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KLARA AND THE SUN - KAZUO ISHIGURO, Part One - 04

Part One - 04

However much I tried, though, I couldn't imagine either Rosa or me ever feeling that way about the store, about Manager and the other AFs. Then as I continued to watch the outside, another possibility came to me: that the AFs weren't embarrassed, but were afraid. They were afraid because we were new models, and they feared that before long their children would decide it was time to have them thrown away, to be replaced by AFs like us. That was why they shuffled by so awkwardly, refusing to look our way. And that was why so few AFs could be seen from our window. For all we knew, the next street –the one behind the RPO Building –was crowded with them. For all we knew, the AFs outside did all they could to take any route other than one that would bring them past our store, because the last thing they wanted was for their children to see us and come to the window. I shared none of these thoughts with Rosa. Instead, whenever we spotted an AF out there I made a point of wondering aloud if they were happy with their child and with their home, and this always pleased and excited Rosa. She took it up as a kind of game, pointing and saying: ‘Look, over there! Do you see, Klara? That boy just loves his AF! Oh, look at the way they're laughing together!'And sure enough, there were plenty of pairs that looked happy with each other. But Rosa missed so many signals. She would often exclaim delightedly at a pair going by, and I would look and realize that even though a girl was smiling at her AF, she was in fact angry with him, and was perhaps at that very moment thinking cruel thoughts about him. I noticed such things all the time, but said nothing and let Rosa go on believing what she did. Once, on the morning of our fifth day in the window, I saw two taxis, over on the RPO Building side, moving slowly and so close together someone new might have supposed they were a single vehicle –a kind of double taxi. Then the one in front became slightly faster and a gap appeared, and I saw through that gap, on the far sidewalk, a girl of fourteen, wearing a cartoon shirt, walking in the direction of the crossing. She was without adults or an AF but seemed confident and a little impatient, and because she was walking at the same speed as the taxis, I was able to keep watching her through the gap for some time. Then the gap between the taxis grew wider still, and I saw she was with an AF after all –a boy AF –who was walking three paces behind. And I could see, even in that small instant, that he hadn't lagged behind by chance; that this was how the girl had decided they would always walk –she in front and he a few steps behind. The boy AF had accepted this, even though other passers-by would see and conclude he wasn't loved by the girl. And I could see the weariness in the boy AF's walk, and wondered what it might be like to have found a home and yet to know that your child didn't want you. Until I saw this pair it hadn't occurred to me an AF could be with a child who despised him and wanted him gone, and that they could nevertheless carry on together. Then the front taxi slowed because of the crossing, and the one behind drew up and I couldn't see them any more. I kept watching to see if they would come over at the crossing, but they weren't in the crossing crowd, and I could no longer see the other side because of all the other taxis. —I wouldn't have wanted anyone other than Rosa beside me in the window during those days, but our time there did bring out the differences in our attitudes. It wasn't really that I was more eager to learn about the outside than Rosa: she was, in her own way, excited and observant, and as anxious as I was to prepare herself to be as kind and helpful an AF as possible. But the more I watched, the more I wanted to learn, and unlike Rosa, I became puzzled, then increasingly fascinated by the more mysterious emotions passers-by would display in front of us. I realized that if I didn't understand at least some of these mysterious things, then when the time came, I'd never be able to help my child as well as I should. So I began to seek out –on the sidewalks, inside the passing taxis, amidst the crowds waiting at the crossing –the sort of behavior about which I needed to learn. At first I wanted Rosa to do as I was, but soon saw this was pointless. Once, on our third window day, when the Sun had already gone behind the RPO Building, two taxis stopped on our side, the drivers got out and began to fight each other. This wasn't the first time we'd witnessed a fight: when we were still quite new, we'd gathered at the window to see as best we could three policemen