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TSUSHIMA Yūko



Territory of Light

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This man was my daughter's father and my husband, but he knew nothing of the life I had been leading for over a month now – an existence that was uneventful enough in its way, and yet the tranquillity of the days ahead only fed my apprehension – and I could give him no idea of that life. I felt as though I had before me an invisible, rickety, misshapen mass that not only kept its precarious balance but was actually sending out roots and even tentative new shoots that only my eyes could see. Having been presented with this unstable object, I was starting to grow too attached to it to be able to slip back into married life with Fujino as if nothing had happened. The way he spoke to me, as my husband, didn't feel right anymore. Must I go on, still, listening to that distant and increasingly incomprehensible voice until he decided to break off ties? Was I supposed never to forget Fujino, even though it was he who'd wanted the separation? Again I contemplated the shadowy figures, each of which reminded me of a person I knew. They nodded deeply, all together.

That night, too, the sound of water lapped about my ears. I slept nestled in a sense of moisture.The next morning, the repair work was over in no time. The rooftop was emptied of its transparent water before our eyes. My daughter spoke for me when she told the repairmen indignantly, 'Don't stop the water! Meanies! I hate you!'

Two days later, a Sunday, the roof was mended, a job that took all day. In the evening, on learning the work was finished, I went up for a look. We'd been warned to keep off the surface until it was completely dry, as I reminded my daughter repeatedly on the way up the stairs.

When she opened the door and saw the rooftop, ahead of me, she let out an even more piercing squeal than when she'd discovered 'the sea,' and began to make a commotion.Muttering, 'What's the matter?' I poked my head out. I couldn't believe what I saw: the whole surface was a bright, shining silver. Its dazzling sheen hurt the back of my eyes. I'd thought they were just going to fill the cracks, but they had painted every inch of the roof with waterproof paint. If it was this bright in the spring, by summer it would be unbearable. The glare would burn our eyes, here in the midst of the city, as if we were crossing a snowfield or adrift at sea.

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