look at her just because she was very good to look at. 丁寧な会話をする方法がなく、見た目がとても良かったからといって、見ただけでは役に立たないようでした。 But she seemed not to realize there was a language difficulty. しかし、彼女は言語の問題があることに気づいていないようでした。

'Ekaterina,' she said, pointing to herself. 「エカテリーナ」と彼女は自分を指さしながら言った。

I told her my name - Neil Gordon. 私は彼女に私の名前を話しました-ニールゴードン。 We shook hands again, and she was delighted that we could understand each other so easily. We continued our conversation using expressions and hand movements, and in answer to her questions, I explained that I was not an Englishman, a German, or an American. I was a South African, living in Johannesburg.

'Ah! Yoannisburg!' That was where she was going. それが彼女が行っていた場所でした。 She looked very pleased, and went on talking. There was a warm feeling between us - we seemed like close friends. Sometimes her face changed and she looked sad, as she turned the ring on her finger. 指輪を回すと、顔が変わって悲しそうに見えることがありました。 Then suddenly she smiled and became cheerful again. I did not understand her words, but that did not matter. She was like a child talking to herself in the night, or a mother telling her thoughts to her baby. 彼女は、夜に独り言を言う子供のようでした。あるいは、母親が赤ちゃんに自分の考えを話しているようなものでした。

The air hostess was passing, and I said to her, 'Do you understand Greek?'

'Not a word,' she replied, 'but one of the other passengers looks Greek, so I'll ask him.' 「一言も言えない」と彼女は答えた。「しかし、他の乗客の一人はギリシャ人に見えるので、彼に聞いてみよう。」

A minute later she was back. 'I'm sorry,' she said, 'he isn't Greek, he's Italian. But he says he'd be very pleased to change seats with you and talk to the young lady.' しかし、彼はあなたと一緒に席を変えて、若い女性と話すことをとても喜んでいると言います。

'Tell him,' I said, 'to stay in his own seat. 「彼に言ってください」と私は言いました。 I'm very happy where I am.' 私は今いる場所でとても幸せです。」

The lights inside the plane had come on. 機内のライトが点灯していた。 The girl took off her jacket and, smiling, asked my opinion of the blouse that she was wearing. 女の子は上着を脱いで、笑顔で、着ているブラウスについて私の意見を聞いた。 Unlike her factory-made suit, it was a beautiful thing. 彼女の工場で作られたスーツとは異なり、それは美しいものでした。 Clearly she had made it herself, and hours of careful work had gone into the patterns of flowers and leaves. 明らかに彼女は自分でそれを成し遂げました、そして何時間もの注意深い仕事は花と葉のパターンに費やされました。 I told her how lovely it was. She watched my expression carefully, her face blushing a little.

Her eyes became serious. She sat thinking for a moment, and then she decided. She took her passport from her bag, and put it into my hands. It was a passport of my own country, with Ekaterina's frightened little face looking out of the photograph. それは私の国のパスポートで、エカテリーナの怯えた小さな顔が写真の外を見ていました。 How did she come to have a South African passport? 彼女はどうやって南アフリカのパスポートを持ったのですか? She had never left Greece. 彼女はギリシャを離れたことがなかった。

But explaining this to me wasn't difficult. しかし、これを私に説明することは難しくありませんでした。 She had married a South African, married him that morning, in fact. 実際、彼女は南アフリカ人と結婚し、その朝彼と結婚しました。 And her husband? そして彼女の夫? He was in Yoannisburg. She was going to meet him there. She had never seen him. The marriage had been by proxy. 結婚は代理人によるものでした。 Her parents had arranged it. 彼女の両親はそれを手配しました。 I began to understand the whole thing. 私はすべてを理解し始めました。 The husband had paid for everything. 夫はすべてのお金を払っていました。 He had paid for her. He had sent money for the plane ticket.

I asked the air hostess to bring a bottle of wine, to drink to Ekaterina's happiness. The Italian passenger came to see her. イタリア人の乗客が彼女に会いに来た。 I told him Ekaterina had been married that morning, and invited him to join us in a drink. He tried Italian, Spanish, and German on her, but she only looked at him, surprised. 彼は彼女にイタリア語、スペイン語、ドイツ語を試しましたが、彼女は彼を見ただけで驚いた。

He drank to her happiness and kissed her hand, which was small and strong, a working girl's hand. 彼は彼女の幸せに飲み、小さくて強い彼女の手、働く女の子の手にキスをしました。

'She is too beautiful,' he said to me. 'Are you taking her to her husband?' 「あなたは彼女を彼女の夫に連れて行っていますか?」

'Certainly not. '確かにそうではありません。 In fact, I want her to run away with me, and there's a good chance she'll agree to it.' 実際、私は彼女に私と一緒に逃げてもらいたいのですが、彼女がそれに同意する可能性は十分にあります。」

'She is just a child.' 「彼女はただの子供です。」

'I know how old she is, I've seen her passport. 「私は彼女が何歳か知っています、私は彼女のパスポートを見ました。 Do you still want to talk to her?' それでも彼女と話したいですか?」

He shook his head and went back to his seat. 彼は首を横に振って席に戻った。 Ekaterina said something and smiled. She drank her wine slowly, and in a moment was lost in her own thoughts again. 彼女はゆっくりとワインを飲みました、そしてすぐに彼女自身の考えに再び迷いました。 Her beauty was timeless, centuries old, untouchable. 彼女の美しさは時代を超え、何世紀も前のものであり、手に負えないものでした。 But the soft light in her eyes and the shine of her dark hair brought her into the present for me - here and now, sitting beside me, a warm, living, breathing girl.