fighting with Beggar Man and his dog in front of the blank doorway. But that hadn't been an angry fight, and Manager had later explained how the policemen had been worried about Beggar Man because he'd become drunk and they'd only been trying to help him. But the two taxi drivers weren't like the policemen. They fought as though the most important thing was to damage each other as much as possible. Their faces were twisted into horrible shapes, so that someone new might not even have realized they were people at all, and all the time they were punching each other, they shouted out cruel words. The passers-by were at first so shocked they stood back, but then some office workers and a runner stopped them from fighting any more. And though one had blood on his face, they each got back into their taxis, and everything went back to the way it was before. I even noticed, a moment later, the two taxis –the ones whose drivers had just been fighting –waiting patiently, one in front of the other, in the same traffic lane for the lights to change. But when I tried to talk with Rosa about what we'd seen, she looked puzzled and said: ‘A fight? I didn't see it, Klara.'‘Rosa, it's not possible you didn't notice. It happened in front of us just now. Those two drivers.'‘Oh. You mean the taxi men! I didn't realize you meant them, Klara. Oh, I did see them, of course I did. But I don't think they were fighting.'‘Rosa, of course they were fighting.'‘Oh no, they were pretending. Just playing.'‘Rosa, they were fighting.'‘Don't be silly, Klara! You think such strange thoughts. They were just playing. And they enjoyed themselves, and so did the passers-by.'In the end I just said, ‘You may be right, Rosa,'and I don't think she gave the incident any more thought. But I couldn't forget the taxi drivers so easily. I'd follow a particular person down the sidewalk with my gaze, wondering if he too could grow as angry as they had done. Or I would try to imagine what a passer-by would look like with his or her face distorted in rage. Most of all –and this Rosa would never have understood –I tried to feel in my own mind the anger the drivers had experienced. I tried to imagine me and Rosa getting so angry with each other we would start to fight like that, actually trying to damage each other's bodies. The idea seemed ridiculous, but I'd seen the taxi drivers, so I tried to find the beginnings of such a feeling in my mind. It was useless, though, and I'd always end up laughing at my own thoughts. Still, there were other things we saw from the window –other kinds of emotions I didn't at first understand –of which I did eventually find some versions in myself, even if they were perhaps like the shadows made across the floor by the ceiling lamps after the grid went down. There was, for instance, what happened with the Coffee Cup Lady. It was two days after I'd first met Josie. The morning had been full of rain, and passers-by were walking with narrow eyes, under umbrellas and dripping hats. The RPO Building hadn't changed much in the downpour, though many of its windows had become lit as if it were already evening. The Fire Escapes Building next to it had a large wet patch down the left side of its front, as though some juice had leaked from a corner of its roof. But then suddenly the Sun pushed through, shining onto the soaked street and the tops of the taxis, and the passers-by all came out in large numbers when they saw this, and it was in the rush that followed that I spotted the small man in the raincoat.



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Part One - 04 Часть первая - 04

However much I tried, though, I couldn't imagine either Rosa or me ever feeling that way about the store, about Manager and the other AFs. Sin embargo, por mucho que lo intenté, no podía imaginar que ni Rosa ni yo nos sintiéramos de esa manera por la tienda, por Manager y los otros AF. Однако, как бы я ни старался, я не мог представить, чтобы ни Роза, ни я когда-либо чувствовали что-то подобное по отношению к магазину, к Менеджеру и другим AF. Then as I continued to watch the outside, another possibility came to me: that the AFs weren't embarrassed, but were afraid. Luego, mientras seguía observando el exterior, se me ocurrió otra posibilidad: que los AF no estaban avergonzados, sino asustados. Затем, когда я продолжал наблюдать за внешним миром, мне пришла в голову другая возможность: AF не были смущены, а боялись. They were afraid because we were new models, and they feared that before long their children would decide it was time to have them thrown away, to be replaced by AFs like us. Они боялись, потому что мы были новыми моделями, и они боялись, что вскоре их дети решат, что пора выбросить их и заменить такими AF, как