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KLARA AND THE SUN - KAZUO ISHIGURO, Part One - 06

Part One - 06

‘Listen,'she said, but for the next few seconds remained silent. Then she said, ‘It's so great you want to come. But I want things straight between us from the start, so I'm going to say this. Don't worry, Mom can't hear. Look, I think you'll like our house. I think you'll like my room, and that's where you'll be, not in some cupboard or anything. And we'll do all these great things together all the time I'm growing up. Only thing is, sometimes, well…'She glanced back quickly again, then lowering her voice further, said: ‘Maybe it's because some days I'm not so well. I don't know. But there might be something going on. I'm not sure what it is. I don't even know if it's something bad. But things sometimes get, well, unusual. Don't get me wrong, most times you wouldn't feel it. But I wanted to be straight with you. Because you know how lousy it feels, people telling you how perfect things will be and they're not being straight. That's why I'm telling you now. Please say you still want to come. You'll love my room, I know you will. And you'll see where the Sun goes down, like I told you the last time. You still want to come, right?'I nodded to her through the glass, as seriously as I knew how. I wanted also to tell her that if there was anything difficult, anything frightening, to be faced in her house, we would do so together. But I didn't know how to convey such a complex message through the glass without words, and so I clasped my hands together and held them up, shaking them slightly, in a gesture I'd seen a taxi driver give from inside his moving taxi to someone who'd waved from the sidewalk, even though he'd had to take both hands off his steering wheel. Whatever Josie understood from it, it seemed to make her happy. ‘Thank you,'she said. ‘Don't get me wrong. It may not be anything bad. It may only be me thinking things…'Just then the Mother called and started to move towards us, but there were tourists in her way, and Josie had time to say quickly: ‘I'll be back really soon. Promise. Tomorrow if I can. Bye just for now.'—Josie didn't return the following day, or the day after that. Then in the middle of our second week, our turn in the window came to an end. Throughout our time, Manager had been warm and encouraging. Each morning, as we'd prepared ourselves on the Striped Sofa and waited for the grid to rise, she'd said something like, ‘You were both wonderful yesterday. See if you can do just as well today.'And at the end of each day, she'd smiled and told us, ‘Well done, both of you. I'm so proud.'So it never occurred to me we were doing anything wrong, and when the grid came down on our last day, I was expecting Manager to praise us again. I was surprised, then, when after locking the grid, she simply walked away, not waiting for us. Rosa gave me a puzzled look, and for a moment we remained on the Striped Sofa. But with the grid down, we were in near-darkness, and so after a while we rose and came down off the platform. We were then facing the store, and I could see all the way to the Glass Table at the back, but the space had become partitioned into ten boxes, so that I no longer had a single unified picture of the view before me. The front alcove was in the box furthest to my right, as might be expected; and yet the magazines table, which was nearest the front alcove, had become divided between various boxes, so that one section of the table could even be seen in the box furthest to my left. By now the lights had been dimmed, and I spotted the other AFs in the backgrounds of several boxes, lining the walls mid-store, preparing for their sleep. But my attention was drawn to the three center boxes, at that moment containing aspects of Manager in the act of turning towards us. In one box she was visible only from her waist to the upper part of her neck, while the box immediately beside it was almost entirely taken up by her eyes. The eye closest to us was much larger than the other, but both were filled with kindness and sadness. And yet a third box showed a part of her jaw and most of her mouth, and I detected there anger and frustration. Then she had turned fully and was coming towards us, and the store became once more a single picture. ‘Thank you, both of you,'she said, and reaching out, touched us gently in turn. ‘Thank you so much.'Even so, I sensed something had changed –that we had somehow disappointed her. —We began after that our second period mid-store. Rosa and I were still