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KLARA AND THE SUN - KAZUO ISHIGURO, Part Two - 03 (2)

Part Two - 03 (2)

‘This is it, Klara. From here we're on foot. Can you manage it?'

When we got out, I felt the chilly wind and heard the birds' noises. There were more wild trees around us as we climbed a path with rocks and clusters of mud. I had to take precautions, but I kept up behind the Mother, and after a time we went through a gap between two wooden posts onto another path. This one kept rising, and the Mother had frequently to stop to allow me to catch up. It occurred to me then she might have been correct after all in believing this trip too difficult for Josie.

Just at this point, I happened to look to my left, over the fence running beside us, and saw the bull in the field, watching us carefully. I had seen photos of bulls in magazines, but of course never in reality, and even though this one was standing quite far from us, and I knew it couldn't cross the fence, I was so alarmed by its appearance I gave an exclamation and came to a halt. I'd never before seen anything that gave, all at once, so many signals of anger and the wish to destroy. Its face, its horns, its cold eyes watching me all brought fear into my mind, but I felt something more, something stranger and deeper. At that moment it felt to me some great error had been made that the creature should be allowed to stand in the Sun's pattern at all, that this bull belonged somewhere deep in the ground far within the mud and darkness, and its presence on the grass could only have awful consequences.

‘It's okay,' the Mother said. ‘He can't touch us. Now come on. I need a coffee.'

I made myself look away from the bull and followed the Mother. Then quite soon we were no longer climbing and around us appeared the rough wooden tables I'd seen in Josie's photograph. I counted fourteen of them placed around the field, each one with benches attached on either side made from wooden planks. There were adults, children, AFs, dogs sitting at the tables, or running, walking and standing around them. Just beyond the tables was the waterfall. It was larger and fiercer than the one I'd seen in the magazine, filling eight boxes just by itself. I looked for the Sun, but couldn't see him in the gray sky.

‘We'll sit here,' the Mother said. ‘Go on, sit down. Wait for me. I need coffee.'

I watched her walk to a hut made of the same rough wood some twenty paces away. It had an open counter at the front so that it could function as a store, and passers-by were now standing in line there.

I was glad of the chance to sit down and orient myself, and as I waited at the rough table for the Mother to return, I found the surroundings settling into order. The waterfall no longer took up so many boxes, and I watched children and their AFs passing easily from one box to another with barely any interruption.

Although none of them looked my way with any interest, and each seemed very focused on their child, I felt pleased to be in the presence once more of other AFs, and for a moment watched them with happiness, following one then another with my gaze. Then the Mother returned and sat down in front of me, and I turned to face her fully, the waterfall moving fiercely behind her. Her coffee was in a paper cup and she raised it to her mouth. I remembered what Josie had said about sitting close to the waterfall, how your back could get wet without your noticing, and I wondered about mentioning this to the Mother. But something in her manner told me she didn't wish me to speak just yet.

She was gazing straight at my face, the way she'd done from the sidewalk when Rosa and I had been in the window. She drank coffee, all the time looking at me, till I found the Mother's face filled six boxes by itself, her narrowed eyes recurring in three of them, each time at a different angle. She said finally:

‘So how do you like it here?'

‘It's wonderful.'

‘So now you've seen a real waterfall.'

‘I'm grateful you brought me here.'

‘That's odd. I was just thinking you didn't look so happy. I don't see your usual smile.'

‘I apologize. I didn't mean to seem ungrateful. I'm very pleased to see the waterfall. But perhaps also regretful Josie couldn't be with us.'

‘I am too. I feel bad about it.' Then she said: ‘But I don't feel quite so bad because you're here.'

‘Thank you.'

‘Maybe Melania was right. Maybe Josie would have been fine.'

I said nothing. The Mother sipped her coffee and continued to look at me.

‘What did Josie tell you about this place?'

‘She said it was beautiful and she'd always enjoyed very much her trips here with you.'

‘That's what she said? And did she tell you how we always came here with Sal? How much Sal loved it here?'