мы. That was why they shuffled by so awkwardly, refusing to look our way. Вот почему они так неловко брели мимо, отказываясь смотреть в нашу сторону. And that was why so few AFs could be seen from our window. И именно поэтому из нашего окна было видно так мало АФ. For all we knew, the next street –the one behind the RPO Building –was crowded with them. For all we knew, the AFs outside did all they could to take any route other than one that would bring them past our store, because the last thing they wanted was for their children to see us and come to the window. I shared none of these thoughts with Rosa. Instead, whenever we spotted an AF out there I made a point of wondering aloud if they were happy with their child and with their home, and this always pleased and excited Rosa. She took it up as a kind of game, pointing and saying: ‘Look, over there! Do you see, Klara? That boy just loves his AF! Oh, look at the way they're laughing together!'And sure enough, there were plenty of pairs that looked happy with each other. But Rosa missed so many signals. She would often exclaim delightedly at a pair going by, and I would look and realize that even though a girl was smiling at her AF, she was in fact angry with him, and was perhaps at that very moment thinking cruel thoughts about him. I noticed such things all the time, but said nothing and let Rosa go on believing what she did. Once, on the morning of our fifth day in the window, I saw two taxis, over on the RPO Building side, moving slowly and so close together someone new might have supposed they were a single vehicle –a kind of double taxi. Then the one in front became slightly faster and a gap appeared, and I saw through that gap, on the far sidewalk, a girl of fourteen, wearing a cartoon shirt, walking in the direction of the crossing. She was without adults or an AF but seemed confident and a little impatient, and because she was walking at the same speed as the taxis, I was able to keep watching her through the gap for some time. Then the gap between the taxis grew wider still, and I saw she was with an AF after all –a boy AF –who was walking three paces behind. And I could see, even in that small instant, that he hadn't lagged behind by chance; that this was how the girl had decided they would always walk –she in front and he a few steps behind. The boy AF had accepted this, even though other passers-by would see and conclude he wasn't loved by the girl. And I could see the weariness in the boy AF's walk, and wondered what it might be like to have found a home and yet to know that your child didn't want you. Until I saw this pair it hadn't occurred to me an AF could be with a child who despised him and wanted him gone, and that they could nevertheless carry on together. Then the front taxi slowed because of the crossing, and the one behind drew up and I couldn't see them any more. I kept watching to see if they would come over at the crossing, but they weren't in the crossing crowd, and I could no longer see the other side because of all the other taxis. —I wouldn't have wanted anyone other than Rosa beside me in the window during those days, but our time there did bring out the differences in our attitudes. — В те дни я бы не хотел, чтобы кто-нибудь, кроме Розы, был рядом со мной в окне, но время, проведенное там, выявило разницу в наших установках. It wasn't really that I was more eager to learn about the outside than Rosa: she was, in her own way, excited and observant, and as anxious as I was to prepare herself to be as kind and helpful an AF as possible. But the more I watched, the more I wanted to learn, and unlike Rosa, I became puzzled, then increasingly fascinated by the more mysterious emotions passers-by would display in front of us. Но чем больше я смотрел, тем больше мне хотелось узнать, и, в отличие от Розы, я становился озадаченным, а затем все больше зачаровывался более таинственными эмоциями, которые прохожие проявляли перед нами. I realized that if I didn't understand at least some of these mysterious things, then when the time came, I'd never be able to help my child as well as I should. So I began to seek out –on the sidewalks, inside the passing taxis, amidst the crowds waiting at the crossing –the sort of behavior about which I needed to learn. At first I wanted Rosa to do as I was, but soon saw this was pointless. Once, on our third window day, when the Sun had already gone behind the RPO Building, two taxis stopped on our side, the drivers got out and began to fight each other. This wasn't the first time we'd witnessed a fight: when we were still quite new, we'd gathered at the window to see as best we could three policemen fighting with Beggar Man and his dog in front of the blank doorway. Это