often together, but Manager would now change our positions around, and I might spend a day standing beside Boy AF Rex or Girl AF Kiku. Most days, though, I'd still be able to see a section of the window, and so go on learning about the outside. When the Cootings Machine appeared, for instance, I was on the magazines table side, just in front of the middle alcove, and had almost as good a view as if I'd still been in the window. It had been obvious for days that the Cootings Machine was going to be something out of the ordinary. First, the overhaul men arrived to prepare for it, marking out a special section of the street with wooden barriers. The taxi drivers didn't like this at all, and made a lot of noise with their horns. Then the overhaul men began to drill and break up the ground, even parts of the sidewalk, which frightened the two AFs in the window. Once, when the noise became really awful, Rosa put her hands to her ears and kept them there, even though there were customers in the store. Manager apologized to every customer who came in, even though the noise had nothing to do with us. Once, a customer began talking about Pollution, and pointing to the overhaul men outside, said how dangerous Pollution was for everyone. So when the Cootings Machine first arrived, I thought it might be a machine to fight Pollution, but Boy AF Rex said no, it was something specially designed to make more of it. I told him I didn't believe him, and he said, ‘All right, Klara, you just wait and see.'It turned out of course that he was right. The Cootings Machine –I named it that in my mind because it had ‘Cootings'in big letters across its side –began with a high-pitched whine, not nearly as bad as the drills had been, and no worse than Manager's vacuum cleaner. But there were three short funnels protruding from its roof, and smoke began to come up out of them. At first the smoke came in little white puffs, then grew darker, till it no longer rose as separate clouds but as one thick continuous one. When I next looked, the street outside had become partitioned into several vertical panels –from my position I could see three of them quite clearly without leaning forward. The amount of dark smoke appeared to vary from panel to panel, so that it was almost as if contrasting shades of gray were being displayed for selection. But even where the smoke was at its most dense, I could still pick out many details. In one panel, for instance, there was a section of the overhaul men's wooden barrier, and seemingly now attached to it, the front part of a taxi. In the neighboring panel, diagonally cutting off its top corner, was a metal bar which I recognized as belonging to one of the high traffic signals. Indeed, looking more closely, I could decipher the dark edge of a bird's outline perched upon it. At one point I saw a runner pass from one panel into the next, and as he crossed, his figure altered both in terms of size and trajectory. Then the Pollution became so bad that, even from the magazines table side, I could no longer see the gap of sky, and the window itself, which the glass men cleaned so proudly for Manager, became covered with dirty dots. I felt so sorry for the two boy AFs who'd waited so long for their turn in the window. They went on sitting there with good postures, but at one stage I saw one of them raise an arm across his face as though the Pollution might come in through the glass. Manager then stepped up onto the platform to whisper reassuring things to him, and when she eventually came back down, and started rearranging the bracelets inside the Glass Display Trolley, I could see she too was upset. I thought she might even go outside and talk to the overhaul men, but then she noticed us, and she smiled and said: ‘Everyone, please listen.



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Part One - 06

‘Listen,'she said, but for the next few seconds remained silent. -Escucha -dijo ella, pero durante los siguientes segundos permaneció en silencio. Then she said, ‘It's so great you want to come. Luego ella dijo: 'Es genial que quieras venir. But I want things straight between us from the start, so I'm going to say this. Pero quiero que las cosas queden claras entre nosotros desde el principio, así que voy a decir esto. Но я хочу, чтобы между нами все было чисто с самого начала, так что я скажу вот что. Don't worry, Mom can't hear. No te preocupes, mamá no puede oír. Look, I think you'll like our house. Mira, creo que te gustará nuestra casa. I think you'll like my room, and that's where you'll be, not in some