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أدوات الموضوع إبحث في الموضوع طرق مشاهدة الموضوع
قديم 11-13-2011, 08:14 PM   #18

 
الصورة الرمزية أبا المضطرب

أبا المضطرب

سفير النوايا الغير حسنة

______________

أبا المضطرب غير متصل

 
الملف الشخصي
تاريخ التسجيل: May 2006
الإقامة: 远海
المشاركات: 581  [ ؟ ]

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افتراضي

 


CHAPTER 17

Aomame

WHETHER WE ARE HAPPY OR UNHAPPY


Aomame stepped out onto her balcony again the next night to find that there were still two moons in the sky. The big one was the normal moon. It wore a mysterious white coating, as if it had just burrowed its way there through a mountain of ash, but aside from that it was the same old moon she was used to seeing, the moon that Neil Armstrong marked with a first small step but giant leap in that hot summer of 1969. Hanging next to it was a small, green, lopsided moon, nestled shyly by the big moon like an inferior child.
There must be something wrong with my mind, Aomame thought. There has always been only one moon, and there should only be one now. If the number of moons had suddenly increased to two, it should have caused some actual changes to life on earth. The tides, say, should have been seriously altered, and everyone would be talking about it. I couldn’t possibly have failed to notice it until now. This is different from just happening to miss some articles in the paper.
Or is it really so different? Can I declare that with one hundred percent certainty?
Aomame scowled for a time. Strange things keep happening around me these days. The world is moving ahead on its own without my being aware of it, as if we’re playing a game in which everybody else can move only when I have my eyes closed. Then it might not be so strange for there to be two moons hanging in the sky side by side. Perhaps, at some point when my mind was sleeping, the little one happened along from somewhere in space and decided to settle into the earth’s gravitational field, looking like a distant cousin of the moon.
Police officers were issued new uniforms and new pistols. The police and a radical group staged a wild gun battle in the mountains of Yamanashi. These things occurred without my being aware of them. There was also a news report that the U.S. and the USSR jointly constructed a moon base. Could there be some connection between that and the increase in the number of moons? Aomame probed her memory to see if there had been an article about the new moon in the compact edition of the newspaper she read in the library, but could think of nothing.
She wished that she could ask someone about these things, but she had no idea whom to ask nor how to go about it. Would it be all right for her just to say, “Hey, I think there are two moons in the sky. Do you mind having a look for me?” No, it would be a stupid question under any circumstances. If the number of moons had in fact increased to two, it would be strange for her not to know that. If there was still only the one moon, people would think she had gone crazy.
She lowered herself into the aluminum chair, resting her feet on the balcony railing. She thought of ten different ways of asking the question, and some she even tried out loud, but they all sounded as stupid as the first. Oh, what the hell. The whole situation defies common sense. There’s no way to come up with a sensible question about it, obviously.
She decided to shelve the question of the second moon for the time being. I’ll just wait and see what happens. It’s not causing me any practical problems for now. And maybe at some point I’ll notice that it disappeared when I wasn’t looking.
She went to the sports club in Hiroo the following afternoon, taught two martial arts classes, and had one private lesson. Stopping by the front desk, she was surprised to find a message for her from the dowager in Azabu, asking her to call when she was free.
Tamaru answered the phone as always. He explained that the dowager wondered if Aomame could come to the house the following day if possible. She wanted the usual program, to be followed by a light supper.
Aomame said she could come after four and that she would be delighted to join the dowager for supper. Tamaru confirmed the appointment, but before he could hang up, Aomame asked him if he had seen the moon lately.
“The moon?” Tamaru asked. “You mean the moon—up in the sky?”
“Yes, the moon.”
“I can’t say I recall consciously looking at it recently. Is something going on with the moon?”
“Nothing special,” Aomame said. “All right, see you after four tomorrow.”
Tamaru hesitated a moment before hanging up.
There were two moons again that night, both two days past full. Aomame had a glass of brandy in one hand as she stared at the pair of moons, big and small, as if at an unsolvable puzzle. The more she looked, the more enigmatic the combination felt to her. If only she could ask the moon directly, “How did you suddenly come by this little green companion of yours?”! But the moon would not favor her with a reply.
The moon had been observing the earth close-up longer than anyone. It must have witnessed all of the phenomena occurring—and all of the acts carried out—on this earth. But the moon remained silent; it told no stories. All it did was embrace the heavy past with cool, measured detachment. On the moon there was neither air nor wind. Its vacuum was perfect for preserving memories unscathed. No one could unlock the heart of the moon. Aomame raised her glass to the moon and asked, “Have you gone to bed with someone in your arms lately?”
The moon did not answer.
“Do you have any friends?” she asked.
The moon did not answer.
“Don’t you get tired of always playing it cool?”
The moon did not answer.
Tamaru met her at the front door as always. “I saw the moon last night!” he said immediately.
“Oh, really?” Aomame said.
“Thanks to you, I started wondering about it. I hadn’t stopped and looked at the moon in quite a while. It’s nice. Very calming.”
“Were you with a lover?”
“Exactly,” Tamaru said, tapping the side of his nose. “Is something up with the moon?”
“Not at all,” Aomame said, then added cautiously, “It’s just that, I don’t know, I’ve been concerned about the moon lately.”
“For no reason at all?”
“Nothing in particular,” Aomame said.
Tamaru nodded in silence. He seemed to be drawing his own conclusions. This man did not trust things that lacked reasons. Instead of pursuing the matter, however, he led Aomame to the sunroom. The dowager was there, dressed in a jersey top and bottom for exercise, seated in her reading chair and listening to John Dowland’s instrumental piece “Lachrimae” while reading a book. This was one of her favorite pieces of music. Aomame had heard it many times and knew the melody.
