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KLARA AND THE SUN - KAZUO ISHIGURO, Part Two - 02 (3)

Part Two - 02 (3)

Rick looked around at the discarded jackets, displaced seat cushions, plates, soda cans, potato snack bags, magazines, but he didn't look towards me. I wondered if any adults would come in to tidy now that the children had left, but none of them came, and the blur of voices continued from the kitchen.

‘You challenged that boy, I think, for my benefit,' I said eventually. ‘Thank you.'

Rick shrugged. ‘He was getting seriously annoying. In fact they all were.' Then he added, still not looking my way: ‘I suppose it wasn't exactly enjoyable for you either.'

‘It became uncomfortable for me and I was grateful for Rick's rescue. But it has also been very interesting.'

‘Interesting?'

‘It's important for me to observe Josie in many situations. And it was very interesting, for instance, to observe the different shapes the children made as they went from group to group.' When he said nothing to this, and continued to look the other way, I said: ‘Perhaps Rick wishes to go out now and join them. Reconcile with them.'

He shook his head. Then he moved through the Sun's pattern – the Open Plan, I noticed, was no longer spatially segmented – and sat down on the modular sofa, stretching his legs out across the floorboards.

‘I suppose they have a point though,' he said. ‘I don't belong here. This is a meeting for lifted kids.'

‘Rick came because Josie very much wanted him to come.'

‘She insisted I came. But I suppose she's too busy now to come back in here, see how I'm enjoying this part of the party.' He leaned back into the sofa till the Sun's pattern was over his face, obliging him to close his eyes. ‘The trouble is,' he went on, ‘she doesn't stay the same. I thought if I came today – stupid, really – I thought she might not…change. Might stay the same Josie.'

When he said this, I saw again Josie's hands at various points during the interaction meeting – welcome hands, offering hands, tension hands – and her face, and her voice when someone had asked why she hadn't chosen a B3 and she'd laughed and said, ‘Now I'm starting to think I should have.' And Manager's words came into my mind, her warning about children who made promises at the window, yet never returned, or worse still, returned and chose another AF altogether. I thought about the boy AF I'd seen through the gap between the slow taxis, walking despondently along the RPO Building side, three paces behind his teenager, and I wondered if Josie and I would ever walk in such a way.

‘Perhaps you can see now,' Rick said, opening his eyes despite the Sun's pattern. ‘See how I need to save Josie from this lot.'

‘I can see Rick is afraid Josie might become like the others. But even though she behaved strangely just now, I believe Josie is kind underneath. And those other children. They have rough ways, but they may not be so unkind. They fear loneliness and that's why they behave as they do. Perhaps Josie too.'

‘If Josie hangs out with them much more, she soon won't be Josie at all. Somewhere she knows that herself, and that's why she keeps on about our plan. For ages she'd forgotten about it, but now she talks about it all the time.'

‘I heard Josie mention this plan the other day. Is it a plan about Rick and Josie sharing a future together?'

He looked past me out of the Open Plan's window, and I thought his hostility towards me had returned. But then he said:

‘It's just something we started when we were young. Before we realized how it would be. How all these things could get in our way. Even so, Josie still believes in it.'

‘And Rick still believes in the plan too?'

He now looked directly at me. ‘Like I say. Without the plan, she's going to end up becoming one of them. I'd better go.' He rose suddenly. ‘Before those kids come back. Or that crazy mother.'

‘I hope we can soon talk again about these matters. Because I believe in many ways Rick and I have similar goals.'

‘Look, the other day. When I said about not wanting Josie to have an AF. It wasn't anything personal. It was just…well, it felt like something else that would get in our way.'

‘I hope not. In fact now I understand more, I'd like to do my best to help with Rick and Josie's plan. Perhaps help remove the obstacles you talk about.'

‘I'd better go. Check my mum's all right.'

‘Of course.'

He walked past me, and out of the Open Plan. I took a few steps forward so I could watch him go out through the front door and into the Sun's brightness.