cupboard or anything. Creo que te gustará mi habitación, y ahí es donde estarás, no en un armario ni nada. And we'll do all these great things together all the time I'm growing up. Y haremos todas estas grandes cosas juntos todo el tiempo que esté creciendo. Only thing is, sometimes, well…'She glanced back quickly again, then lowering her voice further, said: ‘Maybe it's because some days I'm not so well. Lo único es que, a veces, bueno... Volvió a mirar rápidamente hacia atrás y luego, bajando aún más la voz, dijo: 'Tal vez sea porque algunos días no estoy muy bien. I don't know. No sé. But there might be something going on. Pero puede que algo esté pasando. I'm not sure what it is. No estoy seguro de lo que es. I don't even know if it's something bad. Ni siquiera sé si es algo malo. But things sometimes get, well, unusual. Pero las cosas a veces se ponen, bueno, inusuales. Но иногда вещи становятся, ну, необычными. Don't get me wrong, most times you wouldn't feel it. No me malinterpretes, la mayoría de las veces no lo sentirías. Не поймите меня неправильно, в большинстве случаев вы этого не почувствуете. But I wanted to be straight with you. Pero quería ser sincero contigo. Because you know how lousy it feels, people telling you how perfect things will be and they're not being straight. Porque sabes lo mal que se siente que la gente te diga lo perfectas que serán las cosas y no estén siendo sinceros. Потому что ты знаешь, как это паршиво, когда люди говорят тебе, как все будет идеально, и они не правы. That's why I'm telling you now. Por eso te lo digo ahora. Please say you still want to come. Por favor, di que todavía quieres venir. You'll love my room, I know you will. Te encantará mi habitación, sé que lo harás. And you'll see where the Sun goes down, like I told you the last time. Y verás por dónde se pone el Sol, como te dije la última vez. You still want to come, right?'I nodded to her through the glass, as seriously as I knew how. Todavía quieres correrte, ¿verdad? Asentí con la cabeza a través del cristal, tan seriamente como sabía. I wanted also to tell her that if there was anything difficult, anything frightening, to be faced in her house, we would do so together. También quería decirle que si había algo difícil, algo aterrador que enfrentar en su casa, lo haríamos juntos. But I didn't know how to convey such a complex message through the glass without words, and so I clasped my hands together and held them up, shaking them slightly, in a gesture I'd seen a taxi driver give from inside his moving taxi to someone who'd waved from the sidewalk, even though he'd had to take both hands off his steering wheel. Pero no sabía cómo transmitir un mensaje tan complejo a través del cristal sin palabras, así que junté las manos y las levanté, agitándolas ligeramente, en un gesto que había visto dar a un taxista desde el interior de su móvil. taxi a alguien que había saludado desde la acera, a pesar de que había tenido que quitar ambas manos del volante. Whatever Josie understood from it, it seemed to make her happy. Fuera lo que fuera lo que Josie entendía de él, parecía hacerla feliz. ‘Thank you,'she said. 'Gracias,' dijo ella. ‘Don't get me wrong. No me malinterpretes. It may not be anything bad. Puede que no sea nada malo. It may only be me thinking things…'Just then the Mother called and started to move towards us, but there were tourists in her way, and Josie had time to say quickly: ‘I'll be back really soon. Puede que solo sea yo pensando cosas... En ese momento la Madre llamó y comenzó a moverse hacia nosotros, pero había turistas en su camino, y Josie tuvo tiempo de decir rápidamente: 'Regresaré muy pronto. Может быть, это только я думаю…» В этот момент Мать позвала и начала двигаться к нам, но на ее пути стояли туристы, и Джози успела быстро сказать: «Я очень скоро вернусь. Promise. Tomorrow if I can. Mañana si puedo. Bye just for now.'—Josie didn't return the following day, or the day after that. Adiós, sólo por ahora.'