“Sorry for the short notice,” the dowager said. “This time slot just happened to open up yesterday.”
“You don’t have to apologize to me,” Aomame said.
Tamaru carried in a tray holding a pot of herbal tea and proceeded to fill two elegant cups. He closed the door on his way out, leaving the two women alone. They drank their tea in silence, listening to Dowland and looking at the blaze of azalea blossoms in the garden. Whenever she came here, Aomame felt she was in another world. The air was heavy, and time had its own special way of flowing.
The dowager said, “Often when I listen to this music, I’m struck by mysterious emotions with regard to time.” She seemed almost to have read Aomame’s mind. “To think that people four hundred years ago were listening to the same music we’re hearing now! Doesn’t it make you feel strange?”
“It does,” Aomame said, “but come to think of it, those people four hundred years ago were looking at the same moon we see.”
The dowager looked at Aomame with a hint of surprise. Then she nodded. “You’re quite right about that. Looking at it that way, I guess there’s nothing mysterious about people listening to the same music four hundred years apart.”
“Perhaps I should have said almost the same moon,” Aomame said, looking at the dowager. Her remark seemed to have made no impression on the older woman.
“The performance on this CD uses period instruments,” the dowager said, “exactly as it was written at the time, so the music sounds pretty much as it did back then. It’s like the moon.”
Aomame said, “Even if things were the same, people’s perception of them might have been very different back then. The darkness of night was probably deeper then, so the moon must have been that much bigger and brighter. And of course people didn’t have records or tapes or CDs. They couldn’t hear proper performances of music anytime they liked: it was always something special.”
“I’m sure you’re right,” the dowager said. “Things are so convenient for us these days, our perceptions are probably that much duller. Even if it’s the same moon hanging in the sky, we may be looking at something quite different. Four hundred years ago, we might have had richer spirits that were closer to nature.”
“It was a cruel world, though. More than half of all children died before they could reach maturity, thanks to chronic epidemics and malnutrition. People dropped like flies from polio and tuberculosis and smallpox and measles. There probably weren’t very many people who lived past forty. Women bore so many children, they became toothless old hags by the time they were in their thirties. People often had to resort to violence to survive. Tiny children were forced to do such heavy labor that their bones became deformed, and little girls were forced to become prostitutes on a daily basis. Little boys, too, I suspect. Most people led minimal lives in worlds that had nothing to do with richness of perception or spirit. City streets were full of cripples and beggars and criminals. Only a small fraction of the population could gaze at the moon with deep feeling or enjoy a Shakespeare play or listen to the beautiful music of Dowland.”
The dowager smiled. “What an interesting person you are!”
Aomame said, “I’m a very ordinary human being. I just happen to like reading books. Especially history books.”
“I like history books too. They teach us that we’re basically the same, whether now or in the old days. There may be a few differences in clothing and lifestyle, but there’s not that much difference in what we think and do. Human beings are ultimately nothing but carriers—passageways—for genes. They ride us into the ground like racehorses from generation to generation. Genes don’t think about what constitutes good or evil. They don’t care whether we are happy or unhappy. We’re just a means to an end for them. The only thing they think about is what is most efficient for them.”
“In spite of that, we can’t help but think about what is good and what is evil. Is that what you’re saying?”
The dowager nodded. “Exactly. People have to think about those things. But genes are what control the basis for how we live. Naturally, a contradiction arises,” she said with a smile.
Their conversation about history ended there. They drank the rest of their herbal tea and proceeded with martial arts training.
That day they shared a simple dinner in the dowager’s home.
“A simple meal is all I can offer you, if that’s all right,” the dowager said.
“That’s fine with me,” Aomame said.
Tamaru rolled their meal in on a wagon. A professional chef had doubtless prepared the food, but it was Tamaru’s job to serve it. He plucked the bottle of white wine from its ice bucket and poured with practiced movements. The dowager and Aomame both tasted the wine. It had a lovely bouquet and was perfectly chilled. The dinner consisted of boiled white asparagus, salade Niçoise, a crabmeat omelet, and rolls and butter, nothing more. All the ingredients were fresh and delicious, and the portions were moderate. The dowager always ate small amounts of food. She used her knife and fork elegantly, bringing one tiny bite after another to her mouth like a small bird. Tamaru stayed in the farthest corner of the room throughout the meal. Aomame was always amazed how such a powerfully built man could obscure his own presence for such a long time.
The two women spoke only in brief snatches during the meal, concentrating instead on what they ate. Music played at low volume—a Haydn cello concerto. This was another of the dowager’s favorites.
After the dishes were taken away, a coffeepot arrived. Tamaru poured, and as he backed away, the dowager turned to him with a finger raised.
“Thank you, Tamaru. That will be all.”
Tamaru nodded respectfully and left the room, his footsteps silent as always. The door closed quietly behind him. While the two women drank their coffee, the music ended and a new silence came to the room.
“You and I trust each other, wouldn’t you say?” the dowager said, looking straight at Aomame.
Aomame agreed—succinctly, but without reservation.
“We share some important secrets,” the dowager said. “We have put our fates in each other’s hands.”
Aomame nodded silently.
This was the room in which Aomame first confessed her secret to the dowager. Aomame remembered the day clearly. She had known that someday she would have to share the burden she carried in her heart with someone. She could keep it locked up inside herself only so long, and already she was reaching her limit. And so, when the dowager said something to draw her out, Aomame had flung open the door.