As I said to Rick that day, the interaction meeting had been a source of valuable new observations. I had, for one thing, learned about Josie's ability to ‘change' – as Rick had put it – and I watched carefully for signs of her doing so again. I wondered too how much she really did wish she'd chosen a B3. Her remark had most likely been intended as a humorous one, to keep back the threat of disharmony during the meeting. Even so, it was true B3s had capabilities beyond my own, and I had to consider the possibility that Josie might sometimes entertain such ideas in her mind.

In the days following the meeting, I worried also about how Josie might view my failure to respond to the long-armed girl's questions. In the situation that had developed – and in the absence of clear signals from Josie – I'd taken the course I'd considered to be for the best. But it now occurred to me Josie might, after a period of reflection, become angry with me.

For all these reasons, I feared the interaction meeting might place shadows over our friendship. But as the days went by, Josie remained as cheerful and kind to me as she'd ever been. I waited for her to bring up the events of the meeting, but she never did so.

As I say, these were helpful lessons for me. Not only had I learned that ‘changes' were a part of Josie, and that I should be ready to accommodate them, I'd begun to understand also that this wasn't a trait peculiar just to Josie; that people often felt the need to prepare a side of themselves to display to passers-by – as they might in a store window – and that such a display needn't be taken so seriously once the moment had passed.

I was happy then that nothing changed between us on account of the meeting. However, not long afterwards, something else came along which did for a time make our friendship less warm. This was the trip to Morgan's Falls, and it came to trouble me because I couldn't for a long time see how it had created coldness between us, or how I might have avoided such a thing happening.

Early one morning, three weeks after the interaction meeting, I looked over to Josie and could tell from her posture and her breathing that she wasn't sleeping in her usual way. I used the alarm button and the Mother came immediately. She phoned for Dr Ryan, and then I heard Melania Housekeeper calling him again a little later to ask him to hurry. When he did come, he checked Josie over carefully, then said there was nothing to worry about. The Mother was relieved, and once the doctor had left, her manner became brisk. She sat on the edge of Josie's bed and said to her: ‘You have to quit that energy drink. I always said it was bad for you.'

Josie said, not lifting her head from her pillow: ‘I knew there was nothing wrong with me. I got really tired, is all. You didn't have to worry about me. And now you're going to be late for work.'

‘Worrying about you, Josie, that's my work.' Then she added: ‘Klara's work too. She did well to raise the alarm.'

‘I just need to sleep a little more. Then I promise I'll be fine, Mom.'

‘Listen, honey.' The Mother leaned right over till she was talking into Josie's ear. ‘Listen. You need to get well for me. Do you hear me?'

‘Hear you, Mom.'

‘Good. I wasn't sure you were listening.'

‘Listening, Mom. I'm keeping my eyes shut, is all.'

‘Okay. So here's the deal. Get better by the weekend and we'll go to Morgan's Falls. You still love that place, right?'

‘Yes, Mom. I still love it.'

‘Good. Then that's the deal. Sunday, Morgan's Falls. So long as you get well.'

There was a long silence, then I heard Josie say, as though into her pillow:

‘Mom. If I get well, can we take Klara with us? Show her Morgan's Falls? She's only ever been outside once. And that was just around here.'

‘Of course Klara can come. But you'll have to get well or none of this works. You understand, Josie?'

‘I understand, Mom. I have to sleep some more now.'

She woke up just before lunch, and I was going to tell Melania Housekeeper as I'd been instructed to do, but Josie said tiredly:

‘Klara? Have you been here the whole time I've been sleeping?'

‘Of course.'

‘Did you hear what Mom was saying about us going to Morgan's Falls?'

‘Yes. And I'm very much hoping we'll be able to go. But your mother said we'd go only if you were well enough.'

‘I'll be okay. If I wanted, I could go this afternoon. Just tired, that's all.'

‘What is this Morgan's Falls, Josie?'

‘Beautiful is what it is. You'll think it's amazing. I'll show you pictures later.'