‘Josie did mention her sister.' Then I added: ‘I saw Josie's sister in the photograph.'

The Mother stared so intensely at me that I thought I'd made an error. But then she said: ‘I think I know the one you mean. The one with the three of us sitting over there. I remember Melania taking it. We were over at that bench right there. Me, Sal, Josie. Something wrong, Klara?'

‘I was very sad to hear Sal passed away.'

‘Sad puts it pretty well.'

‘I'm sorry. Perhaps I shouldn't have…'

‘It's okay. It's a while now since she left us. Shame you didn't meet Sal. Different from Josie. Josie just says what she thinks. Doesn't care if she says the wrong thing. That gets irritating sometimes but I love her for it. Sal wasn't like that. Sal would have to think everything through before she came out with something, you know? She was more sensitive. Maybe didn't handle being sick so well as Josie's doing.'

‘I wonder…why Sal passed away?'

The Mother's eyes changed and something cruel appeared around her mouth.

‘What kind of a question is that?'

‘I'm sorry. I was merely curious to know…'

‘It's not your business to be curious.'

‘I'm very sorry.'

‘What's it to you? It happened, that's all.'

Then after a long moment, the Mother's face softened.

‘I think it was right we didn't bring Josie today,' she said. ‘She wasn't well. But now we're sitting here like this, I do miss her.' She looked around, turning to look at the waterfall. Then she turned back and her gaze went past me, to the passers-by, the dogs and AFs. ‘Okay, Klara. Since Josie isn't here, I want you to be Josie. Just for a little while. Since we're up here.'

‘I'm sorry. I don't understand.'

‘You did it for me once before. The day we got you from the store. You haven't forgotten, have you?'

‘I remember, of course.'

‘I mean, you haven't forgotten how to do it. Walk like Josie.'

‘I will be able to walk in her manner. In fact now I know her better, and have seen her in more situations, I'll be able to give a more sophisticated imitation. However…'

‘However what?'

‘I'm sorry. I didn't mean however.'

The Mother looked at me, then said: ‘Good. But I wasn't going to ask you to do that walk anyway. We're sitting here, the two of us. A nice spot, a nice day. And I'd been looking forward to having Josie here. So I'm asking you, Klara. You're smart. If she were sitting here instead of you right now, how would she sit? I don't think she'd sit the way you're sitting.'

‘No. Josie would be more…like this.'

The Mother leaned closer over the tabletop and her eyes narrowed till her face filled eight boxes, leaving only the peripheral boxes for the waterfall, and for a moment it felt to me her expression varied between one box and the next. In one, for instance, her eyes were laughing cruelly, but in the next they were filled with sadness. The sounds of the waterfall, the children and the dogs all faded to a hush to make way for whatever the Mother was about to say.

‘That's good. That's very good. But now I want you to move. Do something. Don't stop being Josie. Let me see you move a little.'

I smiled in the way Josie would, settling into a slouching, informal posture.

‘That's good. Now say something. Let me hear you speak.'

‘I'm sorry. I'm not sure…'

‘No. That's Klara. I want Josie.'

‘Hi, Mom. Josie here.'

‘Good. More. Come on.'

‘Hi, Mom. Nothing to worry about, right? I got here and I'm fine.'

The Mother leaned even further across the table, and I could see joy, fear, sadness, laughter in the boxes. Because everything else had gone silent, I could hear her repeating under her breath: ‘That's good, that's good, that's good.'

‘I told you I'd be fine,' I said. ‘Melania was right. Nothing wrong with me. A little tired, that's all.'

‘I'm sorry, Josie,' the Mother said. ‘I'm sorry I didn't bring you here today.'

‘That's okay. I know you were worried for me. I'm okay.'

‘I wish you were here. But you're not. I wish I could stop you getting sick.'

‘Don't worry, Mom. I'm going to be fine.'

‘How can you say that? What do you know about it? You're just a kid. A kid who loves life and believes everything can be fixed. What do you know about it?'

