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KLARA AND THE SUN - KAZUO ISHIGURO, Part Two - 03 (3)

Part Two - 03 (3)

‘Travel in the front. You'll see better.'

So I got in beside her, and it was like the difference between mid-store and the window. We descended across the fields, the Sun visible between clouds, and I observed how the tall trees on the horizon gathered in tight groups of seven or eight, even though all around them there was emptiness. The car followed a long thin line across the land, and I saw that what at first had appeared to be part of a distant field's pattern was in fact sheep. We passed one field containing more than forty such creatures, and although we were moving very fast, I was able to see that each one of them was filled with kindness – the exact opposite of the terrible bull from earlier. My gaze fell in particular on four sheep that looked even more gentle than the others. They'd arranged themselves on the grass in a neat row, one after the other, as though proceeding on a journey. But I could tell, even though we were passing quickly, that they were in fact standing quite still, aside from the small movements of their mouths as they ate the grass.

‘I'm grateful to you, Klara. Having you with me made it not so bad.'

‘I'm so glad.'

‘Maybe sometimes we'll do the same again. If Josie's too sick to come out.'

When I said nothing, she said: ‘You don't mind, do you, Klara? If we do something like this again?'

‘No, not at all. If Josie isn't able to come.'

‘You know what? I think it's best we say nothing to Josie about this. Nothing about what you were doing up there. Imitating her. She might take it the wrong way.' Then after another moment, she asked: ‘So we're agreed? Nothing to Josie about that.'

‘As you wish.'

I could now see the metal boxes village in the distance again, this time to our right. I thought she might say something more about it, or about the Father, but she continued to drive in silence, and then the metal boxes village had disappeared. Only then did she say, quite suddenly:

‘Kids can be hurtful sometimes. They believe if you happen to be an adult, nothing can possibly hurt you. Still, she's grown up some since you've been around. She's become more considerate.'

‘I'm glad.'

‘It's been noticeable. She's definitely more mindful of others these days.'

I could see a tree with a trunk that was in fact three thin trunks entwined together to look like a single one. I observed it carefully as we passed, turning in my seat to see it for longer.

‘What you were saying earlier,' the Mother said. ‘About her getting well. Some special kind of help coming along. You were just talking, right?'

‘You must excuse me. I know that you, the doctor and Melania Housekeeper have all considered very carefully Josie's condition. It's very concerning. Even so, I'm hoping soon she'll get better.'

‘Is that merely hoping? Or is this something more solid you're expecting? Something the rest of us haven't seen?'

‘I suppose…it's merely a hope. But a real one. I believe Josie will soon become better.'

The Mother didn't speak for several moments after that, her eyes staring through the windshield with an expression so distant I wondered if she could see the road before us. Then she said quietly:

‘You're an intelligent AF. Maybe you can see things the rest of us can't. Maybe you're right to be hopeful. Maybe you're right.'

When we got back to the house, Josie wasn't in the kitchen or the Open Plan. The Mother and Melania Housekeeper stood in the doorway of the kitchen and talked in low voices, and I could tell Melania Housekeeper was reporting that Josie had been fine in our absence. The Mother kept nodding, then walked across the hall to the bottom of the stairs and called up to Josie. When Josie called back with a single ‘Okay', the Mother remained not moving at the foot of the stairs for some time. Then she shrugged and went off towards the Open Plan. I was now alone in the hall, so went up the stairs to Josie.

She was sitting on the rug, her back against the bed, her knees drawn up to rest a sketchpad against them. She was concentrating on what she was drawing with her pencil and so didn't look up when I greeted her. Scattered around her were several other sheets torn from the sketchpad, some abandoned after a few quick lines, others densely filled.

‘I'm so glad Josie's been well,' I said.

‘Yeah, I'm okay.' She didn't look up from her sketching. ‘So how was the trip?'

‘It was marvelous. Such a pity Josie couldn't come.'