был не первый раз, когда мы были свидетелями драки: когда мы были еще совсем новичками, мы собрались у окна, чтобы как можно лучше увидеть трех полицейских, дерущихся с Нищим и его собакой перед глухим дверным проемом. But that hadn't been an angry fight, and Manager had later explained how the policemen had been worried about Beggar Man because he'd become drunk and they'd only been trying to help him. But the two taxi drivers weren't like the policemen. They fought as though the most important thing was to damage each other as much as possible. Their faces were twisted into horrible shapes, so that someone new might not even have realized they were people at all, and all the time they were punching each other, they shouted out cruel words. The passers-by were at first so shocked they stood back, but then some office workers and a runner stopped them from fighting any more. And though one had blood on his face, they each got back into their taxis, and everything went back to the way it was before. I even noticed, a moment later, the two taxis –the ones whose drivers had just been fighting –waiting patiently, one in front of the other, in the same traffic lane for the lights to change. But when I tried to talk with Rosa about what we'd seen, she looked puzzled and said: ‘A fight? I didn't see it, Klara.'‘Rosa, it's not possible you didn't notice. It happened in front of us just now. Those two drivers.'‘Oh. You mean the taxi men! I didn't realize you meant them, Klara. Oh, I did see them, of course I did. But I don't think they were fighting.'‘Rosa, of course they were fighting.'‘Oh no, they were pretending. Just playing.'‘Rosa, they were fighting.'‘Don't be silly, Klara! You think such strange thoughts. They were just playing. And they enjoyed themselves, and so did the passers-by.'In the end I just said, ‘You may be right, Rosa,'and I don't think she gave the incident any more thought. But I couldn't forget the taxi drivers so easily. I'd follow a particular person down the sidewalk with my gaze, wondering if he too could grow as angry as they had done. Я следил взглядом за конкретным человеком по тротуару, задаваясь вопросом, может ли он тоже разозлиться так же, как они. Or I would try to imagine what a passer-by would look like with his or her face distorted in rage. Most of all –and this Rosa would never have understood –I tried to feel in my own mind the anger the drivers had experienced. I tried to imagine me and Rosa getting so angry with each other we would start to fight like that, actually trying to damage each other's bodies. The idea seemed ridiculous, but I'd seen the taxi drivers, so I tried to find the beginnings of such a feeling in my mind. It was useless, though, and I'd always end up laughing at my own thoughts. Однако это было бесполезно, и я всегда заканчивал тем, что смеялся над своими собственными мыслями. Still, there were other things we saw from the window –other kinds of emotions I didn't at first understand –of which I did eventually find some versions in myself, even if they were perhaps like the shadows made across the floor by the ceiling lamps after the grid went down. Тем не менее, были и другие вещи, которые мы видели из окна — другие виды эмоций, которые я сначала не понимал, — некоторые версии которых я в конце концов нашел в себе, даже если они, возможно, были похожи на тени, отбрасываемые на пол под потолком. лампы после того, как сетка вышла из строя. There was, for instance, what happened with the Coffee Cup Lady. Например, то, что случилось с Леди из кофейной чашки. It was two days after I'd first met Josie. The morning had been full of rain, and passers-by were walking with narrow eyes, under umbrellas and dripping hats. Утро выдалось дождливым, и прохожие шли с прищуренными глазами, под зонтиками и промокшими шляпами. The RPO Building hadn't changed much in the downpour, though many of its windows had become lit as if it were already evening. The Fire Escapes Building next to it had a large wet patch down the left side of its front, as though some juice had leaked from a corner of its roof. У здания пожарных лестниц рядом с ним было большое мокрое пятно на левой стороне фасада, как будто из угла крыши вытекло немного сока. But then suddenly the Sun pushed through, shining onto the soaked street and the tops of the taxis, and the passers-by all came out in large numbers when they saw this, and it was in the rush that followed that I spotted the small man in the raincoat. Но тут внезапно прорвалось солнце, осветив промокшую улицу и крыши такси, и прохожие выбежали в большом количестве, когда увидели это, и именно в последовавшей за этим спешке я заметил маленького человека. в плаще.

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