She turned to me, looking serious. 彼女は真剣に見えて私に向き直った。 She put her hands together in front of her, to show that she was asking for my help with something very important. 彼女は彼女の前で両手を合わせて、非常に重要なことで私の助けを求めていることを示しました。 Then she calmly handed me a photograph. それから彼女は静かに写真を私に手渡した。 It was of a young man, about twenty-eight or thirty. He had thick dark hair; the face was generous in its way, strong if not handsome, and the eyes were pleasantly gentle. 彼は太い黒髪でした。顔は寛大で、ハンサムではないにしても強く、目は心地よく優しかった。 The photo had been cut out of a larger photo, but enough was left to show that behind the young man was a shining new car. 写真は大きな写真から切り抜かれていましたが、若い男の後ろに輝く新車があったことを示すのに十分な量が残っていました。

Who? It was her husband, of course, whom she had never seen. もちろん、彼女が見たことがなかったのは彼女の夫でした。 She told me his name: 'Savvas Athanassiades.' I hadn't looked up from the photograph, but I knew she was watching me carefully. 写真からは見上げていませんでしたが、彼女が私を注意深く見守っていたのはわかっていました。 Standing next to the car, Savvas looked unusually short. 車の隣に立っていたSavvasは異常に短く見えた。 I had owned a car like that myself, many years ago. But why did Savvas want a photograph of himself in front of a thirty-year-old Chevrolet, shiny or not? しかし、なぜSavvasは、光沢があるかどうかにかかわらず、30歳のシボレーの前で自分の写真を欲しがったのでしょうか。

'A good man,' I said. 'Let's drink to Savvas Athanassiades.' I avoided her eyes, pouring more wine into our glasses. But her woman's instinct told her something was wrong; I could feel that she didn't believe me. しかし、彼女の女性の本能は彼女に何かがおかしいと言いました。彼女が私を信じていないように感じました。 Slowly and miserably she put away her photograph. 彼女はゆっくりと惨めに写真を片付けました。 Then she noticed her glass and lifted it. それから彼女は自分のグラスに気づき、それを持ち上げました。 'Yoannisburg,' she said.

'Athena,' I replied. She repeated it and added with a sad smile, 'Vari.' 彼女はそれを繰り返し、悲しい笑顔で「ヴァリ」と付け加えた。 I did not know the town of Vari, but wherever it was, it was the place where she had left her dreams. ヴァリの町は知りませんでしたが、どこにいても夢を残した場所でした。

Dinner was the usual kind of tasteless meal that you get on planes. 夕食は飛行機に乗る通常の味のない食事でした。 I showed Ekaterina how to hold her knife and fork, and she got through it by watching and copying. 私はエカテリーナにナイフとフォークの持ち方を教え、彼女はそれを見てコピーすることでそれを乗り越えました。 From time to time she looked happily at me, her face a little pink from the wine. 時々、彼女は私を喜んで見ました。彼女の顔はワインから少しピンク色でした。 To her, it was all new and strange and wonderful. 彼女にとって、それはすべて新しく、奇妙で素晴らしいものでした。

We came down at Khartoum and left the plane for an hour. 私たちはハルツームに降りてきて、飛行機を1時間離れました。 Ekaterina kept close to me as we walked to the airport building through the hot, breathless African night. 暑くて息をのむようなアフリカの夜を通り抜けて空港のビルに歩いている間、エカテリーナは私の近くにいました。 There were sleepy flies on the dirty tables in the restaurant. レストランの汚れたテーブルには眠そうなハエがいた。 We drank a warm, sweet drink that tasted of soap. せっけんの味がする温かくて甘い飲み物を飲みました。 A man came through the restaurant, selling things. 男がレストランを通り抜け、物を売っていた。 He showed Ekaterina a piece of cheap silk, and her eyes shone with delight. 彼はエカテリーナに安い絹を見せ、彼女の目は大喜びで輝いた。 I offered to buy it for her. 私は彼女のためにそれを買うことを申し出た。 She thanked me, but no, it was impossible. 彼女は私に感謝したが、いや、それは不可能だった。 Not because I was a stranger, no, that wasn't it. 私が見知らぬ人だったからではありません、いや、そうではありませんでした。 Perhaps because she couldn't give anything back. おそらく彼女は何も返すことができなかったからでしょう。 Then the man put a fan into her hand. それから男は彼女の手に扇風機を置きました。 It was worth almost nothing, and I paid too much for it. それはほとんど何の価値もありませんでした、そして私はそれに対して多額の支払いをしました。 But that was different - a fan was necessary in the heat. しかし、それは異なっていました-暑さの中でファンが必要でした。