‘Yeah. That was too bad. Did you check out the waterfall?'

‘Yes. It was wonderful.'

‘Mom enjoy herself?'

‘I believe so. Of course she very much missed having Josie there.'

At last she looked my way, glancing quickly over the top of her sketchpad, and I saw in her eyes an expression I'd never seen before. And I remembered again the voice, at the interaction meeting, asking Josie why she hadn't chosen a B3, and her replying with a laugh, ‘Now I'm starting to think I should have.' Then her gaze fell away from me and she began to draw again. For a long time I remained standing at the spot where I'd first entered the room. Eventually I said:

‘I'm very sorry if I did something to upset Josie.'

‘Didn't upset me. What makes you think that?'

‘So we're still good friends?'

‘You're my AF. So we must be good friends, right?'

But there was no smile in her voice. It was clear she wished to be alone to get on with her sketching, so I left the room, to stand outside on the landing.


Part Two - 03 (3)

‘Travel in the front. You'll see better.' Verás mejor.

So I got in beside her, and it was like the difference between mid-store and the window. Así que me subí a su lado, y era como la diferencia entre la tienda y el escaparate. We descended across the fields, the Sun visible between clouds, and I observed how the tall trees on the horizon gathered in tight groups of seven or eight, even though all around them there was emptiness. Descendimos por los campos, el Sol visible entre las nubes, y observé cómo los árboles altos en el horizonte se reunían en apretados grupos de siete u ocho, aunque a su alrededor todo estaba vacío. The car followed a long thin line across the land, and I saw that what at first had appeared to be part of a distant field's pattern was in fact sheep. El auto siguió una línea larga y delgada a través del terreno, y vi que lo que al principio parecía ser parte del patrón de un campo distante, en realidad era una oveja. We passed one field containing more than forty such creatures, and although we were moving very fast, I was able to see that each one of them was filled with kindness – the exact opposite of the terrible bull from earlier. Pasamos por un campo que contenía más de cuarenta de esas criaturas, y aunque nos movíamos muy rápido, pude ver que cada una de ellas estaba llena de amabilidad, exactamente lo contrario del toro terrible de antes. My gaze fell in particular on four sheep that looked even more gentle than the others. Mi mirada se posó en particular en cuatro ovejas que parecían incluso más mansas que las demás. They'd arranged themselves on the grass in a neat row, one after the other, as though proceeding on a journey. Se habían acomodado en la hierba en una fila ordenada, uno tras otro, como si estuvieran en un viaje. But I could tell, even though we were passing quickly, that they were in fact standing quite still, aside from the small movements of their mouths as they ate the grass. Pero me di cuenta, a pesar de que pasábamos rápidamente, que en realidad estaban bastante quietos, aparte de los pequeños movimientos de sus bocas mientras comían la hierba.

‘I'm grateful to you, Klara. Te lo agradezco, Klara. Having you with me made it not so bad.' Tenerte conmigo hizo que no fuera tan malo.

‘I'm so glad.' 'Estoy tan feliz.'

‘Maybe sometimes we'll do the same again. Quizá a veces volvamos a hacer lo mismo. If Josie's too sick to come out.' Si Josie está demasiado enferma para salir.

When I said nothing, she said: ‘You don't mind, do you, Klara? Cuando no dije nada, ella dijo: 'No te importa, ¿verdad, Klara? If we do something like this again?' ¿Si volvemos a hacer algo así?

‘No, not at all. 'No, en absoluto. If Josie isn't able to come.' Si Josie no puede venir.

‘You know what? '¿Sabes que? I think it's best we say nothing to Josie about this. Creo que es mejor que no le digamos nada a Josie sobre esto. Nothing about what you were doing up there. Nada sobre lo que estabas haciendo ahí arriba. Imitating her. Imitándola. She might take it the wrong way.' Then after another moment, she asked: ‘So we're agreed? Puede que se lo tome a mal. Luego, después de otro momento, preguntó: '¿Así que estamos de acuerdo? Nothing to Josie about that.' Josie no tiene nada que ver con eso.