Josie remained tired for much of the day. But in the late afternoon, once I raised the bedroom blinds to let the Sun's pattern fall over her, she became noticeably stronger. Melania Housekeeper came up to see her then, and said Josie could get dressed so long as she promised to spend the rest of the day quietly. That was how we came to still be in the bedroom as the evening approached, when Josie produced a cardboard box from under her bed.

‘I'll show you,' she said, and tipped the box out. Many print photos of varying dimensions tumbled out onto the rug, some face up, others down. I understood that these were favorite images from Josie's past, kept near her bed so she could cheer herself up viewing them whenever she wanted. Many of the images were now overlapping, but I could see they were mostly of Josie when younger. Some photos showed her with the Mother, some with Melania Housekeeper, others with people I didn't know. Josie continued spreading them across the rug, then picked one up and smiled.

‘Morgan's Falls,' she said. ‘This is where we're going on Sunday. What do you think?'

She gave me the photo – I was by now kneeling beside her – and I saw a younger Josie sitting outdoors at a table made from rough wooden planks. Even the seating was planks, and sitting beside her was the Mother, less thin and with her hair cut shorter than now. I was interested to see a third figure at the table, a girl who I estimated as eleven years old, wearing a short jacket made of light cotton. Because the stranger girl was sitting with her back to the photographer, I couldn't see her face. The Sun's patterns were visible over them all, falling across the tabletop. Behind Josie and the Mother was a blurred black-and-white pattern. I inspected this carefully, then said:

‘This is a waterfall.'

‘Yup. You ever seen a waterfall, Klara?'

‘Yes. I saw one in a magazine at the store. And look! You're eating, right in front of the waterfall.'



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Part Two - 02 (3)

Rick looked around at the discarded jackets, displaced seat cushions, plates, soda cans, potato snack bags, magazines, but he didn't look towards me. Rick miró a su alrededor, a las chaquetas desechadas, los cojines de los asientos desplazados, los platos, las latas de refresco, las bolsas de bocadillos de papa, las revistas, pero no miró hacia mí. I wondered if any adults would come in to tidy now that the children had left, but none of them came, and the blur of voices continued from the kitchen. Me pregunté si algún adulto entraría a limpiar ahora que los niños se habían ido, pero ninguno de ellos vino, y el borrón de voces continuó desde la cocina.

‘You challenged that boy, I think, for my benefit,' I said eventually. 'Retaste a ese chico, creo, para mi beneficio', dije finalmente. ‘Thank you.' 'Gracias.'

Rick shrugged. Rick se encogió de hombros. ‘He was getting seriously annoying. 'Se estaba volviendo seriamente molesto. In fact they all were.' Then he added, still not looking my way: ‘I suppose it wasn't exactly enjoyable for you either.' De hecho, todos lo eran. Luego añadió, todavía sin mirarme: 'Supongo que tampoco fue exactamente agradable para ti'.

‘It became uncomfortable for me and I was grateful for Rick's rescue. “Se volvió incómodo para mí y estaba agradecido por el rescate de Rick. But it has also been very interesting.' Pero también ha sido muy interesante.'

‘Interesting?' '¿Interesante?'

‘It's important for me to observe Josie in many situations. 'Es importante para mí observar a Josie en muchas situaciones. And it was very interesting, for instance, to observe the different shapes the children made as they went from group to group.' When he said nothing to this, and continued to look the other way, I said: ‘Perhaps Rick wishes to go out now and join them. Y fue muy interesante, por ejemplo, observar las diferentes formas que hacían los niños al pasar de un grupo a otro.' Cuando no dijo nada a esto, y siguió mirando hacia otro lado, dije: 'Tal vez Rick desee salir ahora y unirse a ellos. Reconcile with them.' reconciliaos con ellos.