She told the dowager how her best friend had lost her mental balance after two years of physical violence from her husband and, unable to flee from him, in agony, she had committed suicide. Aomame allowed nearly a year to pass before concocting an excuse to visit the man’s house. There, following an elaborate plan of her own devising, she killed him with a single needle thrust to the back of the neck. It caused no bleeding and left no visible wound. His death was treated simply as the result of illness. No one had any suspicions. Aomame felt that she had done nothing wrong, she told the dowager, either then or now. Nor did she feel any pangs of conscience, though this fact did nothing to lessen the burden of having purposely taken the life of a human being.
The dowager had listened attentively to Aomame’s long confession, offering no comment even when Aomame occasionally faltered in her detailed account. When Aomame finished her story, the dowager asked for clarification on a few particulars. Then she reached over and firmly grasped Aomame’s hand for a very long time.
“What you did was right,” she said, speaking slowly and with conviction. “If he had lived, he eventually would have done the same kind of thing to other women. Men like that always find victims. They’re made to do it over and over. You severed the evil at the root. Rest assured, it was not mere personal vengeance.”
Aomame buried her face in her hands and cried. She was crying for Tamaki. The dowager found a handkerchief and wiped her tears.
“This is a strange coincidence,” the dowager said in a low but resolute voice, “but I also once made a man vanish for almost exactly the same reason.”
Aomame raised her head and looked at the dowager. She did not know what to say. What could she be talking about?
The dowager continued, “I did not do it directly, myself, of course. I had neither the physical strength nor your special training. But I did make him vanish through the means that I had at my disposal, leaving behind no concrete evidence. Even if I were to turn myself in and confess, it would be impossible to prove, just as it would be for you. I suppose if there is to be some judgment after death, a god will be the one to judge me, but that doesn’t frighten me in the least. I did nothing wrong. I reserve the right to declare the justice of my case in anyone’s presence.”
The dowager sighed with apparent relief before continuing. “So, then, you and I now have our hands on each other’s deepest secrets, don’t we?”
Aomame still could not fully grasp what the dowager was telling her. She made a man vanish? Caught between deep doubt and intense shock, Aomame’s face began to lose its normal shape. To calm her down, the dowager began to explain what had happened, in a tranquil tone of voice.
Circumstances similar to those of Tamaki Otsuka had led her daughter to end her own life, the dowager said. Her daughter had married the wrong man. The dowager had known from the beginning that the marriage would not go well. She could clearly see that the man had a twisted personality. He had already been involved in several bad situations, their cause almost certainly deeply rooted. But no one could stop the daughter from marrying him. As the dowager had expected, there were repeated instances of domestic violence. The daughter gradually lost whatever self-respect and self-confidence she had and sank into a deep depression. Robbed of the strength to stand on her own, she felt increasingly like an ant trapped in a bowl of sand. Finally, she washed down a large number of sleeping pills with whiskey.
The autopsy revealed many signs of violence on her body: bruises from punching and severe battering, broken bones, and numerous burn scars from cigarettes pressed against the flesh. Both wrists showed signs of having been tightly bound. The man apparently enjoyed using a rope. Her nipples were deformed. The husband was called in and questioned by the police. He was willing to admit to some use of violence, but he maintained that it had been part of their sexual practice, under mutual consent, to satisfy his wife’s preferences.
As in Tamaki’s case, the police were unable to find the husband legally responsible. The wife had never filed a complaint, and now she was dead. The husband was a man of some social standing, and he had hired a capable criminal lawyer. And finally, there was no room for doubt that the death had been a suicide.
“Did you kill the man?” Aomame ventured to ask.
“No, I didn’t kill him—not that man,” the dowager said.
Unclear where this was heading, Aomame simply stared at her in silence.
The dowager said, “My daughter’s former husband, that contemptible man, is still alive in this world. He wakes up in bed every morning and walks down the street on his own two feet. Mere killing is not what I had planned for him.”
She paused for a moment to allow Aomame to absorb her words fully.
“I have socially destroyed my former son-in-law, leaving nothing behind. It just so happens that I possess that kind of power. The man is a weakling. He has a degree of intelligence, he speaks well, and has gained some social recognition, but he is basically weak and despicable. Men who wield great violence at home against their wives and children are invariably people of weak character. They prey upon those who are weaker than themselves precisely because of their own weakness. Destroying him was easy. Once men like that are destroyed, they can never recover. My daughter died a long time ago, but I have kept watch over him to this day. If he ever shows signs of recovery, I will not allow it to happen. He goes on living, but he might as well be a corpse. He won’t kill himself. He doesn’t have the courage to do that. And I won’t do him the favor of killing him, either. My method is to go on tormenting him mercilessly without letup but without killing him, as though skinning him alive. The man I made vanish was another person. A practical reason made it necessary for me to have him move to another place.”
The dowager went on to explain this to Aomame. The year after her daughter killed herself, the dowager set up a private safe house for women who were suffering from the same kind of domestic violence. She owned a small, two-story apartment building on a plot of land adjoining her Willow House property in Azabu and had kept it unoccupied, intending to demolish it before long. Instead, she decided to renovate the building and use it as a safe house for women who had nowhere else to go. She also opened a downtown “consultation office” through which women suffering from domestic violence could seek advice, primarily from lawyers in the metropolitan area. It was staffed by volunteers who took turns doing interviews and giving telephone counseling. The office kept in touch with the dowager at home. Women who needed an emergency shelter would be sent to the safe house, often with children in tow (some of whom were teenage girls who had been sexually abused by their fathers). They would stay there until more permanent arrangements could be made for them. They would be provided with basic necessities—food, clothing—and they would help each other in a kind of communal living arrangement. The dowager personally took care of all their expenses.