‘As you wish.' 'Como desées.'

I could now see the metal boxes village in the distance again, this time to our right. Ahora podía ver el pueblo de cajas de metal en la distancia de nuevo, esta vez a nuestra derecha. I thought she might say something more about it, or about the Father, but she continued to drive in silence, and then the metal boxes village had disappeared. Pensé que podría decir algo más sobre eso, o sobre el Padre, pero siguió conduciendo en silencio, y luego el pueblo de cajas de metal había desaparecido. Only then did she say, quite suddenly: Sólo entonces dijo, de repente:

‘Kids can be hurtful sometimes. Los niños pueden ser hirientes a veces. They believe if you happen to be an adult, nothing can possibly hurt you. Creen que si eres un adulto, nada puede lastimarte. Still, she's grown up some since you've been around. Aún así, ella ha crecido un poco desde que estás aquí. She's become more considerate.' Se ha vuelto más considerada.

‘I'm glad.' 'Me alegro.'

‘It's been noticeable. Ha sido notable. She's definitely more mindful of others these days.' Definitivamente es más consciente de los demás en estos días.

I could see a tree with a trunk that was in fact three thin trunks entwined together to look like a single one. Pude ver un árbol con un tronco que en realidad eran tres troncos delgados entrelazados para parecer uno solo. I observed it carefully as we passed, turning in my seat to see it for longer. Lo observé cuidadosamente mientras pasábamos, volviéndome en mi asiento para verlo por más tiempo.

‘What you were saying earlier,' the Mother said. 'Lo que estabas diciendo antes', dijo la Madre. ‘About her getting well. 'Sobre su recuperación. Some special kind of help coming along. Viene algún tipo especial de ayuda. You were just talking, right?' Estabas hablando, ¿verdad?

‘You must excuse me. Tienes que disculparme. I know that you, the doctor and Melania Housekeeper have all considered very carefully Josie's condition. Sé que usted, el médico y Melania Housekeeper han considerado muy detenidamente el estado de Josie. It's very concerning. Es muy preocupante. Even so, I'm hoping soon she'll get better.' Aun así, espero que pronto se mejore.

‘Is that merely hoping? '¿Eso es simplemente esperar? Or is this something more solid you're expecting? ¿O es algo más sólido lo que estás esperando? Something the rest of us haven't seen?' ¿Algo que el resto de nosotros no hayamos visto?

‘I suppose…it's merely a hope. 'Supongo... es simplemente una esperanza. But a real one. Pero uno de verdad. I believe Josie will soon become better.' Creo que Josie pronto mejorará.

The Mother didn't speak for several moments after that, her eyes staring through the windshield with an expression so distant I wondered if she could see the road before us. La Madre no habló durante varios momentos después de eso, sus ojos miraban a través del parabrisas con una expresión tan distante que me pregunté si podría ver el camino frente a nosotros. Then she said quietly: Luego dijo en voz baja:

‘You're an intelligent AF. Eres un AF inteligente. Maybe you can see things the rest of us can't. Tal vez puedas ver cosas que el resto de nosotros no podemos. Maybe you're right to be hopeful. Tal vez tengas razón en tener esperanzas. Maybe you're right.' Quizás tengas razón.'

