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Epilogue to “A Family Supper”

July 28, 2014

A Family Supper is a short story written by Kazuo Ishiguro. The text can be found anywhere on the web.


The pain began slowly and plenty, covering all my stomach, stretching and cutting everything inside me, deep in there, where not even knives would make it through. I could not move, I could not speak. Every word I tried to cry out was like a hopeless mumbling of confusing calls for help. And the pain was there, insisting in staying, eating my senses, crushing me, weakening me, making me fail, putting me down. I was submitted to a daunting process of increasing desperation.

 My mother came near me and started singing a remote song from my childhood. She looked so young. Although she was sad, a mild smile on her pale face revealed signs of guilt and regret. Black tears were coming down from the hair. Her eyes were gone, and yet, some how she was staring at me, shakespearean-like sorry.  She was wearing a white fresh kimono.

Then the incredible pain started pulsing once again, it felt like a dozen hands grabbing and twisting my guts.

 My father was on his knees in the corner of the semi dark room, with a wooden sword half way in into his belly, bleeding profusely. He was calmed, casting a fixed gaze at me, a gaze scattering hate intertwined with remorse.

 My sister Kikuko was standing by him, helping, pushing the sword against his stomach and laughing out loud, her bleached teeth behind evil red lips, a long cigarette between her stylish fingers.

  I just could not believe death was so present, embedded in the very fabric of the family. We are used to take for granted the tiny probability of fatal incidents and go through out our miserable lives searching for the Holly Grail, the bare definition of happiness. I never complain, but I never fight my way up either. I wish I had more friends but I never try to find them either. Love has been missing from most part of my life, yet I wish I would care more about it.  But now, the trip was over, the wandering was about to reach the end. No more oxygen, no more blue sky, no more beach and sand in the heavenly California.

 The pain was intolerable, I was screaming but I could not cry. With a fading trace of hope, I was trying to reach my mother but she started to go away, approaching the well into which she eventually fell down and disappeared …

 … I woke up, it was almost nine. I felt the fresh breeze taking over my room. It smelled wet grass and the impatient singing of the locusts calmed down my mood. The bed was covered with sweat, and my stomach was still aching, perhaps from grabbing it so harsh with my hands – I don’t know.

 The morning appeared open, quite and shiny. I saw my sister through the window, standing by the well, watching the sunrise, smoking a peaceful cigarette and humming that song from our childhood.

 Then father came in and said good morning, he had got worry with my nightmares. A pleasant soft smile came out from his hardened countenance. Sunlight spread out from behind his head. 

I think I will start a new business, son. Have you heard about IBM?’

The return to USA was quite, full of insignificant events during the flights, the airports and the cabs. Any conversation was superfluous to me.  I kept silent all the way back home to California. The solemn Japan was far behind and this new life of mine carved into my bones and filled me with relief. I finally could get on with the past. 


From → Philosophy

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