The lawyers and counselors made regular visits to the safe house to check on the women’s progress and discuss plans for their futures. The dowager would also drop in when she had time, listening to each woman’s story and offering her advice. Sometimes she would find them jobs or more permanent places to live. When troubles arose requiring intervention of a physical nature, Tamaru would head over to the safe house and handle them—say, for example, when a husband would learn of his wife’s whereabouts and forcibly try to take her back. No one could deal with such problems as quickly and expeditiously as Tamaru.
“There are those cases, however, that neither Tamaru nor I can fully deal with and for which we can find no practical remedy through the law,” the dowager said.
Aomame noticed that, as the dowager spoke, her face took on a certain bronze glow and her usual mild-mannered elegance faded until it had disappeared entirely. What took its place was a certain something that transcended mere anger or disgust. It was probably that small, hard, nameless core that lies in the deepest part of the mind. In spite of the facial change, however, her voice remained as cool and dispassionate as ever.
“Of course, a person’s existence (or nonexistence) cannot be decided on the basis of mere practical considerations—for example, if he is no longer there, it will eliminate the difficulties of divorce, say, or hasten the payment of life insurance. We take such action only as a last resort, after examining all factors closely and fairly, and arriving at the conclusion that the man deserves no mercy. These parasitical men, who can only live by sucking the blood of the weak! These incurable men, with their twisted minds! They have no interest in rehabilitating themselves, and we can find no value in having them continue to live in this world!”
The dowager closed her mouth and momentarily glared at Aomame with eyes that could pierce a rock wall. Then she went on in her usual calm tone, “All we can do with such men is make them vanish one way or another—but always taking care not to attract people’s attention.”
“Is such a thing possible?”
“There are many ways for people to vanish,” the dowager said, pausing to let her words sink in. Then she continued, “I can arrange for people to vanish in certain ways. I have that kind of power at my disposal.”
Aomame struggled to understand, but the dowager’s words were too obscure.
The dowager said, “You and I have both lost people who were important to us. We lost them in outrageous ways, and we are both deeply scarred from the experience. Such wounds to the heart will probably never heal. But we cannot simply sit and stare at our wounds forever. We must stand up and move on to the next action—not for the sake of our own individual vengeance but for the sake of a more far-reaching form of justice. Will you help me in my work? I need a capable collaborator in whom I can put my trust, someone with whom I can share my secrets and my mission. Will you be that person? Are you willing to join me?”
Aomame took some time to fully comprehend what the dowager had said to her. It was an incredible confession and an equally incredible proposal. Aomame needed even more time to decide how she felt about the proposal. As she sorted this out for herself, the dowager maintained a perfect silence, sitting motionless in her chair, staring hard at Aomame. She was in no hurry. She seemed prepared to wait as long as it took.
Without a doubt, this woman has been enveloped by a form of madness, thought Aomame. But she herself is not mad or psychologically ill. No, her mind is rock steady, unshakably cool. That fact is backed up by positive proof. Rather than madness, it’s something that resembles madness. A correct prejudice, perhaps. What she wants now is for me to share her madness or prejudice or whatever it is. With the same coolheadedness that she has. She believes that I am qualified to do that.
How long had she been thinking? She seemed to have lost her grasp of time at some point while she was deeply absorbed in her own thoughts. Only her heart continued to tick off the time in its hard, fixed rhythm. Aomame visited several little rooms she possessed inside her, tracing time backward the way a fish swims upstream. She found there familiar sights and long-forgotten smells, gentle nostalgia and severe pain. Suddenly, from some unknown source, a narrow beam of light pierced Aomame’s body. She felt as though, mysteriously, she had become transparent. When she held her hand up in the beam, she could see through it. Suddenly there was no longer any weight to her body. At this moment Aomame thought, Even if I give myself over to the madness—or prejudice—here and now, even if doing so destroys me, even if this world vanishes in its entirety, what do I have to lose?
“I see,” Aomame said to the dowager. She paused, biting her lip. And then she said, “I would like to help in any way I can.”
The dowager reached out and grasped Aomame’s hands. From that moment onward, Aomame and the dowager shared their secrets, shared their mission, and shared that something that resembled madness. It may well have been sheer madness itself, though Aomame was unable to locate the dividing line. The men that she and the dowager together dispatched to a faraway world were ones for whom there were no grounds, from any point of view, for granting them mercy.
“Not much time has gone by since you moved that man in the Shibuya hotel to another world,” the dowager said softly. The way she talked about “moving” him to another world, she could as well have been talking about a piece of furniture.
“In another four days, it will be exactly two months.”
“Still less than two months, is it?” the dowager went on. “I really shouldn’t be asking you to do another job so soon. I would prefer to put at least six months between them. If we space them too closely, it will increase your psychological burden. This is not—how should I put it?—an ordinary task. In addition to which, someone might start suspecting that the number of heart attack deaths among men connected with my safe house was a bit too high.”
Aomame smiled slightly and said, “Yes, there are so many distrustful people around.”