‘It's okay, Mom, don't worry. I'll get well soon. I know how it'll happen too.'

‘What? What are you saying? You think you know more than the doctors? More than I do? Your sister made promises too. But she couldn't keep them. Don't you do the same.'

‘But Mom. Sal was sick with something different. I'm going to get well.'

‘Okay, Josie. So tell me how you'll get well.'

‘There's special help coming. Something no one's thought of yet. Then I'll be well again.'

‘What is this? Who's this talking?'

Now, in box after box, I could see the cheekbones of the Mother's face very pronounced beneath her skin.

‘Really, Mom. I'm going to be fine.'

‘That's enough. Enough!'

The Mother stood up and walked away. I could then see the waterfall again, and its noise – as well as that of the people behind me – returned louder than ever.

The Mother stopped near the wooden rail marking where the ground finished and the waterfall began. I could see the mist hanging before her and I thought she would become wet in moments, but she continued standing with her back to me. Then at last she turned and waved.

‘Klara. Come on over here. Come and take a look.'

I got up from the bench and went to her. She'd called me ‘Klara' so I knew I shouldn't attempt any more to imitate Josie. She gestured for me to come closer still.

‘See, take a look. You've never seen a waterfall before. So take a look. What do you think?'

‘It's wonderful. Much more impressive than in the magazine.'

‘Something special, right? I'm glad you're seeing it. Now let's get back. I'm concerned about Josie.'

The Mother didn't speak for the entire way back down to the car. She walked quickly, always at least four paces ahead, and I had to take care not to make errors on the steep downhill path. As we passed the spot where we'd seen the bull, I looked over the field right into the distance, but the terrible creature was now nowhere to be seen, and I wondered if it had been taken back down into the ground.

When we reached the car, I began to get into my usual seat, but the Mother said:


Part Two - 03 (2)

‘This is it, Klara. Esto es todo, Klara. From here we're on foot. A partir de aquí vamos a pie. Can you manage it?' ¿Puedes manejarlo?

When we got out, I felt the chilly wind and heard the birds' noises. Cuando salimos, sentí el viento frío y escuché los ruidos de los pájaros. There were more wild trees around us as we climbed a path with rocks and clusters of mud. Había más árboles silvestres a nuestro alrededor mientras subíamos por un sendero con rocas y montones de lodo. I had to take precautions, but I kept up behind the Mother, and after a time we went through a gap between two wooden posts onto another path. Tuve que tomar precauciones, pero me mantuve detrás de la Madre, y después de un tiempo pasamos por un espacio entre dos postes de madera hacia otro camino. This one kept rising, and the Mother had frequently to stop to allow me to catch up. Este seguía subiendo, y la Madre tenía que detenerse con frecuencia para permitirme alcanzarlo. It occurred to me then she might have been correct after all in believing this trip too difficult for Josie. Entonces se me ocurrió que, después de todo, podría haber estado en lo correcto al creer que este viaje era demasiado difícil para Josie.

Just at this point, I happened to look to my left, over the fence running beside us, and saw the bull in the field, watching us carefully. Justo en este punto, miré a mi izquierda, por encima de la cerca que corría a nuestro lado, y vi al toro en el campo, observándonos con atención. I had seen photos of bulls in magazines, but of course never in reality, and even though this one was standing quite far from us, and I knew it couldn't cross the fence, I was so alarmed by its appearance I gave an exclamation and came to a halt. Había visto fotos de toros en revistas, pero por supuesto nunca en la realidad, y aunque este estaba parado bastante lejos de nosotros y sabía que no podría cruzar la cerca, estaba tan alarmado por su apariencia que lancé una exclamación. y se detuvo. I'd never before seen anything that gave, all at once, so many signals of anger and the wish to destroy. Nunca antes había visto nada que diera, a la vez, tantas señales de ira y deseo de destruir. Its face, its horns, its cold eyes watching me all brought fear into my mind, but I felt something more, something stranger and deeper. Su cara, sus cuernos, sus fríos ojos mirándome, todo me trajo miedo, pero sentí algo más, algo más extraño y más profundo. At that moment it felt to me some great error had been made that the creature should be allowed to stand in the Sun's pattern at all, that this bull belonged somewhere deep in the ground far within the mud and darkness, and its presence on the grass could only have awful consequences. En ese momento sentí que se había cometido un gran error al permitir que la criatura se mantuviera en el patrón del Sol, que este toro pertenecía a algún lugar profundo en el suelo lejos del barro y la oscuridad, y su presencia en la hierba sólo podría tener terribles consecuencias.