—Josie no regresó al día siguiente, o al día siguiente. Then in the middle of our second week, our turn in the window came to an end. Luego, a la mitad de nuestra segunda semana, nuestro turno en la ventana llegó a su fin. Throughout our time, Manager had been warm and encouraging. A lo largo de nuestro tiempo, el Gerente había sido cálido y alentador. На протяжении всего нашего времени менеджер был теплым и ободряющим. Each morning, as we'd prepared ourselves on the Striped Sofa and waited for the grid to rise, she'd said something like, ‘You were both wonderful yesterday. Cada mañana, mientras nos preparábamos en el sofá rayado y esperábamos a que subiera la rejilla, ella decía algo como: 'Ayer estuvisteis maravillosos. Каждое утро, когда мы готовились на полосатом диване и ждали, пока поднимется сетка, она говорила что-то вроде: «Вчера вы оба были прекрасны. See if you can do just as well today.'And at the end of each day, she'd smiled and told us, ‘Well done, both of you. Vea si puede hacerlo igual de bien hoy'. Y al final de cada día, sonreía y nos decía: 'Bien hecho, ambos. I'm so proud.'So it never occurred to me we were doing anything wrong, and when the grid came down on our last day, I was expecting Manager to praise us again. Estoy muy orgulloso.'Así que nunca se me ocurrió que estábamos haciendo algo mal, y cuando la parrilla se cayó en nuestro último día, esperaba que el Gerente nos elogiara nuevamente. I was surprised, then, when after locking the grid, she simply walked away, not waiting for us. Me sorprendió, entonces, cuando después de bloquear la rejilla, ella simplemente se alejó, sin esperarnos. Rosa gave me a puzzled look, and for a moment we remained on the Striped Sofa. Rosa me miró perpleja y por un momento nos quedamos en el Sofá Rayado. But with the grid down, we were in near-darkness, and so after a while we rose and came down off the platform. Pero con la rejilla caída, estábamos casi a oscuras, así que después de un rato nos levantamos y bajamos de la plataforma. We were then facing the store, and I could see all the way to the Glass Table at the back, but the space had become partitioned into ten boxes, so that I no longer had a single unified picture of the view before me. Entonces estábamos frente a la tienda y podía ver todo el camino hasta la mesa de cristal en la parte de atrás, pero el espacio se había dividido en diez cajas, por lo que ya no tenía una sola imagen unificada de la vista ante mí. Мы тогда стояли лицом к магазину, и я мог видеть весь путь до Стеклянного стола сзади, но пространство было разделено на десять ящиков, так что у меня больше не было единой единой картины вида передо мной. The front alcove was in the box furthest to my right, as might be expected; and yet the magazines table, which was nearest the front alcove, had become divided between various boxes, so that one section of the table could even be seen in the box furthest to my left. La alcoba delantera estaba en el palco más a mi derecha, como era de esperar; y, sin embargo, la mesa de las revistas, que estaba más cerca de la alcoba delantera, se había dividido en varias cajas, de modo que una sección de la mesa podía verse incluso en la caja más alejada a mi izquierda. Как и следовало ожидать, передняя ниша находилась в ложе справа от меня; и все же стол с журналами, ближайший к передней нише, был разделен между различными ящиками, так что часть стола можно было увидеть даже в ящике, самом дальнем слева от меня. By now the lights had been dimmed, and I spotted the other AFs in the backgrounds of several boxes, lining the walls mid-store, preparing for their sleep. A estas alturas, las luces se habían atenuado y vi a los otros AF en los fondos de varias cajas, cubriendo las paredes en medio de la tienda, preparándose para dormir. К этому времени свет был приглушен, и я заметил других AF на заднем плане нескольких коробок, выстроившихся вдоль стен посреди магазина, готовясь ко сну. But my attention was drawn to the three center boxes, at that moment containing aspects of Manager in the act of turning towards us. Pero mi atención se centró en los tres cuadros centrales, que en ese momento contenían aspectos de Manager en el acto de volverse hacia nosotros. Но мое внимание было привлечено к трем центральным коробкам, в которых в этот момент были аспекты Менеджера, поворачивающегося к нам. In one box she was visible only from her waist to the upper part of her neck, while the box immediately beside it was almost entirely taken up by her eyes. En un recuadro sólo era visible desde la cintura hasta la parte superior del cuello, mientras que el recuadro inmediatamente al lado estaba ocupado casi por completo por sus ojos. В одном ящике она была видна только от талии до верхней части шеи, тогда как ящик рядом с ним был почти целиком занят ее глазами. The eye closest to us was much larger than the other, but both were filled with kindness and sadness. El ojo más cercano a nosotros era mucho más grande que el otro, pero ambos estaban llenos de bondad y tristeza. And yet a third box showed a part of her jaw and most of her mouth, and I detected there anger and frustration. Y, sin embargo, una tercera caja mostraba una parte de su mandíbula y la mayor parte de su boca, y detecté allí ira y frustración. Then she had turned fully and was coming towards us, and the store became once more a single picture. Luego se dio la vuelta por completo y venía hacia nosotros, y la tienda se convirtió una vez más en una sola imagen. ‘Thank you, both of you,'she said, and reaching out, touched us gently in turn. 