The dowager also smiled. She said, “As you know, I am a very, very careful person. I don’t believe in coincidence or forecasts or good luck. I search for the least drastic possibilities in dealing with these men, and only when it becomes clear that no such possibilities exist do I choose the ultimate solution. And when, as a last resort, I take such a step, I eliminate all conceivable risks. I examine all the elements with painstaking attention to detail, make unstinting preparations, and only after I am convinced that it will work do I come to you. Which is why, so far, we have not had a single problem. We haven’t, have we?”
“No, you’re absolutely right,” Aomame said, and she meant it. She would prepare her equipment, make her way to the designated place, and find the situation arranged exactly as planned. She would plunge her needle—once—into the one precise spot on the back of the man’s neck. Finally, after making sure that the man had “moved to another place,” she would leave. Up to now, everything had worked smoothly and systematically.
“About this next case, though,” the dowager continued, “sorry to say, I am probably going to have to ask you to do something far more challenging. Our timetable has not fully matured yet, and there are many uncertainties. I may not be able to give you the kind of well-prepared situation we have provided so far. In other words, things will be somewhat different this time.”
“Different how?”
“Well, the man is not someone in an ordinary position,” the dowager said. “By which I mean, first of all, that he has extremely tight security.”
“Is he a politician or something?”
The dowager shook her head. “No, he is not a politician. I’ll tell you more about that later. I’ve tried to find a solution that would save us from having to send you in, but none of them seems likely to work. No ordinary approach can meet this challenge. I am sorry, but I have not been able to come up with anything other than asking you to do it.”
“Is it an urgent matter?” Aomame asked.
“No, it is not especially urgent. Neither is there a fixed deadline by which it must be accomplished. But the longer we put it off, the more people there are who could be hurt. And the opportunity that has been given to us is limited in nature. There is no way of telling when the next one would come our way.”
It was dark out. The sunroom was enveloped in silence. Aomame wondered if the moon was up. But she could not see it from where she was sitting.
“I intend to explain the situation to you in all possible detail. Before I do that, however, I have someone I would like you to meet. Shall we go now to see her?”
“Is she living in your safe house?”
The dowager inhaled slowly and made a small sound in the back of her throat. Her eyes took on a special gleam that Aomame had not seen before.
“She was sent here six weeks ago by our consultation office. For the first four weeks, she didn’t say a word. She was in some sort of dazed state and had simply lost the ability to speak. We knew only her name and age. She had been taken into protective custody when she was found sleeping in a train station in terrible condition, and after being passed around from one office to another she ended up with us. I’ve spent hours talking to her bit by bit. It took a long time for me to convince her that this is a safe place and she doesn’t have to be afraid. Now she can talk to some extent. She speaks in a confused, fragmented way, but, putting the pieces together, I’ve been able to form a general idea of what happened to her. It’s almost too terrible to talk about, truly heartbreaking.”
“Another case of a violent husband?”
“Not at all,” the dowager said drily. “She’s only ten years old.”
The dowager and Aomame cut through the garden and, unlocking a small gate, entered the adjoining yard. The safe house was a small, wood-frame apartment building. It had been used in the old days as a residence for some of the many servants who had worked for the dowager’s family. A two-story structure, the house itself had a certain old-fashioned charm, but it was too age worn to rent out. As a temporary refuge for women who had nowhere else to go, however, it was perfectly adequate. An old oak tree spread out its branches as if to protect the building, and the front door contained a lovely panel of ornamental glass. There were ten apartments altogether, all full at times but nearly empty at other times. Usually five or six women lived there quietly. Lights shone in the windows of roughly half the rooms now. The place was oddly hushed except for the occasional sounds of small children’s voices. The building itself almost appeared to be holding its breath. It lacked the normal range of sounds associated with everyday life. Bun, the female German shepherd, was chained near the front gate. Whenever people approached, she would let out a low growl and then a few barks. The dog had been trained—how or by whom it was not clear—to bark fiercely whenever a man approached, though the person she trusted most was Tamaru.
The dog stopped barking as soon as the dowager drew near. She wagged her tail and snorted happily. The dowager bent down and patted her on the head a few times. Aomame scratched her behind the ears. The dog seemed to remember Aomame. She was a smart dog. For some reason, she liked to eat raw spinach. The dowager opened the front door with a key.
“One of the women here is looking after the girl,” the dowager said to Aomame. “I’ve asked her to live in the same apartment and try not to take her eyes off her. It’s still too soon to leave her alone.”
The women of the safe house looked after each other on a daily basis and were implicitly encouraged to tell each other stories of what they had been through, to share their pain. Those who had been there for a while would give the newcomers tips on how to live in the house, passing along necessities. The women would generally take turns doing the cooking and cleaning, but there were of course some who wanted only to keep to themselves and not talk about their experiences, and their desire for privacy and silence was respected. The majority of women, however, wanted to talk and interact with other women who had been through similar trials. Aside from prohibitions against drinking, smoking, and the presence of unauthorized individuals, the house had few restrictions.
The building had one phone and one television set, both of which were kept in the common room next to the front door. Here there was also an old living room set and a dining table. Most of the women apparently spent the better part of each day in this room. The television was rarely switched on, and even when it was, the volume was kept at a barely audible level. The women preferred to read books or newspapers, knit, or engage in hushed tête-à-têtes. Some spent the day drawing pictures. It was a strange space, its light dull and stagnant, as if in a transient place somewhere between the real world and the world after death. The light was always the same here, on sunny or cloudy days, in daytime or nighttime. Aomame always felt out of place in this room, like an insensitive intruder. It was like a club that demanded special qualifications for membership. The loneliness of these women was different in origin from the loneliness that Aomame felt.