‘It's okay,' the Mother said. 'Está bien,' dijo la Madre. ‘He can't touch us. No puede tocarnos. Now come on. Ahora ven. I need a coffee.' Necesito un café.'

I made myself look away from the bull and followed the Mother. Me obligué a apartar la mirada del toro y seguí a la Madre. Then quite soon we were no longer climbing and around us appeared the rough wooden tables I'd seen in Josie's photograph. Luego, muy pronto ya no estábamos escalando y a nuestro alrededor aparecieron las toscas mesas de madera que había visto en la fotografía de Josie. I counted fourteen of them placed around the field, each one with benches attached on either side made from wooden planks. Conté catorce de ellos colocados alrededor del campo, cada uno con bancos adosados a cada lado hechos de tablones de madera. There were adults, children, AFs, dogs sitting at the tables, or running, walking and standing around them. Había adultos, niños, AFs, perros sentados en las mesas, o corriendo, caminando y de pie alrededor de ellos. Just beyond the tables was the waterfall. Más allá de las mesas estaba la cascada. It was larger and fiercer than the one I'd seen in the magazine, filling eight boxes just by itself. Era más grande y más feroz que el que había visto en la revista, llenando ocho cajas solo. I looked for the Sun, but couldn't see him in the gray sky. Busqué el Sol, pero no pude verlo en el cielo gris.

‘We'll sit here,' the Mother said. —Nos sentaremos aquí —dijo la Madre—. ‘Go on, sit down. Anda, siéntate. Wait for me. Espérame. I need coffee.' Necesito café.'

I watched her walk to a hut made of the same rough wood some twenty paces away. La observé caminar hacia una choza hecha de la misma madera tosca a unos veinte pasos de distancia. It had an open counter at the front so that it could function as a store, and passers-by were now standing in line there. Tenía un mostrador abierto en la parte delantera para que pudiera funcionar como una tienda, y los transeúntes ahora estaban haciendo fila allí.

I was glad of the chance to sit down and orient myself, and as I waited at the rough table for the Mother to return, I found the surroundings settling into order. Me alegré de tener la oportunidad de sentarme y orientarme, y mientras esperaba en la tosca mesa a que regresara la Madre, descubrí que el entorno se estaba poniendo en orden. The waterfall no longer took up so many boxes, and I watched children and their AFs passing easily from one box to another with barely any interruption. La cascada ya no ocupaba tantas cajas, y veía a los niños y sus AF pasar fácilmente de una caja a otra sin apenas interrupción.

Although none of them looked my way with any interest, and each seemed very focused on their child, I felt pleased to be in the presence once more of other AFs, and for a moment watched them with happiness, following one then another with my gaze. Aunque ninguno de ellos miraba en mi dirección con interés, y cada uno parecía muy concentrado en su hijo, me sentí complacido de estar en presencia una vez más de otros AF, y por un momento los observé con felicidad, siguiendo uno y otro con mi mirada. . Then the Mother returned and sat down in front of me, and I turned to face her fully, the waterfall moving fiercely behind her. Entonces la Madre regresó y se sentó frente a mí, y me giré para mirarla de frente, la cascada se movía ferozmente detrás de ella. Her coffee was in a paper cup and she raised it to her mouth. Su café estaba en un vaso de papel y se lo llevó a la boca. I remembered what Josie had said about sitting close to the waterfall, how your back could get wet without your noticing, and I wondered about mentioning this to the Mother. Recordé lo que Josie había dicho acerca de sentarse cerca de la cascada, cómo tu espalda podía mojarse sin que te dieras cuenta, y pensé en mencionárselo a la Madre. But something in her manner told me she didn't wish me to speak just yet. Pero algo en su actitud me dijo que no deseaba que yo hablara todavía.

