Sakawa MONOGATARI
 

IV  PERSONA

 

"Ach Mensch, gib acht." [Mahler]


Without conversation I could feel his warmth; he was such a quiet man. He admired northern Europe, France. Had a book about Europe. He glued pictures, which he cut from magazines. Also he possessed a magazine for camera-dabblers: he developed himself. Regularly he slightly touched my mother's breasts. This fascinated me. My father was full of love for his wife.

At the time that Fumika and I only knew each other a short time, she sent me a tiny photograph: father Kuninori with his then yet young daughter. A photo less than nothing. I was caught by it and I still am. Cannot be explained. I don't get it either. I even did not know him. The atmosphere, their feelings sparked straight through all vagueness. All of a sudden I loved this ugliest of all photo's. I was ignorant about history and details. At once I loved this man, dearly wishing to meet him.
It was only after many years, that I was informed about pieces and parts from his life.

Was sent into war, bloody far away deep into Russia. Lately we discovered small photo's, those square, small one's, milled edged. They showed young, Russian [?] females, laughing. Some English [....] words written on the backside. Always kept.
Riddles.
Never told about. Women look relaxed. My father liked photographing ; mmmmm: Fumika, I can see that myself. My father liked foreign countries. About the war he was silent as a grave.
Waterproof.

In his marriage my father was totally devoted. He was extremely busy with his work and all kinds of secondary functions; dutiful and responsible.
He made long days and socially he was an important, though modest man.
Much later I heard from my mother, which poem was his 'darling'. It was translated from the German language by all means: Über die Bergen [Carl Busse 1872 — 1918]

"Über die Bergen, weit zu wandern
Sagen die Leute, wohnt das Glück.

Ach, und ich ging im Scharme der Andern,
kam mit verweinten Augen zurück.
 Über die Bergen, weit, weit drüben
Sagen die Leute, wohnt das Glück."

One time I saw a small parcel on the table. I was about 8 years old. It pulled me like a magnet. I asked my mother: what is that? She answered: I don't know, you have to ask your father. He came back late however.
I asked him why this parcel was on the table.
He said, it's for you. For me? Yes, for you.
I could not touch it all day long, because it could have been another person's.
In that magnetic parcel was my biggest desire: a small purse, designed as a dogs' head.
I was so happy!


Fishing was his rare enjoyment; fishing in the river. Ok, admitted, some sake he would not let untouched. That goes without saying.

On a Sunday Fumiaki-san went fishing in the Niyodo kawa.
That morning at around 11.00 o'clock a pan dropped on the floor at home without any cause.
My mother, Setsuko-san, kept her back straight. That night he did not return. The police became involved. That night I had a nightmare: father is taken by the river. Next morning I had to go to school as usual. I was 14.

Around eleven thirty, on Monday morning, I sit in front of the classroom.
A vase is standing on the middle of a table.
Without aparent reason it falls on the ground.
Everybody is perplexed.
School-lunch is from 12.00 — 13.10 hours. The lessons continue until 15.00 o'clock. I also had to go for my piano-lesson.
I feel most worried and leave for home.

Returning, my family says: your father is dead. I cannot believe, that there is no body.
His pillow was put at the north side.
My father has been found that Monday-morning, pretty much more down-stream at around eleven thirty.
My mother knew this and did not want to tell me. I could not find her. May be it was September 16th 1969.

Around three o'clock in the afternoon, my father's dead body was brought home in his own car. My mother shouted and cried incessant, three or four days, around the clock.

I tried to keep myself under control in order not to make it even more difficult for my mother.

My grandfather was a very strong man.
He hid himself, but I could hear him crying, heart-rending.

Exactly one week later my mother returned to work. Only she is responsible for me.

I could not control myself during the cremation. Later I heart from my family, that my grief was a horrible sight.

After four days I returned to school.

My father never becomes older. He died at the age of 48.

I say to Fumika, when I die, I feel the desire to put my arms around him. Tutto e'luce.
Fumika falls silent.

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