He shook his head. Sacudió la cabeza. Then he moved through the Sun's pattern – the Open Plan, I noticed, was no longer spatially segmented – and sat down on the modular sofa, stretching his legs out across the floorboards. Luego se movió a través del patrón del Sol (me di cuenta de que el Plan Abierto ya no estaba espacialmente segmentado) y se sentó en el sofá modular, estirando las piernas sobre las tablas del piso.

‘I suppose they have a point though,' he said. "Supongo que tienen un punto, sin embargo", dijo. ‘I don't belong here. Yo no pertenezco aquí. This is a meeting for lifted kids.' Esta es una reunión para niños elevados.

‘Rick came because Josie very much wanted him to come.' Rick vino porque Josie tenía muchas ganas de que viniera.

‘She insisted I came. Ella insistió en que viniera. But I suppose she's too busy now to come back in here, see how I'm enjoying this part of the party.' He leaned back into the sofa till the Sun's pattern was over his face, obliging him to close his eyes. Pero supongo que ahora está demasiado ocupada para volver aquí y ver cómo estoy disfrutando esta parte de la fiesta. Se recostó en el sofá hasta que el patrón del sol cubrió su rostro, obligándolo a cerrar los ojos. ‘The trouble is,' he went on, ‘she doesn't stay the same. El problema es —prosiguió— que ella no permanece igual. I thought if I came today – stupid, really – I thought she might not…change. Pensé que si venía hoy, estúpido, de verdad, pensé que ella podría no... cambiar. Might stay the same Josie.' Podría seguir siendo la misma Josie.

When he said this, I saw again Josie's hands at various points during the interaction meeting – welcome hands, offering hands, tension hands – and her face, and her voice when someone had asked why she hadn't chosen a B3 and she'd laughed and said, ‘Now I'm starting to think I should have.' And Manager's words came into my mind, her warning about children who made promises at the window, yet never returned, or worse still, returned and chose another AF altogether. Cuando dijo esto, volví a ver las manos de Josie en varios puntos durante la reunión de interacción (manos de bienvenida, manos de ofrecimiento, manos de tensión) y su rostro, y su voz cuando alguien le preguntó por qué no había elegido un B3 y ella se rió y dijo: 'Ahora estoy empezando a pensar que debería haberlo hecho'. Y me vinieron a la mente las palabras de Manager, su advertencia sobre los niños que hacían promesas en la ventana y nunca regresaban, o peor aún, regresaban y elegían otra AF por completo. I thought about the boy AF I'd seen through the gap between the slow taxis, walking despondently along the RPO Building side, three paces behind his teenager, and I wondered if Josie and I would ever walk in such a way. Pensé en el chico AF que había visto a través del espacio entre los taxis lentos, caminando desanimado por el costado del edificio RPO, tres pasos detrás de su hijo adolescente, y me pregunté si Josie y yo alguna vez caminaríamos de esa manera.

‘Perhaps you can see now,' Rick said, opening his eyes despite the Sun's pattern. —Tal vez puedas ver ahora —dijo Rick, abriendo los ojos a pesar del patrón del Sol—. ‘See how I need to save Josie from this lot.' 'Mira cómo necesito salvar a Josie de este lote'.

‘I can see Rick is afraid Josie might become like the others. Veo que Rick tiene miedo de que Josie se vuelva como los demás. But even though she behaved strangely just now, I believe Josie is kind underneath. Pero a pesar de que se comportó de manera extraña en este momento, creo que Josie es amable en el fondo. And those other children. Y esos otros niños. They have rough ways, but they may not be so unkind. Tienen maneras toscas, pero puede que no sean tan crueles. They fear loneliness and that's why they behave as they do. Temen la soledad y por eso se comportan como lo hacen. Perhaps Josie too.' Quizás Josie también.

‘If Josie hangs out with them much more, she soon won't be Josie at all. 'Si Josie pasa mucho más tiempo con ellos, pronto dejará de ser Josie. Somewhere she knows that herself, and that's why she keeps on about our plan. En algún lugar ella misma lo sabe, y es por eso que sigue con nuestro plan. For ages she'd forgotten about it, but now she talks about it all the time.' Durante mucho tiempo se había olvidado de eso, pero ahora habla de eso todo el tiempo.