She was gazing straight at my face, the way she'd done from the sidewalk when Rosa and I had been in the window. Me miraba directamente a la cara, como lo había hecho desde la acera cuando Rosa y yo estábamos en la ventana. She drank coffee, all the time looking at me, till I found the Mother's face filled six boxes by itself, her narrowed eyes recurring in three of them, each time at a different angle. Bebió café, todo el tiempo mirándome, hasta que encontré que la cara de la Madre llenaba seis cajas por sí sola, sus ojos entrecerrados se repetían en tres de ellas, cada vez en un ángulo diferente. She said finally: Ella dijo finalmente:

‘So how do you like it here?' 'Entonces, ¿cómo te gusta estar aquí?'

‘It's wonderful.' 'Es maravilloso.'

‘So now you've seen a real waterfall.' 'Así que ahora has visto una verdadera cascada.'

‘I'm grateful you brought me here.' Estoy agradecido de que me hayas traído aquí.

‘That's odd. 'Eso es extraño. I was just thinking you didn't look so happy. Estaba pensando que no te veías tan feliz. I don't see your usual smile.' No veo tu sonrisa habitual.

‘I apologize. 'Me disculpo. I didn't mean to seem ungrateful. No quise parecer desagradecido. I'm very pleased to see the waterfall. Estoy muy contento de ver la cascada. But perhaps also regretful Josie couldn't be with us.' Pero quizás también lamentando que Josie no pudiera estar con nosotros.

‘I am too. 'Yo también. I feel bad about it.' Then she said: ‘But I don't feel quite so bad because you're here.' Me siento mal por ello.' Luego dijo: 'Pero no me siento tan mal porque estés aquí'.

‘Thank you.' 'Gracias.'

‘Maybe Melania was right. Tal vez Melania tenía razón. Maybe Josie would have been fine.' Tal vez Josie hubiera estado bien.

I said nothing. No dije nada. The Mother sipped her coffee and continued to look at me. La Madre tomó un sorbo de su café y siguió mirándome.

‘What did Josie tell you about this place?' ¿Qué te dijo Josie sobre este lugar?

‘She said it was beautiful and she'd always enjoyed very much her trips here with you.' Dijo que era hermoso y que siempre había disfrutado mucho sus viajes aquí contigo.

‘That's what she said? '¿Eso es lo que ella dijo? And did she tell you how we always came here with Sal? ¿Y te contó que siempre veníamos aquí con Sal? How much Sal loved it here?' ¿Cuánto le gustaba a Sal estar aquí?

‘Josie did mention her sister.' Then I added: ‘I saw Josie's sister in the photograph.' Josie mencionó a su hermana. Luego añadí: 'Vi a la hermana de Josie en la fotografía'.

The Mother stared so intensely at me that I thought I'd made an error. La Madre me miró con tanta intensidad que pensé que había cometido un error. But then she said: ‘I think I know the one you mean. Pero luego dijo: 'Creo que sé a quién te refieres. The one with the three of us sitting over there. El de nosotros tres sentados allí. I remember Melania taking it. Recuerdo que Melania lo tomó. We were over at that bench right there. Estábamos en ese banco justo allí. Me, Sal, Josie. Yo, Sal, Josie. Something wrong, Klara?'

‘I was very sad to hear Sal passed away.' "Me entristeció mucho saber que Sal falleció".

‘Sad puts it pretty well.' Triste lo expresa muy bien.