The three women in the common room stood up when the dowager walked in. Aomame could see at a glance that they had profound respect for the dowager. The dowager urged them to be seated.
“Please don’t stop what you’re doing. We just wanted to have a little talk with Tsubasa.”
“Tsubasa is in her room,” said a woman whom Aomame judged to be probably around the same age as herself. She had long, straight hair.
“Saeko is with her. Tsubasa still can’t come down, it seems,” said a somewhat older woman.
“No, it will probably take a little more time,” the dowager said with a smile.
Each of the three women nodded silently. They knew very well what “take more time” meant.
Aomame and the dowager climbed the stairs and entered one of the apartments. The dowager told the small, rather unimposing woman inside that she needed some time with Tsubasa. Saeko, as the woman was called, gave her a wan smile and left them with ten-year-old Tsubasa, closing the door behind her as she headed downstairs. Aomame, the dowager, and Tsubasa took seats around a small table. The window was covered by a thick curtain.
“This lady is named Aomame,” the dowager said to the girl. “Don’t worry, she works with me.”
The girl glanced at Aomame and gave a barely perceptible nod.
“And this is Tsubasa,” the dowager said, completing the introductions. Then she asked the girl, “How long has it been, Tsubasa, since you came here?”
The girl shook her head—again almost imperceptibly—as if to say she didn’t know.
“Six weeks and three days,” the dowager said. “You may not be counting the days, but I am. Do you know why?”
Again the girl gave a slight shake of the head.
“Because time can be very important,” the dowager said. “Just counting it can have great significance.”
To Aomame, Tsubasa looked like any other ten-year-old girl. She was rather tall for her age, but she was thin and her chest had not begun to swell. She looked chronically malnourished. Her features were not bad, but the face gave only the blandest impression. Her eyes made Aomame think of frosted windows, so little did they reveal of what was inside. Her thin, dry lips gave an occasional nervous twitch as if they might be trying to form words, but no actual sound ever emerged from them.
From a paper bag she had brought with her, the dowager produced a box of chocolates with a Swiss mountain scene on the package. She spread its contents on the table: a dozen pretty pieces of varied shapes. She gave one to Tsubasa, one to Aomame, and put one in her own mouth. Aomame put hers in her mouth. After seeing what they had done, Tsubasa also put a piece of chocolate in her mouth. The three of them ate chocolate for a while, saying nothing.
“Do you remember things from when you were ten years old?” the dowager asked Aomame.
“Very well,” Aomame said. She had held the hand of a boy that year and vowed to love him for the rest of her life. A few months later, she had had her first period. A lot of things changed inside Aomame at that time. She left the faith and cut her ties with her parents.
“I do too,” the dowager said. “My father took us to Paris when I was ten, and we stayed there for a year. He was a foreign service officer. We lived in an old apartment house near the Luxembourg Gardens. The First World War was in its final months, and the train stations were full of wounded soldiers, some of them almost children, others old men. Paris is breathtakingly beautiful in all seasons of the year, but bloody images are all I have left from that time. There was terrible trench warfare going on at the front, and people who had lost arms and legs and eyes wandered the city streets like abandoned ghosts. All that caught my eye were the white of their bandages and the black of the armbands worn by mourning women. Horse carts hauled one new coffin after another to the cemeteries, and whenever a coffin went by, people would avert their eyes and clamp their mouths shut.”
The dowager reached across the table. After a moment of thought, the girl brought her hand out from her lap and laid it in the dowager’s hand. The dowager held it tight. Probably, when she was a girl passing horse carts stacked with coffins on the streets of Paris, her father or mother would grasp her hand like this and assure her that she had nothing to worry about, that she would be all right, that she was in a safe place and needn’t be afraid.
“Men produce several million sperm a day,” the dowager said to Aomame. “Did you know that?”
“Not the exact figure,” Aomame said.
“Well, of course, I don’t know the exact figure, either. It’s more than anyone can count. And they come out all at once. The number of eggs a woman produces, though, is limited. Do you know how many that is?”
“Not exactly, no.”
“It’s only around four hundred in the course of her lifetime,” the dowager said. “And they are not made anew each month: they are all already stored inside the woman’s body from the time she is born. After her first period, she produces one ripened egg a month. Little Tsubasa here has all her eggs stored inside her already. They should be pretty much intact—packed away in a drawer somewhere—because her periods haven’t started. It goes without saying, of course, that the role of each egg is to be fertilized by a sperm.”
Aomame nodded.
“Most of the psychological differences between men and women seem to come from differences in their reproductive systems. From a purely physiological point of view, women live to protect their limited egg supply. That’s true of you, of me, and of Tsubasa.” Here the dowager gave a wan little smile. “That should be in the past tense in my case, of course.”
Aomame did some quick mental calculations. That means I’ve already ejected some two hundred eggs. About half my supply is left inside, maybe labeled “reserved.”
“But Tsubasa’s eggs will never be fertilized,” the dowager said. “I asked a doctor I know to examine her last week. Her uterus has been destroyed.”
Aomame looked at the dowager, her face distorted. Then, tilting her head slightly, she turned toward the girl. She could hardly speak. “Destroyed?”
“Yes, destroyed,” the dowager said. “Not even surgery can restore it to its original condition.”
“But who would do such a thing?” Aomame asked.
“I’m still not sure,” said the dowager.
“The Little People,” said the girl.