‘I heard Josie mention this plan the other day. 'Escuché a Josie mencionar este plan el otro día. Is it a plan about Rick and Josie sharing a future together?' ¿Es un plan sobre Rick y Josie compartiendo un futuro juntos?

He looked past me out of the Open Plan's window, and I thought his hostility towards me had returned. Miró más allá de mí por la ventana del Open Plan, y pensé que su hostilidad hacia mí había regresado. But then he said: Pero luego dijo:

‘It's just something we started when we were young. Es algo que empezamos cuando éramos jóvenes. Before we realized how it would be. Antes de darnos cuenta de cómo sería. How all these things could get in our way. Cómo todas estas cosas podrían interponerse en nuestro camino. Even so, Josie still believes in it.' Aun así, Josie todavía cree en ello.

‘And Rick still believes in the plan too?' '¿Y Rick todavía cree en el plan también?'

He now looked directly at me. Ahora me miró directamente. ‘Like I say. 'Como digo. Without the plan, she's going to end up becoming one of them. Sin el plan, terminará convirtiéndose en uno de ellos. I'd better go.' He rose suddenly. Mejor me voy.' Se levantó de repente. ‘Before those kids come back. Antes de que vuelvan esos niños. Or that crazy mother.' O esa madre loca.

‘I hope we can soon talk again about these matters. 'Espero que pronto podamos hablar de nuevo sobre estos asuntos. Because I believe in many ways Rick and I have similar goals.' Porque creo que en muchos sentidos Rick y yo tenemos objetivos similares.'

‘Look, the other day. 'Mira, el otro día. When I said about not wanting Josie to have an AF. Cuando dije que no quería que Josie tuviera una FA. It wasn't anything personal. No fue nada personal. It was just…well, it felt like something else that would get in our way.' Era solo... bueno, se sentía como algo más que se interpondría en nuestro camino.

‘I hope not. 'Espero que no. In fact now I understand more, I'd like to do my best to help with Rick and Josie's plan. De hecho, ahora entiendo más, me gustaría hacer todo lo posible para ayudar con el plan de Rick y Josie. Perhaps help remove the obstacles you talk about.' Quizá ayude a eliminar los obstáculos de los que habla.

‘I'd better go. 'Mejor me voy. Check my mum's all right.' Comprueba que mi madre está bien.

‘Of course.' 'Por supuesto.'

He walked past me, and out of the Open Plan. Pasó junto a mí y salió del Open Plan. I took a few steps forward so I could watch him go out through the front door and into the Sun's brightness. Di unos pasos hacia adelante para poder verlo salir por la puerta principal y salir al brillo del sol.

As I said to Rick that day, the interaction meeting had been a source of valuable new observations. Como le dije a Rick ese día, la reunión de interacción había sido una fuente de valiosas observaciones nuevas. I had, for one thing, learned about Josie's ability to ‘change' – as Rick had put it – and I watched carefully for signs of her doing so again. Por un lado, me había enterado de la capacidad de Josie para 'cambiar', como lo había dicho Rick, y observé con atención las señales de que lo hiciera de nuevo. I wondered too how much she really did wish she'd chosen a B3. También me pregunté cuánto desearía realmente haber elegido un B3. Her remark had most likely been intended as a humorous one, to keep back the threat of disharmony during the meeting. Lo más probable es que su comentario tuviera la intención de ser humorístico, para evitar la amenaza de falta de armonía durante la reunión. Even so, it was true B3s had capabilities beyond my own, and I had to consider the possibility that Josie might sometimes entertain such ideas in her mind. Aun así, era cierto que los B3 tenían capacidades más allá de las mías, y tuve que considerar la posibilidad de que Josie a veces tuviera esas ideas en mente.