‘I'm sorry. 'Lo siento. Perhaps I shouldn't have…' Quizás no debería haber…

‘It's okay. 'Está bien. It's a while now since she left us. Ha pasado un tiempo desde que nos dejó. Shame you didn't meet Sal. Lástima que no conociste a Sal. Different from Josie. Diferente a Josie. Josie just says what she thinks. Josie solo dice lo que piensa. Doesn't care if she says the wrong thing. No le importa si ella dice algo incorrecto. That gets irritating sometimes but I love her for it. Eso se vuelve irritante a veces, pero la amo por eso. Sal wasn't like that. Sal no era así. Sal would have to think everything through before she came out with something, you know? Sal tendría que pensarlo todo antes de salir con algo, ¿sabes? She was more sensitive. Ella era más sensible. Maybe didn't handle being sick so well as Josie's doing.'

‘I wonder…why Sal passed away?' 'Me pregunto... ¿por qué murió Sal?'

The Mother's eyes changed and something cruel appeared around her mouth. Los ojos de la Madre cambiaron y algo cruel apareció alrededor de su boca.

‘What kind of a question is that?' '¿Qué clase de pregunta es esa?'

‘I'm sorry. 'Lo siento. I was merely curious to know…' Simplemente tenía curiosidad por saber...

‘It's not your business to be curious.' No es asunto tuyo ser curioso.

‘I'm very sorry.' 'Lo siento mucho.'

‘What's it to you? '¿Qué es para ti? It happened, that's all.' Sucedió, eso es todo.

Then after a long moment, the Mother's face softened. Luego, después de un largo momento, el rostro de la Madre se suavizó.

‘I think it was right we didn't bring Josie today,' she said. "Creo que estuvo bien que no trajimos a Josie hoy", dijo. ‘She wasn't well. No estaba bien. But now we're sitting here like this, I do miss her.' She looked around, turning to look at the waterfall. Pero ahora que estamos sentados aquí así, la extraño. Miró a su alrededor y se volvió para mirar la cascada. Then she turned back and her gaze went past me, to the passers-by, the dogs and AFs. Luego se dio la vuelta y su mirada pasó por encima de mí, hacia los transeúntes, los perros y los AF. ‘Okay, Klara. 'Está bien, Klara. Since Josie isn't here, I want you to be Josie. Como Josie no está aquí, quiero que seas Josie. Just for a little while. Solo por un momentito. Since we're up here.' Ya que estamos aquí.

‘I'm sorry. 'Lo siento. I don't understand.' No entiendo.'

‘You did it for me once before. Lo hiciste por mí una vez antes. The day we got you from the store. El día que te sacamos de la tienda. You haven't forgotten, have you?' No lo has olvidado, ¿verdad?

‘I remember, of course.' Lo recuerdo, por supuesto.

‘I mean, you haven't forgotten how to do it. Quiero decir, no has olvidado cómo hacerlo. Walk like Josie.' Camina como Josie.

‘I will be able to walk in her manner. 'Podré caminar a su manera. In fact now I know her better, and have seen her in more situations, I'll be able to give a more sophisticated imitation. De hecho ahora que la conozco mejor, y la he visto en más situaciones, podré dar una imitación más sofisticada. However…' Sin embargo…'

‘However what?' 'Sin embargo, ¿qué?'

‘I'm sorry. 'Lo siento. I didn't mean however.' Sin embargo, no quise decir.

The Mother looked at me, then said: ‘Good. La Madre me miró y luego dijo: 'Bien. But I wasn't going to ask you to do that walk anyway. Pero no iba a pedirte que hicieras esa caminata de todos modos. We're sitting here, the two of us. Estamos sentados aquí, los dos. A nice spot, a nice day. Un buen lugar, un buen día. And I'd been looking forward to having Josie here. Y había estado deseando tener a Josie aquí. So I'm asking you, Klara. Así que te pregunto a ti, Klara. You're smart. Eres inteligente. If she were sitting here instead of you right now, how would she sit? Si ella estuviera sentada aquí en lugar de ti en este momento, ¿cómo se sentaría? I don't think she'd sit the way you're sitting.' No creo que se sentara como tú te sientas.