__________________

  رد مع اقتباس
قديم 11-13-2011, 08:17 PM   #19

 
الصورة الرمزية أبا المضطرب

أبا المضطرب

سفير النوايا الغير حسنة

______________

أبا المضطرب غير متصل

 
الملف الشخصي
تاريخ التسجيل: May 2006
الإقامة: 远海
المشاركات: 581  [ ؟ ]

آخــر تواجـد

()

افتراضي

 


سأتوقف هنا.

الرواية مقسمة لثلاثة كتب
الكتاب الأول والثاني يتكونان من 24 فصل.
الثالث من 31. لذلك لا زال من الكتاب الأول سبعة فصول، كمجموع يظل لدينا 62 فصل.

سنرى ما يمكننا إنهاؤه خلال أسبوع.
بإنتظاري وإنتظاركم.

__________________

  رد مع اقتباس
قديم 11-13-2011, 11:57 PM   #20

 
الصورة الرمزية rain

rain

بلا ولا شي

______________

rain غير متصل

 
الملف الشخصي
تاريخ التسجيل: Nov 2007
الإقامة: كلما آخيتُ عاصمةً ..رمتني بالحقيبة
المشاركات: 1,941  [ ؟ ]

آخــر تواجـد

()

افتراضي

 


قصدك رواية 1984 لجورج اوريل؟
والاخ الاكبر Big Brother والمجموعات الثلاث اللي يتبادلوا الحروب فيها اثنين ليظل الثالث محايدا؟
اذا كانت هي فاختيار موفق يا رفيق

__________________

وتحت سماء بعيدة..
نسيتك

  رد مع اقتباس
قديم 11-14-2011, 12:08 AM   #21

 
الصورة الرمزية أبا المضطرب

أبا المضطرب

سفير النوايا الغير حسنة

______________

أبا المضطرب غير متصل

 
الملف الشخصي
تاريخ التسجيل: May 2006
الإقامة: 远海
المشاركات: 581  [ ؟ ]

آخــر تواجـد

()

افتراضي

 


اقتباس:
المشاركة الأصلية كتبت بواسطة rain مشاهدة المشاركة
قصدك رواية 1984 لجورج اوريل؟
والاخ الاكبر Big Brother والمجموعات الثلاث اللي يتبادلوا الحروب فيها اثنين ليظل الثالث محايدا؟
اذا كانت هي فاختيار موفق يا رفيق
لا يا رفيق
هذه الرواية عنوانها يشبه رواية جورج أورويل بشكل متعمد
الراوي ها هنا هاروكي موراكامي وهي رواية خديثة بدأ يصدر أجزائها الثلاث من 2009 إن لم يخب ظني.
اتمنى أن يظل اختياري موفقاً

__________________

  رد مع اقتباس
قديم 11-14-2011, 12:24 AM   #22

 
الصورة الرمزية rain

rain

بلا ولا شي

______________

rain غير متصل

 
الملف الشخصي
تاريخ التسجيل: Nov 2007
الإقامة: كلما آخيتُ عاصمةً ..رمتني بالحقيبة
المشاركات: 1,941  [ ؟ ]

آخــر تواجـد

()

افتراضي

 


اي اختيارك موفق
بس هات الوردة لاني ظنيتها رواية جورج اوريل

اثق بذوقك يا صاح

__________________

وتحت سماء بعيدة..
نسيتك

  رد مع اقتباس
قديم 11-14-2011, 12:28 AM   #23

 
الصورة الرمزية أبا المضطرب

أبا المضطرب

سفير النوايا الغير حسنة

______________

أبا المضطرب غير متصل

 
الملف الشخصي
تاريخ التسجيل: May 2006
الإقامة: 远海
المشاركات: 581  [ ؟ ]

آخــر تواجـد

()

افتراضي

 


اقتباس:
المشاركة الأصلية كتبت بواسطة rain مشاهدة المشاركة
اي اختيارك موفق
بس هات الوردة لاني ظنيتها رواية جورج اوريل

اثق بذوقك يا صاح


إثنتان؛ واحدة لأورويل والثانية للثقة

__________________

  رد مع اقتباس
قديم 11-14-2011, 08:40 AM   #24

 
الصورة الرمزية سَفَر ..!

سَفَر ..!

رَمادِيـَه

______________

سَفَر ..! غير متصل

 
الملف الشخصي
تاريخ التسجيل: Aug 2006
الإقامة:
المشاركات: 617  [ ؟ ]

آخــر تواجـد

()

افتراضي

 


الرواية التي بيع منها مليوني نسخة وخلال اسبوعين "كما قرأت عنها سابقاً"
لم أفكر بأن أقرأها بالانجليزية لكن ربما يكون الأوان قد حان للقراءة بلغة غير العربية
لكني كنت أفضل لو أنك أرفقت الملف فالقراءة من على صفحة الموضوع لن تكون مريحة أبدا "الصفحة بطيئة لكثر الكلمات"

فما رأيك بأن ترفق الملف
شكراً يا مضطرب

__________________

أغبطك نعمة الحجر، نعمة الصمت أيها المكان سوف تحيا من بعدى.


بسام حجار
  رد مع اقتباس
قديم 11-15-2011, 06:40 PM   #25

 
الصورة الرمزية كَـرَزْ

كَـرَزْ

عَ الجِسْر العَتيق

______________

كَـرَزْ غير متصل

 
الملف الشخصي
تاريخ التسجيل: Jun 2007
الإقامة: البَلدُالقَديمَة
المشاركات: 2,654  [ ؟ ]

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()

افتراضي

 


يا إلهي !
انا محرقصة منذ صدور الرواية باليابانية
وبعثت بطلب لكلمة كي يعملوا على ترجمتها بأقرب فرصة .
هالكلام من زمااااان كتير

متى تُرجمت للانجليزية ؟
لأنني كنت أبحث عنها بشكل ولا أجدها .