'Gracias a los dos', dijo, y estirando la mano, nos tocó suavemente a su vez. ‘Thank you so much.'Even so, I sensed something had changed –that we had somehow disappointed her. 'Muchas gracias.' Aun así, sentí que algo había cambiado, que de alguna manera la habíamos decepcionado. —We began after that our second period mid-store. —Después de eso, comenzamos nuestro segundo período a mitad de la tienda. Rosa and I were still often together, but Manager would now change our positions around, and I might spend a day standing beside Boy AF Rex or Girl AF Kiku. Rosa y yo seguíamos juntos a menudo, pero el Gerente ahora cambiaba nuestras posiciones y yo podía pasar un día junto a Boy AF Rex o Girl AF Kiku. Most days, though, I'd still be able to see a section of the window, and so go on learning about the outside. Sin embargo, la mayoría de los días, todavía podría ver una sección de la ventana, y así seguiría aprendiendo sobre el exterior. When the Cootings Machine appeared, for instance, I was on the magazines table side, just in front of the middle alcove, and had almost as good a view as if I'd still been in the window. Cuando apareció la Cootings Machine, por ejemplo, yo estaba en el lado de la mesa de revistas, justo en frente del nicho del medio, y tenía una vista casi tan buena como si todavía estuviera en la ventana. It had been obvious for days that the Cootings Machine was going to be something out of the ordinary. Había sido obvio durante días que la Máquina de Coberturas iba a ser algo fuera de lo común. First, the overhaul men arrived to prepare for it, marking out a special section of the street with wooden barriers. Primero, los hombres de revisión llegaron para prepararse, marcando una sección especial de la calle con barreras de madera. The taxi drivers didn't like this at all, and made a lot of noise with their horns. A los taxistas no les gustó nada esto, e hicieron mucho ruido con sus bocinas. Then the overhaul men began to drill and break up the ground, even parts of the sidewalk, which frightened the two AFs in the window. Luego, los hombres de revisión comenzaron a perforar y romper el suelo, incluso partes de la acera, lo que asustó a los dos AF en la ventana. Once, when the noise became really awful, Rosa put her hands to her ears and kept them there, even though there were customers in the store. Una vez, cuando el ruido se volvió realmente espantoso, Rosa se tapó los oídos con las manos y las mantuvo allí, a pesar de que había clientes en la tienda. Manager apologized to every customer who came in, even though the noise had nothing to do with us. El gerente se disculpó con todos los clientes que entraron, aunque el ruido no tenía nada que ver con nosotros. Once, a customer began talking about Pollution, and pointing to the overhaul men outside, said how dangerous Pollution was for everyone. Una vez, un cliente comenzó a hablar sobre la contaminación y, señalando a los operarios de reparación que estaban afuera, dijo lo peligrosa que era la contaminación para todos. So when the Cootings Machine first arrived, I thought it might be a machine to fight Pollution, but Boy AF Rex said no, it was something specially designed to make more of it. Así que cuando llegó por primera vez la Cootings Machine, pensé que podría ser una máquina para combatir la contaminación, pero Boy AF Rex dijo que no, que era algo especialmente diseñado para aprovecharla más. I told him I didn't believe him, and he said, ‘All right, Klara, you just wait and see.'It turned out of course that he was right. Le dije que no le creía, y él dijo: 'Está bien, Klara, solo espera y verás'. Resultó, por supuesto, que tenía razón. The Cootings Machine –I named it that in my mind because it had ‘Cootings'in big letters across its side –began with a high-pitched whine, not nearly as bad as the drills had been, and no worse than Manager's vacuum cleaner. La Máquina Cootings (la llamé así en mi mente porque tenía 'Cootings' en letras grandes a lo largo del costado) comenzó con un gemido agudo, no tan malo como habían sido los taladros, y no peor que la aspiradora del Gerente. But there were three short funnels protruding from