When we got back to the house, Josie wasn't in the kitchen or the Open Plan. Cuando regresamos a la casa, Josie no estaba en la cocina ni en el Open Plan. The Mother and Melania Housekeeper stood in the doorway of the kitchen and talked in low voices, and I could tell Melania Housekeeper was reporting that Josie had been fine in our absence. La madre y Melania Housekeeper se pararon en la puerta de la cocina y hablaron en voz baja, y me di cuenta de que Melania Housekeeper estaba informando que Josie había estado bien durante nuestra ausencia. The Mother kept nodding, then walked across the hall to the bottom of the stairs and called up to Josie. La Madre siguió asintiendo, luego cruzó el pasillo hasta el pie de las escaleras y llamó a Josie. When Josie called back with a single ‘Okay', the Mother remained not moving at the foot of the stairs for some time. Cuando Josie volvió a llamar con un solo 'Está bien', la Madre permaneció inmóvil al pie de las escaleras durante algún tiempo. Then she shrugged and went off towards the Open Plan. Luego se encogió de hombros y se fue hacia el Open Plan. I was now alone in the hall, so went up the stairs to Josie. Ahora estaba solo en el pasillo, así que subí las escaleras hacia Josie.

She was sitting on the rug, her back against the bed, her knees drawn up to rest a sketchpad against them. Estaba sentada en la alfombra, con la espalda contra la cama, las rodillas dobladas para apoyar un bloc de dibujo contra ellas. She was concentrating on what she was drawing with her pencil and so didn't look up when I greeted her. Estaba concentrada en lo que estaba dibujando con su lápiz y por eso no levantó la vista cuando la saludé. Scattered around her were several other sheets torn from the sketchpad, some abandoned after a few quick lines, others densely filled. Dispersas a su alrededor había varias otras hojas arrancadas del bloc de dibujo, algunas abandonadas después de unas pocas líneas rápidas, otras densamente llenas.

‘I'm so glad Josie's been well,' I said. 'Estoy tan contenta de que Josie haya estado bien', dije.

‘Yeah, I'm okay.' She didn't look up from her sketching. 'Sí, estoy bien'. Ella no levantó la vista de su dibujo. ‘So how was the trip?' '¿Entonces qué tal el viaje?'

‘It was marvelous. Fue maravilloso. Such a pity Josie couldn't come.' Es una pena que Josie no haya podido venir.

‘Yeah. 'Sí. That was too bad. Eso fue muy malo. Did you check out the waterfall?' ¿Revisaste la cascada?

‘Yes. 'Sí. It was wonderful.' Fue maravilloso.

‘Mom enjoy herself?' '¿Mamá se divierte?'

‘I believe so. 'Eso creo. Of course she very much missed having Josie there.' Por supuesto, echaba mucho de menos tener a Josie allí.

At last she looked my way, glancing quickly over the top of her sketchpad, and I saw in her eyes an expression I'd never seen before. Por fin miró en mi dirección, mirando rápidamente por encima de su bloc de dibujo, y vi en sus ojos una expresión que nunca antes había visto. And I remembered again the voice, at the interaction meeting, asking Josie why she hadn't chosen a B3, and her replying with a laugh, ‘Now I'm starting to think I should have.' Then her gaze fell away from me and she began to draw again. Y recordé nuevamente la voz, en la reunión de interacción, preguntándole a Josie por qué no había elegido un B3, y ella respondiendo con una sonrisa: 'Ahora estoy empezando a pensar que debería haberlo hecho'. Entonces su mirada se apartó de mí y empezó a dibujar de nuevo. For a long time I remained standing at the spot where I'd first entered the room. Durante mucho tiempo me quedé de pie en el lugar donde había entrado por primera vez en la habitación. Eventually I said: Finalmente dije:

‘I'm very sorry if I did something to upset Josie.' Siento mucho si hice algo que molestó a Josie.

‘Didn't upset me. No me molestó. What makes you think that?' ¿Qué te hace pensar que?'

‘So we're still good friends?' '¿Así que seguimos siendo buenos amigos?'

‘You're my AF. 'Tú eres mi AF. So we must be good friends, right?' Así que debemos ser buenos amigos, ¿verdad?

But there was no smile in her voice. Pero no había sonrisa en su voz. It was clear she wished to be alone to get on with her sketching, so I left the room, to stand outside on the landing. Estaba claro que deseaba estar sola para continuar con su dibujo, así que salí de la habitación para quedarme afuera en el rellano.