‘No. 'No. Josie would be more…like this.' Josie sería más... así.

The Mother leaned closer over the tabletop and her eyes narrowed till her face filled eight boxes, leaving only the peripheral boxes for the waterfall, and for a moment it felt to me her expression varied between one box and the next. La Madre se inclinó más sobre la mesa y entrecerró los ojos hasta que su rostro llenó ocho cajas, dejando solo las cajas periféricas para la cascada, y por un momento sentí que su expresión variaba entre una caja y la siguiente. In one, for instance, her eyes were laughing cruelly, but in the next they were filled with sadness. En uno, por ejemplo, sus ojos reían con crueldad, pero en el siguiente estaban llenos de tristeza. The sounds of the waterfall, the children and the dogs all faded to a hush to make way for whatever the Mother was about to say. Los sonidos de la cascada, los niños y los perros se desvanecieron en un silencio para dar paso a lo que fuera que la Madre estaba a punto de decir.

‘That's good. 'Está bien. That's very good. Eso es muy bueno. But now I want you to move. Pero ahora quiero que te muevas. Do something. Hacer algo. Don't stop being Josie. No dejes de ser Josie. Let me see you move a little.' Déjame ver cómo te mueves un poco.

I smiled in the way Josie would, settling into a slouching, informal posture. Sonreí como lo haría Josie, colocándome en una postura encorvada e informal.

‘That's good. 'Está bien. Now say something. Ahora di algo. Let me hear you speak.' Déjame oírte hablar.

‘I'm sorry. 'Lo siento. I'm not sure…' No estoy seguro…'

‘No. That's Klara. Esa es Klara. I want Josie.' Quiero a Josie.

‘Hi, Mom. 'Hola mamá. Josie here.' Josie aquí.

‘Good. 'Bueno. More. Come on.' Vamos.'

‘Hi, Mom. 'Hola mamá. Nothing to worry about, right? Nada de qué preocuparse, ¿verdad? I got here and I'm fine.' Llegué aquí y estoy bien.

The Mother leaned even further across the table, and I could see joy, fear, sadness, laughter in the boxes. La Madre se inclinó aún más sobre la mesa y pude ver alegría, miedo, tristeza, risas en las cajas. Because everything else had gone silent, I could hear her repeating under her breath: ‘That's good, that's good, that's good.' Debido a que todo lo demás se había quedado en silencio, podía oírla repetir en voz baja: 'Eso es bueno, eso es bueno, eso es bueno'.

‘I told you I'd be fine,' I said. —Te dije que estaría bien —dije. ‘Melania was right. Melania tenía razón. Nothing wrong with me. No me pasa nada. A little tired, that's all.' Un poco cansado, eso es todo.

‘I'm sorry, Josie,' the Mother said. —Lo siento, Josie —dijo la Madre. ‘I'm sorry I didn't bring you here today.' Siento no haberte traído aquí hoy.

‘That's okay. 'Esta bien. I know you were worried for me. Sé que estabas preocupado por mí. I'm okay.' Estoy bien.'

‘I wish you were here. 'Desearía que estuvieras aquí. But you're not. Pero no lo eres. I wish I could stop you getting sick.' Ojalá pudiera evitar que te enfermaras.

‘Don't worry, Mom. 'No te preocupes, mamá. I'm going to be fine.' Voy a estar bien.

‘How can you say that? '¿Cómo puedes decir eso? What do you know about it? ¿Qué sabe usted al respecto? You're just a kid. Eres solo un niño. A kid who loves life and believes everything can be fixed. Un niño que ama la vida y cree que todo se puede arreglar. What do you know about it?' ¿Qué sabe usted al respecto?'

‘It's okay, Mom, don't worry. 'Está bien, mamá, no te preocupes. I'll get well soon. Me pondré bien pronto. I know how it'll happen too.' Yo también sé cómo sucederá.