its roof, and smoke began to come up out of them. Pero había tres embudos cortos que sobresalían de su techo, y empezó a salir humo de ellos. At first the smoke came in little white puffs, then grew darker, till it no longer rose as separate clouds but as one thick continuous one. Al principio el humo venía en pequeñas bocanadas blancas, luego se oscureció, hasta que ya no se elevó como nubes separadas sino como una densa y continua. Сначала дым шел белыми облачками, потом становился все темнее, пока не поднимался уже не отдельными облаками, а одним густым сплошным. When I next looked, the street outside had become partitioned into several vertical panels –from my position I could see three of them quite clearly without leaning forward. Cuando volví a mirar, la calle exterior se había dividido en varios paneles verticales; desde mi posición, podía ver tres de ellos con bastante claridad sin inclinarme hacia adelante. The amount of dark smoke appeared to vary from panel to panel, so that it was almost as if contrasting shades of gray were being displayed for selection. La cantidad de humo oscuro parecía variar de un panel a otro, de modo que era casi como si se mostraran tonos de gris contrastantes para su selección. But even where the smoke was at its most dense, I could still pick out many details. Pero incluso donde el humo era más denso, aún podía distinguir muchos detalles. In one panel, for instance, there was a section of the overhaul men's wooden barrier, and seemingly now attached to it, the front part of a taxi. En un panel, por ejemplo, había una sección de la barrera de madera de los hombres de revisión, y aparentemente ahora unida a ella, la parte delantera de un taxi. На одном панно, например, был фрагмент ремонтного деревянного шлагбаума и, по-видимому, теперь прикрепленный к нему передок такси. In the neighboring panel, diagonally cutting off its top corner, was a metal bar which I recognized as belonging to one of the high traffic signals. En el panel vecino, cortando en diagonal su esquina superior, había una barra de metal que reconocí como perteneciente a uno de los semáforos altos. Indeed, looking more closely, I could decipher the dark edge of a bird's outline perched upon it. De hecho, mirando más de cerca, pude descifrar el borde oscuro de la silueta de un pájaro posado sobre él. At one point I saw a runner pass from one panel into the next, and as he crossed, his figure altered both in terms of size and trajectory. En un momento vi a un corredor pasar de un panel al siguiente, y mientras cruzaba, su figura cambiaba tanto en tamaño como en trayectoria. В какой-то момент я увидел, как бегун переходит от одной панели к другой, и по мере того, как он переходит, его фигура меняется как в плане размера, так и в плане траектории. Then the Pollution became so bad that, even from the magazines table side, I could no longer see the gap of sky, and the window itself, which the glass men cleaned so proudly for Manager, became covered with dirty dots. Luego, la contaminación se volvió tan mala que, incluso desde el lado de la mesa de revistas, ya no podía ver el espacio del cielo, y la ventana misma, que los hombres del vidrio limpiaron con tanto orgullo para Manager, se cubrió con puntos sucios. I felt so sorry for the two boy AFs who'd waited so long for their turn in the window. Sentí mucha pena por los dos muchachos AF que habían esperado tanto su turno en la ventana. They went on sitting there with good postures, but at one stage I saw one of them raise an arm across his face as though the Pollution might come in through the glass. Siguieron sentados allí con buenas posturas, pero en un momento vi que uno de ellos se pasaba el brazo por la cara como si la Contaminación pudiera entrar por el cristal. Manager then stepped up onto the platform to whisper reassuring things to him, and when she eventually came back down, and started rearranging the bracelets inside the Glass Display Trolley, I could see she too was upset. Luego, la gerente subió a la plataforma para susurrarle cosas tranquilizadoras, y cuando finalmente volvió a bajar y comenzó a reorganizar los brazaletes dentro del carrito de exhibición de vidrio, pude ver que ella también estaba molesta. I thought she might even go outside and talk to the overhaul men, but then she noticed us, and she smiled and said: ‘Everyone, please listen. Pensé que incluso podría salir y hablar con los hombres de revisión, pero luego se dio cuenta de nosotros, sonrió y dijo: 'Todos, por favor, escuchen.

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