17 May, Yō Ashizawa

文字数 3,941文字

Teamwork


On the tenth day, the sky was finally nearing completion.
  The only pieces remaining were a bunch of gray ones, of which you couldn’t tell top from bottom, right from left. Of all the places—these were the words that had floated into my head at least thirty times in the last ten days.
  My wife had begun working on a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle of the Uyuni Salt Flats on the dining-room table just as the Golden Week holidays ended with little notice. Why

here

of all places, and why

this

picture—were the thoughts that came to mind, as I eyed the scene of the deep-blue sky reflecting off the water’s surface, but I didn’t dare speak them.
  Instead, I sat down across from my wife and began sorting out the edge pieces. The sounds of the pieces being shuffled and the occasional knock of a wobbly table leg echoed through the house.

Sha-sha-sha,

ga-thunk.

Sha-sha-sha,

ga-thunk.


  “This is the first task as a married couple,” I remembered being told upon the cutting of the wedding cake, and laughed quietly to myself. This was hardly the first, as we were in our thirteenth year of marriage.
  It seemed like ages since we’d worked on something together like this. When we were first married, we used to assemble furniture and cook together often, but due to our disparate work schedules in recent years, we had started taking our meals separately whenever it suited us and only made small talk when we saw each other.
  Since we’ve been made to spend 24 hours a day in the same house, frankly, it’s been difficult. For about the first week, we talked as we ate our meals together, but soon realized that we didn’t have all that much to say to each other. In fact, the more we talked, the more our views diverged, and the mood grew awkward between us.
  We went back to keeping our distance as before, and around the time we began to stagger our meal times, the jigsaw puzzle that my wife had ordered arrived. Over the course of ten days, with nary a conversation, we naturally fell into our respective roles, and went about assembling the puzzle, and today, it was nearly complete.
  My wife was the one to pick up the last puzzle piece.
  She held the piece over the intended space and let it hover there. I knew what she was feeling. It felt a bit sad that this would be the end of it.
  She extended her arm and fit the piece into place. We both looked down at the Uyuni Salt Flats, whose features seemed somehow more defined now that the last piece was in.
  “Wouldn’t it be nice to go there?”
  “You can forget about travelling for a while.”
  I answered reflexively and instantly regretted it. But it was too late.
  My wife began to take the puzzle apart, saying nothing. After several seconds of indecision, I joined her, snatching the puzzle pieces by the handful and dropping them back into the box. I reached across the far end of the table, and—

ga-thunk!

The table listed to the side.
  “By the way,” I blurted out.
  “This table—” Our voices chimed together, and I looked at my wife.
  After a pause, it was the sound of our laughter that chimed together once more.


Translated by Takami Nieda/Arranged by TranNet KK

Yō Ashizawa

Born in Tokyo, 1984. Graduated from Chiba University’s Faculty of Letters. Made his debut in 2012 with

Tsumi

no

yohaku

(Margin of sin), for which he won the 3rd Yasei Jidai Frontier Literature Award. His other works include

Waruimono

ga,

kimasen

yō

ni

(May no harm befall me),

Imadake

no

ano

ko

(That girl, just this once),

Itsuka

no

hitojichi

(A past hostage),

Yurusareyō

towa

omoimasen

(I can’t even think of being forgiven),

Baku

no

mimitabu

(The baku ’s earlobe),

Bakku

sutēji

(Backstage),

Hi

no

nai

tokoro

ni

kemuri

wa

(Smoke where there is no fire ),

Kain

wa

iwanakatta

(Cain did not say), among others.

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文字サイズ
  • 特大
背景色
  • 生成り
  • 水色
フォント
  • 明朝
  • ゴシック
組み方向
  • 横組み
  • 縦組み