Monday, March 19, 2012
# 6 Was Born Eighty-Four Years Ago Today
'What are you doing?' Sophie's voice said behind me. 'We ought to be going in.'
I realized she was talking to me, but I had become so taken up by the discovery of the old car that I murmured something back without really thinking. Then I heard her say:
'What's got into you? You seem to have fallen in love with that thing.'
Only then did I realize I was holding the car in a virtual embrace; I had been resting my cheek on its roof while my hands made smooth circular motions over its scabbed surface. I straightened with a quick laugh, and turned to see Sophie and Boris staring at me.
'In love with this? You have to be joking.' I gave another laugh. 'It's criminal the way people leave wrecks like this lying around.'
They continued to stare at me, so I shouted: 'What a disgusting heap!' and gave the car a few good kicks. This seemed to satisfy them and they both turned away. I then saw that Sophie, despite her show of hurrying me, was still preoccupied with Boris's appearance and had now resumed combing his hair.
I turned my attention back to the car, anxiety mounting that I might have inflicted some damage with my kicks. Closer examination showed that I had done no more than dislodge a few rusted flakes, but I was already full of remorse at having shown such callousness. I made my war through the grass around to the other side of the vehicle and peered in through the rear side window. Some flying object had struck the window but the glass had stayed intact, and I stared through the spiderweb cracks into the rear seat where I had once spent so many contented hours. Much of it, I could see, was covered with fungus. Rain water had pooled in one corner where the seat cushion met the arm-rest. When I tugged at the door, it came open with little trouble, but then became stuck half-way in the thick grass. There was just enough of a gap to enable me to squeeze in, and after a small struggle I managed to clamber onto the seat.
Ishiguro, The Unconsoled.