‘What? '¿Qué? What are you saying? ¿Qué estas diciendo? You think you know more than the doctors? ¿Crees que sabes más que los médicos? More than I do? ¿Más que yo? Your sister made promises too. Tu hermana también hizo promesas. But she couldn't keep them. Pero no pudo quedárselos. Don't you do the same.' No hagas lo mismo.

‘But Mom. 'Pero mama. Sal was sick with something different. Sal estaba enfermo con algo diferente. I'm going to get well.' Voy a ponerme bien.

‘Okay, Josie. 'Está bien, Josie. So tell me how you'll get well.' Así que dime cómo te pondrás bien.

‘There's special help coming. Viene ayuda especial. Something no one's thought of yet. Algo en lo que nadie ha pensado todavía. Then I'll be well again.' Entonces estaré bien de nuevo.

‘What is this? '¿Qué es esto? Who's this talking?' ¿Quién está hablando?

Now, in box after box, I could see the cheekbones of the Mother's face very pronounced beneath her skin. Ahora, cuadro tras cuadro, pude ver los pómulos del rostro de la Madre muy pronunciados bajo su piel.

‘Really, Mom. 'De verdad, mamá. I'm going to be fine.' Voy a estar bien.

‘That's enough. 'Eso es suficiente. Enough!' ¡Suficiente!'

The Mother stood up and walked away. La Madre se levantó y se alejó. I could then see the waterfall again, and its noise – as well as that of the people behind me – returned louder than ever. Entonces pude ver la cascada nuevamente, y su ruido, así como el de las personas detrás de mí, volvió más fuerte que nunca.

The Mother stopped near the wooden rail marking where the ground finished and the waterfall began. La Madre se detuvo cerca de la baranda de madera que marcaba donde terminaba el suelo y comenzaba la cascada. I could see the mist hanging before her and I thought she would become wet in moments, but she continued standing with her back to me. Podía ver la niebla colgando frente a ella y pensé que se mojaría en unos momentos, pero siguió parada de espaldas a mí. Then at last she turned and waved. Entonces, por fin, se volvió y saludó.

‘Klara. 'Klara. Come on over here. Ven acá. Come and take a look.' Ven y echa un vistazo.'

I got up from the bench and went to her. Me levanté del banco y fui hacia ella. She'd called me ‘Klara' so I knew I shouldn't attempt any more to imitate Josie. Me había llamado 'Klara', así que sabía que no debía intentar imitar a Josie más. She gestured for me to come closer still. Me hizo un gesto para que me acercara aún más.

‘See, take a look. 'Mira, echa un vistazo. You've never seen a waterfall before. Nunca has visto una cascada antes. So take a look. Así que echa un vistazo. What do you think?' ¿Qué opinas?'

‘It's wonderful. 'Es maravilloso. Much more impressive than in the magazine.' Mucho más impresionante que en la revista.

‘Something special, right? 'Algo especial, ¿verdad? I'm glad you're seeing it. Me alegro de que lo estés viendo. Now let's get back. Ahora volvamos. I'm concerned about Josie.' Estoy preocupado por Josie.

The Mother didn't speak for the entire way back down to the car. La Madre no habló durante todo el camino de regreso al auto. She walked quickly, always at least four paces ahead, and I had to take care not to make errors on the steep downhill path. Caminaba rápido, siempre por lo menos cuatro pasos por delante, y yo tenía que tener cuidado de no cometer errores en el empinado camino cuesta abajo. As we passed the spot where we'd seen the bull, I looked over the field right into the distance, but the terrible creature was now nowhere to be seen, and I wondered if it had been taken back down into the ground. Cuando pasamos por el lugar donde habíamos visto al toro, miré por encima del campo a lo lejos, pero la terrible criatura ya no estaba a la vista y me pregunté si la habrían vuelto a enterrar.

When we reached the car, I began to get into my usual seat, but the Mother said: Cuando llegamos al auto, comencé a subirme a mi asiento habitual, pero la Madre dijo: