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KLARA AND THE SUN - KAZUO ISHIGURO, Part Two - 02 (4)

Part Two - 02 (4)

‘You can do that at Morgan's Falls. Have lunch while the spray covers you. You're eating your food then you realize your shirt's soaked at the back.'

‘That can't be good for you, Josie.'

‘It's okay when it's warm. But you're right. On a chilly day, you have to sit further away. There's plenty of seating though because people don't know about Morgan's Falls so much.' She reached out a hand, and I returned the photo to her. She looked at it again and said, ‘Maybe it's only me and Mom think it's special. And that's why it's never crowded. But we always have a great day there.'

‘I do hope you'll be strong enough this weekend.'

‘Sunday's always the best day for Morgan's Falls. There's a good atmosphere on Sundays. It's like the waterfall knows about it being a Day of Rest.'

‘Josie. Who is your companion in this photograph? The girl here with you and your mother?'

‘Oh…' Her face became serious, then she said: ‘That's Sal. My sister.'

She let the photo fall on top of the others, then began to pass both hands over the images, moving them around the rug. I saw images of children – in fields, in playgrounds, outside buildings.

‘Yeah, my sister,' she said again after a long time.

‘And where is Sal now?'

‘Sal died.'

‘How very sad.'

Josie shrugged. ‘I don't remember her much. I was small when it happened. It's not like I miss her or anything.'

‘How sad. Do you know what happened?'

‘She got sick. Not the same sickness I have. Something much worse, and that's why she died.'

I thought Josie was searching for another photo with her sister's image, but she suddenly gathered the prints together and put them back into the cardboard box.

‘You're so going to love it up there, Klara. Here's you, only once been outside, then suddenly you're up there!'

Josie became stronger each day, so that as the weekend approached there seemed no reason to suppose we wouldn't be able to go to the waterfall. On the Friday evening, the Mother came home late – long after Josie had finished her supper – and called me into the kitchen. Josie had by then gone up to her room, and the kitchen was in near-darkness, with only the light from the hall to illuminate it. But the Mother seemed happy to stand there before the large windows, staring out into the night as she drank her wine. I stood near the refrigerator where I could hear its hum.

‘Klara,' she said after a while. ‘Josie says you wish to come with us on Sunday. To Morgan's Falls.'

‘If I wouldn't be in the way, I'd very much like to come. I believe Josie also wishes me to come.'

‘She certainly does. Josie's become very fond of you. And if I may say so, so have I.'

‘Thank you.'

‘To tell you the truth, I wasn't sure at first what I'd feel. Having you around, moving through the house all day. But Josie's so much more calm, so much more cheerful since you got here.'

‘I'm so glad.'

‘You're doing very well, Klara. I want you to know that.'

‘Thank you so much.'

‘You'll be fine up at Morgan's Falls. Plenty of kids take their AFs up there. Even so, it goes without saying. You'll need to look out, both for yourself and for Josie. The terrain can be unpredictable. And Josie sometimes gets overexcited in places like that.'

‘I understand. I'll be cautious.'

‘Klara, are you happy here?'

‘Yes, of course.'

‘Curious thing to ask an AF. In fact, I don't even know if that question makes sense. Do you miss that store?'

She drank more wine and stepped towards me so I could see one side of her face in the light from the hall, though the other side, including most of her nose, stayed in shadow. The one eye I could see looked tired.

‘I sometimes think about the store,' I said. ‘The view from the window. The other AFs. But not often. I'm very pleased to be here.'

The Mother looked at me for a moment. Then she said: ‘It must be great. Not to miss things. Not to long to get back to something. Not to be looking back all the time. Everything must be so much more…' She paused, then said: ‘Okay, Klara. So you're with us Sunday. But remember what I said. We don't want accidents up there.'

There must have been signals all along, because although what happened that Sunday morning made me feel sadness later, and reminded me again how much I had still to learn, it didn't come as a true surprise.

By the Friday, Josie was confident she'd be well enough for the expedition and spent many moments trying on different outfits, and studying herself in the long mirror inside the wardrobe. Occasionally she'd ask me what I thought, and I'd smile and be as encouraging as I could. But I must even then have been aware of the signals because when I praised her appearance, I was always careful to hold something back.

I knew already that Sunday breakfasts could become tense. On other mornings, even when the Mother stayed beyond her quick coffee, there was still the feeling that every exchange could be the last till the evening, and while this sometimes made both Josie and the Mother speak sharply to each other, the breakfast couldn't become loaded with signals. But on a Sunday, when the Mother wasn't about to go anywhere, there was the feeling that each question she asked could lead to an uncomfortable conversation. When I was still new in the house, I believed there were particular danger topics for Josie, and that if only the Mother could be prevented from finding routes to these topics, the Sunday breakfasts would remain comfortable. But on further observation, I saw that even if the danger topics were avoided – topics like Josie's education assignments, or her social interaction scores – the uncomfortable feeling could still be there because it really had to do with something beneath these topics; that the danger topics were themselves ways the Mother had devised to make certain emotions appear inside Josie's mind.

So I became concerned when, on that Sunday morning of the trip to Morgan's Falls, the Mother asked Josie why she liked to play a particular oblong game in which the characters continually died in car accidents. Josie had at first replied cheerfully: ‘It's just the way the game's set up, Mom. You get more and more of your people in the superbus, but if you haven't figured out the routes, you can lose all your best people in a crash.'

‘Why would you play a game like that, Josie? A game in which something awful like that happens?'

Josie continued for a while to answer the Mother patiently, but before long the smile left her voice. In the end she was repeating that it was just a game she enjoyed, while the Mother asked more and more questions about it and seemed to become angry.

Then the Mother's anger seemed all at once to vanish. She still didn't become cheerful, but she looked at Josie in a gentle way, and her kind smile transformed her entire face.

‘I'm sorry, honey. I shouldn't be bringing this up today. I'm being so unfair.'

And she stepped off her highstool, went to the one Josie was on and held Josie in an embrace that seemed to go on and on, until the Mother was obliged to introduce a rocking motion to disguise how long it was lasting. Josie, I could see, didn't mind at all how long the hug lasted, and when they separated – I didn't turn from the refrigerator until I was sure they had – the rift between them had been mended.

So the breakfast I'd feared might pose a last obstacle to our going to Morgan's Falls ended in harmony, and my mind became filled with excitement. Only in the final moments, after the Mother and Melania Housekeeper had already gone out to the car, did I see Josie, as she placed her arms through the sleeves of her padded jacket, pause and allow weariness to pass through her. She finished putting on the jacket, and noticing me across the hall, smiled brightly. Then we heard the car outside and the wheels moving over the loose stones. Melania Housekeeper came back into the house holding her keys and gestured for us to go out. But now that I was aware, I was able to see another tiny signal, something in Josie's hurried step as she walked ahead of me out onto the loose stones.

The Mother was behind the wheel, watching us through the windshield, and a fear came into my mind. But Josie betrayed no more signs – she even managed a skip of happiness as she crossed the loose stones – and opened the front passenger door by herself.

I'd never been inside a car before, but Rosa and I had watched so many people get in and out of vehicles, their postures and maneuvers, how they sat once the vehicles began to move, that there was nothing that came as a surprise to me as I navigated into my rear seat.


Part Two - 02 (4) segunda parte - 02 (4)

‘You can do that at Morgan's Falls. Puedes hacer eso en Morgan's Falls. Have lunch while the spray covers you. Almuerza mientras te cubre el rocío. You're eating your food then you realize your shirt's soaked at the back.' Estás comiendo tu comida y te das cuenta de que tu camisa está empapada en la parte de atrás.

‘That can't be good for you, Josie.' —Eso no puede ser bueno para ti, Josie.

‘It's okay when it's warm. Está bien cuando hace calor. But you're right. Pero usted está en lo correcto. On a chilly day, you have to sit further away. En un día frío, tienes que sentarte más lejos. There's plenty of seating though because people don't know about Morgan's Falls so much.' She reached out a hand, and I returned the photo to her. Sin embargo, hay muchos asientos porque la gente no sabe mucho sobre Morgan's Falls. Extendió una mano y le devolví la foto. She looked at it again and said, ‘Maybe it's only me and Mom think it's special. And that's why it's never crowded. Y es por eso que nunca está lleno. But we always have a great day there.' Pero siempre tenemos un gran día allí.

‘I do hope you'll be strong enough this weekend.' Espero que estés lo suficientemente fuerte este fin de semana.

‘Sunday's always the best day for Morgan's Falls. El domingo siempre es el mejor día para Morgan's Falls. There's a good atmosphere on Sundays. Hay buen ambiente los domingos. It's like the waterfall knows about it being a Day of Rest.' Es como si la cascada supiera que es un Día de Descanso.

‘Josie. 'Josefina. Who is your companion in this photograph? ¿Quién es tu acompañante en esta fotografía? The girl here with you and your mother?' ¿La chica que está contigo y tu madre?

‘Oh…' Her face became serious, then she said: ‘That's Sal. 'Oh...' Su rostro se puso serio, luego dijo: 'Ese es Sal. My sister.' Mi hermana.'

She let the photo fall on top of the others, then began to pass both hands over the images, moving them around the rug. Dejó que la foto cayera encima de las demás, luego comenzó a pasar ambas manos sobre las imágenes, moviéndolas alrededor de la alfombra. I saw images of children – in fields, in playgrounds, outside buildings. Vi imágenes de niños: en los campos, en los parques infantiles, fuera de los edificios.

‘Yeah, my sister,' she said again after a long time. 'Sí, mi hermana', dijo de nuevo después de mucho tiempo.

‘And where is Sal now?' '¿Y dónde está Sal ahora?'

‘Sal died.' Sal murió.

‘How very sad.' 'Qué triste.'

Josie shrugged. Josie se encogió de hombros. ‘I don't remember her much. No la recuerdo mucho. I was small when it happened. Yo era pequeño cuando sucedió. It's not like I miss her or anything.' No es que la extrañe ni nada.

‘How sad. 'Qué triste. Do you know what happened?' ¿Sabes lo que pasó?'

‘She got sick. 'Ella se enfermó. Not the same sickness I have. No es la misma enfermedad que tengo. Something much worse, and that's why she died.' Algo mucho peor, y por eso murió.

I thought Josie was searching for another photo with her sister's image, but she suddenly gathered the prints together and put them back into the cardboard box. Pensé que Josie estaba buscando otra foto con la imagen de su hermana, pero de repente reunió las copias y las volvió a poner en la caja de cartón.

‘You're so going to love it up there, Klara. Te va a encantar estar ahí arriba, Klara. Here's you, only once been outside, then suddenly you're up there!' ¡Aquí estás tú, solo una vez que estuviste afuera, y de repente estás ahí arriba!

Josie became stronger each day, so that as the weekend approached there seemed no reason to suppose we wouldn't be able to go to the waterfall. Josie se hizo más fuerte cada día, de modo que a medida que se acercaba el fin de semana no parecía haber ninguna razón para suponer que no podríamos ir a la cascada. On the Friday evening, the Mother came home late – long after Josie had finished her supper – and called me into the kitchen. El viernes por la noche, la Madre llegó tarde a casa, mucho después de que Josie hubiera terminado de cenar, y me llamó a la cocina. Josie had by then gone up to her room, and the kitchen was in near-darkness, with only the light from the hall to illuminate it. Para entonces, Josie había subido a su habitación, y la cocina estaba casi a oscuras, con solo la luz del pasillo para iluminarla. But the Mother seemed happy to stand there before the large windows, staring out into the night as she drank her wine. Pero la Madre parecía feliz de estar allí de pie ante los grandes ventanales, contemplando la noche mientras bebía su vino. I stood near the refrigerator where I could hear its hum. Me paré cerca del refrigerador donde podía escuchar su zumbido.

‘Klara,' she said after a while. —Klara —dijo después de un rato—. ‘Josie says you wish to come with us on Sunday. Josie dice que deseas venir con nosotros el domingo. To Morgan's Falls.' A las cataratas de Morgan.

‘If I wouldn't be in the way, I'd very much like to come. 'Si no estuviera en el camino, me gustaría mucho ir. I believe Josie also wishes me to come.' Creo que Josie también desea que vaya.

‘She certainly does. 'Ella ciertamente lo hace. Josie's become very fond of you. Josie se ha encariñado mucho contigo. And if I may say so, so have I.' Y si puedo decirlo, yo también.

‘Thank you.' 'Gracias.'

‘To tell you the truth, I wasn't sure at first what I'd feel. 'Para decirte la verdad, no estaba seguro al principio de lo que sentiría. Having you around, moving through the house all day. Tenerte cerca, moviéndose por la casa todo el día. But Josie's so much more calm, so much more cheerful since you got here.' Pero Josie está mucho más tranquila, mucho más animada desde que llegaste aquí.

‘I'm so glad.' 'Estoy tan feliz.'

‘You're doing very well, Klara. Lo estás haciendo muy bien, Klara. I want you to know that.' Quiero que sepas que.'

‘Thank you so much.' 'Muchas gracias.'

‘You'll be fine up at Morgan's Falls. Estarás bien en Morgan's Falls. Plenty of kids take their AFs up there. Muchos niños llevan sus AF allí. Even so, it goes without saying. Aun así, no hace falta decirlo. You'll need to look out, both for yourself and for Josie. Tendrás que tener cuidado, tanto por ti como por Josie. The terrain can be unpredictable. El terreno puede ser impredecible. And Josie sometimes gets overexcited in places like that.' Y Josie a veces se emociona demasiado en lugares como ese.

‘I understand. 'Entiendo. I'll be cautious.' Seré cauteloso.

‘Klara, are you happy here?' 'Klara, ¿eres feliz aquí?'

‘Yes, of course.' 'Sí, por supuesto.'

‘Curious thing to ask an AF. 'Cosa curiosa de preguntarle a un AF. In fact, I don't even know if that question makes sense. De hecho, ni siquiera sé si esa pregunta tiene sentido. Do you miss that store?' ¿Echas de menos esa tienda?

She drank more wine and stepped towards me so I could see one side of her face in the light from the hall, though the other side, including most of her nose, stayed in shadow. Bebió más vino y dio un paso hacia mí para que pudiera ver un lado de su rostro a la luz del pasillo, aunque el otro lado, incluida la mayor parte de su nariz, permanecía en la sombra. The one eye I could see looked tired. El único ojo que podía ver parecía cansado.

‘I sometimes think about the store,' I said. —A veces pienso en la tienda —dije—. ‘The view from the window. 'La vista desde la ventana. The other AFs. Los otros AF. But not often. Pero no a menudo. I'm very pleased to be here.' Estoy muy contento de estar aquí.

The Mother looked at me for a moment. La Madre me miró por un momento. Then she said: ‘It must be great. Luego dijo: 'Debe ser genial. Not to miss things. Para no perderse cosas. Not to long to get back to something. No mucho tiempo para volver a algo. Not to be looking back all the time. No estar mirando hacia atrás todo el tiempo. Everything must be so much more…' She paused, then said: ‘Okay, Klara. Todo debe ser mucho más...' Hizo una pausa y luego dijo: 'Está bien, Klara. So you're with us Sunday. Así que estás con nosotros el domingo. But remember what I said. Pero recuerda lo que dije. We don't want accidents up there.' No queremos accidentes allá arriba.

There must have been signals all along, because although what happened that Sunday morning made me feel sadness later, and reminded me again how much I had still to learn, it didn't come as a true surprise. Debió haber señales todo el tiempo, porque aunque lo que sucedió ese domingo por la mañana me hizo sentir tristeza más tarde y me recordó nuevamente cuánto me quedaba por aprender, no fue una verdadera sorpresa.

By the Friday, Josie was confident she'd be well enough for the expedition and spent many moments trying on different outfits, and studying herself in the long mirror inside the wardrobe. Para el viernes, Josie estaba segura de que estaría lo suficientemente bien para la expedición y pasó muchos momentos probándose diferentes conjuntos y estudiándose en el espejo largo dentro del armario. Occasionally she'd ask me what I thought, and I'd smile and be as encouraging as I could. De vez en cuando me preguntaba qué pensaba, y yo sonreía y la animaba tanto como podía. But I must even then have been aware of the signals because when I praised her appearance, I was always careful to hold something back. Pero incluso entonces debo haber sido consciente de las señales porque cuando elogiaba su apariencia, siempre tenía cuidado de ocultar algo.

I knew already that Sunday breakfasts could become tense. Ya sabía que los desayunos de los domingos podían volverse tensos. On other mornings, even when the Mother stayed beyond her quick coffee, there was still the feeling that every exchange could be the last till the evening, and while this sometimes made both Josie and the Mother speak sharply to each other, the breakfast couldn't become loaded with signals. Otras mañanas, incluso cuando la Madre se quedaba más allá de su café rápido, todavía existía la sensación de que cada intercambio podría ser el último hasta la noche, y aunque esto a veces hacía que tanto Josie como la Madre hablaran bruscamente, el desayuno no podía. No se cargue de señales. But on a Sunday, when the Mother wasn't about to go anywhere, there was the feeling that each question she asked could lead to an uncomfortable conversation. Pero un domingo, cuando la Madre no iba a ir a ningún lado, se tenía la sensación de que cada pregunta que hacía podía dar lugar a una conversación incómoda. When I was still new in the house, I believed there were particular danger topics for Josie, and that if only the Mother could be prevented from finding routes to these topics, the Sunday breakfasts would remain comfortable. Cuando todavía era nuevo en la casa, creía que había temas de peligro particulares para Josie, y que si tan solo se pudiera evitar que la Madre encontrara caminos hacia estos temas, los desayunos de los domingos seguirían siendo cómodos. But on further observation, I saw that even if the danger topics were avoided – topics like Josie's education assignments, or her social interaction scores – the uncomfortable feeling could still be there because it really had to do with something beneath these topics; that the danger topics were themselves ways the Mother had devised to make certain emotions appear inside Josie's mind. Pero en una observación más profunda, vi que incluso si se evitaban los temas de peligro, temas como las tareas de educación de Josie o sus puntajes de interacción social, la sensación incómoda aún podría estar allí porque realmente tenía que ver con algo debajo de estos temas; que los temas de peligro eran en sí mismos formas que la Madre había ideado para hacer que ciertas emociones aparecieran en la mente de Josie.

So I became concerned when, on that Sunday morning of the trip to Morgan's Falls, the Mother asked Josie why she liked to play a particular oblong game in which the characters continually died in car accidents. Así que me preocupé cuando, ese domingo por la mañana del viaje a Morgan's Falls, la Madre le preguntó a Josie por qué le gustaba jugar un juego oblongo en particular en el que los personajes morían continuamente en accidentes automovilísticos. Josie had at first replied cheerfully: ‘It's just the way the game's set up, Mom. Al principio, Josie había respondido alegremente: 'Es solo la forma en que se organiza el juego, mamá. You get more and more of your people in the superbus, but if you haven't figured out the routes, you can lose all your best people in a crash.' Cada vez hay más gente en el superbús, pero si no has averiguado las rutas, puedes perder a toda tu gente en un accidente.

‘Why would you play a game like that, Josie? '¿Por qué jugarías un juego como ese, Josie? A game in which something awful like that happens?' ¿Un juego en el que sucede algo horrible como eso?

Josie continued for a while to answer the Mother patiently, but before long the smile left her voice. Josie continuó durante un rato respondiendo a la Madre con paciencia, pero al poco tiempo la sonrisa abandonó su voz. In the end she was repeating that it was just a game she enjoyed, while the Mother asked more and more questions about it and seemed to become angry. Al final repetía que era sólo un juego que disfrutaba, mientras la Madre hacía más y más preguntas al respecto y parecía enfadarse.