__________________

عالم وَرء
  رد مع اقتباس
قديم 11-16-2011, 05:30 PM   #26

 
الصورة الرمزية أبا المضطرب

أبا المضطرب

سفير النوايا الغير حسنة

______________

أبا المضطرب غير متصل

 
الملف الشخصي
تاريخ التسجيل: May 2006
الإقامة: 远海
المشاركات: 581  [ ؟ ]

آخــر تواجـد

()

افتراضي

 


اقتباس:
المشاركة الأصلية كتبت بواسطة سَفَر ..! مشاهدة المشاركة
الرواية التي بيع منها مليوني نسخة وخلال اسبوعين "كما قرأت عنها سابقاً"
لم أفكر بأن أقرأها بالانجليزية لكن ربما يكون الأوان قد حان للقراءة بلغة غير العربية
لكني كنت أفضل لو أنك أرفقت الملف فالقراءة من على صفحة الموضوع لن تكون مريحة أبدا "الصفحة بطيئة لكثر الكلمات"

فما رأيك بأن ترفق الملف
شكراً يا مضطرب
كنت سأرفقه في نهاية وضعي لجميع الفصول لكن إذا رغبت فيه

لتشغيل ملف epub
ويندوز
http://www.addictivetips.com/windows...ader-software/

للينكس
استخدم برنامج calibre ناسبني كثيراً لجميع كتبي الإلكترونية.
http://calibre-ebook.com/

للماك
أنا لا أكترث حقاً بمستخدمي ماك لذلك لا أكترث إن لم يستطيعوا فتحه


أمزح
http://www.lexcycle.com/download-macintosh
http://calibre-ebook.com/


اقتباس:
المشاركة الأصلية كتبت بواسطة كَـرَزْ مشاهدة المشاركة
يا إلهي !
انا محرقصة منذ صدور الرواية باليابانية
وبعثت بطلب لكلمة كي يعملوا على ترجمتها بأقرب فرصة .
هالكلام من زمااااان كتير

متى تُرجمت للانجليزية ؟
لأنني كنت أبحث عنها بشكل ولا أجدها .

للتو فقط صدرت اللترجمة الإنقليزية؛ لا أعتقد إنه مر شهر أو أكثر بقليل

الصور المرفقة
نوع الملف: jpg cover.jpg‏ (54.6 كيلوبايت, المشاهدات 11)
الملفات المرفقة
نوع الملف: zip 1Q84.zip‏ (3.22 ميجابايت, المشاهدات 1)

__________________

  رد مع اقتباس
قديم 11-16-2011, 06:40 PM   #27

 
الصورة الرمزية سَفَر ..!

سَفَر ..!

رَمادِيـَه

______________

سَفَر ..! غير متصل

 
الملف الشخصي
تاريخ التسجيل: Aug 2006
الإقامة:
المشاركات: 617  [ ؟ ]

آخــر تواجـد

()

افتراضي

 


شكرا مضطرب
على الكتاب، البرنامج وأخيراً الفكرة

__________________

أغبطك نعمة الحجر، نعمة الصمت أيها المكان سوف تحيا من بعدى.


بسام حجار
  رد مع اقتباس
قديم 11-17-2011, 04:27 PM   #28

 
الصورة الرمزية محارب النور

محارب النور

Registered User

______________

محارب النور غير متصل

 
الملف الشخصي
تاريخ التسجيل: Jun 2010
الإقامة: الجحيم
المشاركات: 430  [ ؟ ]

آخــر تواجـد

()

افتراضي

 


الدوس هكسلي في رواية عالم شجاع جديد وجورج اوريل في رواية 1984 , فتحا الباب على مصراعية لهكذا اعمال وكذلك من ناحية السينما هناك العشرات من الاعمال السينمائية والمسرحية تدور حول فلك هاتين الروايتن . لو تعملها ملف اكوربات يا عم مضطرب نكن لك من الشاكرين المسبحين بحمدك .

محارب النور

  رد مع اقتباس
قديم 11-19-2011, 03:47 PM   #29

 
الصورة الرمزية أبا المضطرب

أبا المضطرب

سفير النوايا الغير حسنة

______________

أبا المضطرب غير متصل

 
الملف الشخصي
تاريخ التسجيل: May 2006
الإقامة: 远海
المشاركات: 581  [ ؟ ]

آخــر تواجـد

()

افتراضي

 


اقتباس:
المشاركة الأصلية كتبت بواسطة سَفَر ..! مشاهدة المشاركة
شكرا مضطرب
على الكتاب، البرنامج وأخيراً الفكرة
العفو كل العفو

اقتباس:
المشاركة الأصلية كتبت بواسطة محارب النور مشاهدة المشاركة
الدوس هكسلي في رواية عالم شجاع جديد وجورج اوريل في رواية 1984 , فتحا الباب على مصراعية لهكذا اعمال وكذلك من ناحية السينما هناك العشرات من الاعمال السينمائية والمسرحية تدور حول فلك هاتين الروايتن . لو تعملها ملف اكوربات يا عم مضطرب نكن لك من الشاكرين المسبحين بحمدك .

محارب النور
أرجو أن الملف في المرفقات يلبي طلبك؛ لكنني بالمقابل أنصح بإنزال calibre واستخدامه لفتح الكتب من نوعية epub وتصنيف كتبك الإلكترونية بشكل عام من كل الأصناف إن كانت نسخة ويندوز هي ذاتها نسخة لينيكس.

يفضل لو انك سبحت بحمد جزمة إيطالية من نوع فورزيري مثلاً ؛فكثير من موديلاتها تبدو منزهة الخطايا والعيوب
http://www.forzieri.com/

أما محدثك البسيط فهو إن خلا من شيء فهو المزايا
قراءة ممتعة
الملفات المرفقة
نوع الملف: pdf 1Q84 - Murakami, Haruki & Jay Rubin & Philip Gabriel.pdf‏ (7.99 ميجابايت, المشاهدات 1)

__________________

  رد مع اقتباس
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