In the days following the meeting, I worried also about how Josie might view my failure to respond to the long-armed girl's questions. En los días que siguieron a la reunión, también me preocupaba cómo Josie vería mi falta de respuesta a las preguntas de la chica de brazos largos. In the situation that had developed – and in the absence of clear signals from Josie – I'd taken the course I'd considered to be for the best. En la situación que se había desarrollado, y en ausencia de señales claras de Josie, tomé el curso que consideré mejor. But it now occurred to me Josie might, after a period of reflection, become angry with me. Pero ahora se me ocurrió que Josie podría, después de un período de reflexión, enfadarse conmigo.

For all these reasons, I feared the interaction meeting might place shadows over our friendship. Por todas estas razones, temía que la reunión de interacción pudiera ensombrecer nuestra amistad. But as the days went by, Josie remained as cheerful and kind to me as she'd ever been. Pero a medida que pasaban los días, Josie seguía siendo tan alegre y amable conmigo como siempre. I waited for her to bring up the events of the meeting, but she never did so. Esperé a que mencionara los eventos de la reunión, pero nunca lo hizo.

As I say, these were helpful lessons for me. Como digo, estas fueron lecciones útiles para mí. Not only had I learned that ‘changes' were a part of Josie, and that I should be ready to accommodate them, I'd begun to understand also that this wasn't a trait peculiar just to Josie; that people often felt the need to prepare a side of themselves to display to passers-by – as they might in a store window – and that such a display needn't be taken so seriously once the moment had passed. No solo aprendí que los 'cambios' eran parte de Josie, y que debería estar lista para acomodarlos, también comencé a comprender que esto no era un rasgo peculiar solo de Josie; que las personas a menudo sentían la necesidad de preparar una parte de sí mismos para mostrar a los transeúntes, como lo harían en el escaparate de una tienda, y que tal exhibición no necesitaba tomarse tan en serio una vez que había pasado el momento.

I was happy then that nothing changed between us on account of the meeting. Entonces me alegré de que nada cambiara entre nosotros a causa del encuentro. However, not long afterwards, something else came along which did for a time make our friendship less warm. Sin embargo, no mucho después, sucedió algo más que hizo que nuestra amistad fuera menos cálida durante un tiempo. This was the trip to Morgan's Falls, and it came to trouble me because I couldn't for a long time see how it had created coldness between us, or how I might have avoided such a thing happening. Este fue el viaje a Morgan's Falls, y me preocupó porque durante mucho tiempo no pude ver cómo había creado frialdad entre nosotros, o cómo podría haber evitado que sucediera tal cosa.

Early one morning, three weeks after the interaction meeting, I looked over to Josie and could tell from her posture and her breathing that she wasn't sleeping in her usual way. Temprano una mañana, tres semanas después de la reunión de interacción, miré a Josie y me di cuenta por su postura y su respiración que no estaba durmiendo como de costumbre. I used the alarm button and the Mother came immediately. Usé el botón de alarma y la Madre vino de inmediato. She phoned for Dr Ryan, and then I heard Melania Housekeeper calling him again a little later to ask him to hurry. Llamó al Dr. Ryan, y luego escuché que Melania Housekeeper lo llamaba de nuevo un poco más tarde para pedirle que se diera prisa. When he did come, he checked Josie over carefully, then said there was nothing to worry about. Cuando llegó, revisó a Josie cuidadosamente y luego dijo que no había nada de qué preocuparse. The Mother was relieved, and once the doctor had left, her manner became brisk. La Madre se sintió aliviada y, una vez que el médico se hubo ido, su actitud se tornó enérgica. She sat on the edge of Josie's bed and said to her: ‘You have to quit that energy drink. Se sentó en el borde de la cama de Josie y le dijo: 'Tienes que dejar esa bebida energética. I always said it was bad for you.' Siempre dije que era malo para ti.

Josie said, not lifting her head from her pillow: ‘I knew there was nothing wrong with me. Josie dijo, sin levantar la cabeza de la almohada: 'Sabía que no me pasaba nada. I got really tired, is all. Me cansé mucho, eso es todo. You didn't have to worry about me. No tenías que preocuparte por mí. And now you're going to be late for work.' Y ahora vas a llegar tarde al trabajo.

‘Worrying about you, Josie, that's my work.' Then she added: ‘Klara's work too. Preocuparme por ti, Josie, ese es mi trabajo. Luego agregó: 'El trabajo de Klara también. She did well to raise the alarm.' Hizo bien en dar la alarma.

‘I just need to sleep a little more. 'Solo necesito dormir un poco más. Then I promise I'll be fine, Mom.' Entonces te prometo que estaré bien, mamá.

‘Listen, honey.' The Mother leaned right over till she was talking into Josie's ear. Escucha, cariño. La Madre se inclinó hasta que estuvo hablando al oído de Josie. ‘Listen. 'Escuchar. You need to get well for me. Tienes que mejorar para mí. Do you hear me?' ¿Me escuchas?'

‘Hear you, Mom.' 'Te escucho, mamá.'

‘Good. 'Bueno. I wasn't sure you were listening.' No estaba seguro de que estuvieras escuchando.

‘Listening, Mom. 'Escucha, mamá. I'm keeping my eyes shut, is all.' Mantengo los ojos cerrados, eso es todo.

‘Okay. 'De acuerdo. So here's the deal. Así que aquí está el trato. Get better by the weekend and we'll go to Morgan's Falls. Mejora el fin de semana e iremos a Morgan's Falls. You still love that place, right?' Todavía te encanta ese lugar, ¿verdad?

‘Yes, Mom. 'Si mamá. I still love it.' Todavía lo amo.'

‘Good. 'Bueno. Then that's the deal. Entonces ese es el trato. Sunday, Morgan's Falls. Domingo, Morgan's Falls. So long as you get well.' Mientras te recuperes.

There was a long silence, then I heard Josie say, as though into her pillow: Hubo un largo silencio, luego escuché a Josie decir, como si estuviera en su almohada:

‘Mom. 'Mamá. If I get well, can we take Klara with us? Si me mejoro, ¿podemos llevar a Klara con nosotros? Show her Morgan's Falls? ¿Mostrarle las cataratas de Morgan? She's only ever been outside once. Ella solo ha estado afuera una vez. And that was just around here.' Y eso fue por aquí.

‘Of course Klara can come. Por supuesto que Klara puede venir. But you'll have to get well or none of this works. Pero tendrás que recuperarte o nada de esto funcionará. You understand, Josie?' ¿Entiendes, Josie?

‘I understand, Mom. 'Entiendo, mamá. I have to sleep some more now.' Ahora tengo que dormir un poco más.

She woke up just before lunch, and I was going to tell Melania Housekeeper as I'd been instructed to do, but Josie said tiredly: Se despertó justo antes del almuerzo y yo iba a decirle a Melania Housekeeper como me habían indicado, pero Josie dijo con cansancio:

‘Klara? ¿Klara? Have you been here the whole time I've been sleeping?' ¿Has estado aquí todo el tiempo que he estado durmiendo?

‘Of course.' 'Por supuesto.'

‘Did you hear what Mom was saying about us going to Morgan's Falls?' '¿Escuchaste lo que mamá estaba diciendo acerca de que íbamos a Morgan's Falls?'

‘Yes. 'Sí. And I'm very much hoping we'll be able to go. Y tengo muchas esperanzas de que podamos ir. But your mother said we'd go only if you were well enough.' Pero tu madre dijo que solo iríamos si estabas lo suficientemente bien.

‘I'll be okay. 'Estaré bien. If I wanted, I could go this afternoon. Si quisiera, podría ir esta tarde. Just tired, that's all.' Sólo cansado, eso es todo.

‘What is this Morgan's Falls, Josie?' —¿Qué es esto de Morgan's Falls, Josie?

‘Beautiful is what it is. 'Hermoso es lo que es. You'll think it's amazing. Pensarás que es increíble. I'll show you pictures later.' Te mostraré fotos más tarde.

Josie remained tired for much of the day. Josie permaneció cansada durante gran parte del día. But in the late afternoon, once I raised the bedroom blinds to let the Sun's pattern fall over her, she became noticeably stronger. Pero al final de la tarde, una vez que subí las persianas de la habitación para dejar que el patrón del Sol cayera sobre ella, se volvió notablemente más fuerte. Melania Housekeeper came up to see her then, and said Josie could get dressed so long as she promised to spend the rest of the day quietly. Melania Housekeeper vino a verla entonces y dijo que Josie podía vestirse siempre y cuando prometiera pasar el resto del día tranquila. That was how we came to still be in the bedroom as the evening approached, when Josie produced a cardboard box from under her bed. Así fue como llegamos a estar todavía en el dormitorio cuando se acercaba la noche, cuando Josie sacó una caja de cartón de debajo de su cama.

‘I'll show you,' she said, and tipped the box out. —Te mostraré —dijo, y volcó la caja. Many print photos of varying dimensions tumbled out onto the rug, some face up, others down. Muchas fotos impresas de diferentes dimensiones cayeron sobre la alfombra, algunas boca arriba, otras boca abajo. I understood that these were favorite images from Josie's past, kept near her bed so she could cheer herself up viewing them whenever she wanted. Entendí que estas eran las imágenes favoritas del pasado de Josie, guardadas cerca de su cama para que pudiera animarse viéndolas cuando quisiera. Many of the images were now overlapping, but I could see they were mostly of Josie when younger. Muchas de las imágenes ahora se superponían, pero pude ver que en su mayoría eran de Josie cuando era más joven. Some photos showed her with the Mother, some with Melania Housekeeper, others with people I didn't know. Algunas fotos la mostraban con la Madre, algunas con Melania Housekeeper, otras con personas que no conocía. Josie continued spreading them across the rug, then picked one up and smiled. Josie continuó extendiéndolas sobre la alfombra, luego tomó una y sonrió.

‘Morgan's Falls,' she said. ‘This is where we're going on Sunday. 'Aquí es donde vamos el domingo. What do you think?' ¿Qué opinas?'

She gave me the photo – I was by now kneeling beside her – and I saw a younger Josie sitting outdoors at a table made from rough wooden planks. Me dio la foto, ya estaba arrodillado a su lado, y vi a una Josie más joven sentada al aire libre en una mesa hecha con tablones de madera en bruto. Even the seating was planks, and sitting beside her was the Mother, less thin and with her hair cut shorter than now. Hasta los asientos eran de tablones, y sentada a su lado estaba la Madre, menos delgada y con el pelo más corto que ahora. I was interested to see a third figure at the table, a girl who I estimated as eleven years old, wearing a short jacket made of light cotton. Me interesó ver una tercera figura en la mesa, una niña que calculé como de once años, vestida con una chaqueta corta de algodón ligero. Because the stranger girl was sitting with her back to the photographer, I couldn't see her face. Debido a que la chica extraña estaba sentada de espaldas al fotógrafo, no podía ver su rostro. The Sun's patterns were visible over them all, falling across the tabletop. Los patrones del Sol eran visibles sobre todos ellos, cayendo sobre la mesa. Behind Josie and the Mother was a blurred black-and-white pattern. Detrás de Josie y la Madre había un patrón borroso en blanco y negro. I inspected this carefully, then said: Inspeccioné esto cuidadosamente, luego dije:

‘This is a waterfall.' Esto es una cascada.

‘Yup. 'Sí. You ever seen a waterfall, Klara?' ¿Has visto alguna vez una cascada, Klara?

‘Yes. 'Sí. I saw one in a magazine at the store. Vi uno en una revista en la tienda. And look! ¡Y mira! You're eating, right in front of the waterfall.' Estás comiendo, justo en frente de la cascada.

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