Then the Mother's anger seemed all at once to vanish. Entonces la ira de la Madre pareció desvanecerse de golpe. She still didn't become cheerful, but she looked at Josie in a gentle way, and her kind smile transformed her entire face. Todavía no se puso alegre, pero miró a Josie con delicadeza y su amable sonrisa transformó todo su rostro.

‘I'm sorry, honey. 'Lo siento, cariño. I shouldn't be bringing this up today. No debería traer esto a colación hoy. I'm being so unfair.' Estoy siendo tan injusto.

And she stepped off her highstool, went to the one Josie was on and held Josie in an embrace that seemed to go on and on, until the Mother was obliged to introduce a rocking motion to disguise how long it was lasting. Y se bajó de su taburete alto, se acercó al que estaba Josie y la abrazó en un abrazo que pareció seguir y seguir, hasta que la Madre se vio obligada a introducir un movimiento de balanceo para disimular la duración. Josie, I could see, didn't mind at all how long the hug lasted, and when they separated – I didn't turn from the refrigerator until I was sure they had – the rift between them had been mended. A Josie, pude ver, no le importó en absoluto cuánto duró el abrazo, y cuando se separaron, no me aparté de la nevera hasta que estuve seguro de que lo habían hecho, la brecha entre ellos se había reparado.

So the breakfast I'd feared might pose a last obstacle to our going to Morgan's Falls ended in harmony, and my mind became filled with excitement. Así que el desayuno que temía pudiera representar un último obstáculo para ir a Morgan's Falls terminó en armonía, y mi mente se llenó de emoción. Only in the final moments, after the Mother and Melania Housekeeper had already gone out to the car, did I see Josie, as she placed her arms through the sleeves of her padded jacket, pause and allow weariness to pass through her. Solo en los momentos finales, después de que la Madre y Melania Ama de llaves ya se habían ido al auto, vi a Josie, mientras pasaba los brazos por las mangas de su chaqueta acolchada, se detenía y permitía que el cansancio la atravesara. She finished putting on the jacket, and noticing me across the hall, smiled brightly. Terminó de ponerse la chaqueta y, al verme al otro lado del pasillo, sonrió brillantemente. Then we heard the car outside and the wheels moving over the loose stones. Luego escuchamos el auto afuera y las ruedas moviéndose sobre las piedras sueltas. Melania Housekeeper came back into the house holding her keys and gestured for us to go out. Melania Housekeeper volvió a la casa con las llaves en la mano y nos hizo un gesto para que saliéramos. But now that I was aware, I was able to see another tiny signal, something in Josie's hurried step as she walked ahead of me out onto the loose stones. Pero ahora que estaba consciente, pude ver otra pequeña señal, algo en el paso apresurado de Josie mientras caminaba delante de mí hacia las piedras sueltas.

The Mother was behind the wheel, watching us through the windshield, and a fear came into my mind. La Madre estaba detrás del volante, mirándonos a través del parabrisas, y un miedo vino a mi mente. But Josie betrayed no more signs – she even managed a skip of happiness as she crossed the loose stones – and opened the front passenger door by herself. Pero Josie no traicionó más señales, incluso logró un salto de felicidad mientras cruzaba las piedras sueltas, y abrió la puerta del pasajero delantero por sí misma.

I'd never been inside a car before, but Rosa and I had watched so many people get in and out of vehicles, their postures and maneuvers, how they sat once the vehicles began to move, that there was nothing that came as a surprise to me as I navigated into my rear seat. Nunca antes había estado dentro de un automóvil, pero Rosa y yo habíamos visto a tanta gente entrar y salir de los vehículos, sus posturas y maniobras, cómo se sentaban una vez que los vehículos comenzaban a moverse, que no había nada que me sorprendiera. a mí mientras navegaba en mi asiento trasero.