Akira was indeed astride Etsuko’s bicycle, absorbed in attempts to execute some circus-like manoeuvre that required taking his hands from the handlebar as he turned a tight circle. He appeared too absorbed to notice me, and even when I walked up to him, gave no sign of having seen me. Finally I said simply:
‘I’m sorry I couldn’t come the other day.’
Akira gave me a sulky glance, then went back to his manoeuvres. I was about to give him my explanation for having let him down, but for some reason, found I could say nothing more. I stood there watching him for a little longer. Then taking a further step towards him, I said, lowering my voice to a whisper.
‘What happened? Did you put it back?’
My friend gave me a glare that rejected the intimacy implied by my tone, then spun his bicycle round. I felt tears coming, but remembering in time our long-standing feud about whether the English or Japanese cried easiest, I managed to stifle them. I thought again of telling him about my father’s disappearance, and suddenly it seemed a hugely substantial reason not only for my having let him down, but for great self-pity on my part. I pictured the shock and shame that would transform Akira’s face once I uttered the words: ‘I couldn’t come the other day because … because my father’s been kidnapped!’ – but somehow I could not say it. Instead, I believe I simply turned and ran back to my house.


註釈:

Akira was indeed astride Etsuko’s bicycle, absorbed in attempts to execute some circus-like manoeuvre that required taking his hands from the handlebar as he turned a tight circle.
「astride」は前置詞で「・・・にまたがって」の意。「manoeuvre」は「大演習」。

He appeared too absorbed to notice me, and even when I walked up to him, gave no sign of having seen me.
「absorbed」は「すっかり心を奪われて」。

Finally I said simply:
‘I’m sorry I couldn’t come the other day.’
Akira gave me a sulky glance, then went back to his manoeuvres.
「sulky」は「むっつりした」。「glance」は「一瞥」。

I was about to give him my explanation for having let him down, but for some reason, found I could say nothing more.
「let … down」で「・・・を裏切る」。

I stood there watching him for a little longer. Then taking a further step towards him, I said, lowering my voice to a whisper.
‘What happened? Did you put it back?’
My friend gave me a glare that rejected the intimacy implied by my tone, then spun his bicycle round.

I felt tears coming, but remembering in time our long-standing feud about whether the English or Japanese cried easiest, I managed to stifle them.
「long-standing」は「長年続いている」。「feud」は「確執」。「stifle」は「を抑える」。

I thought again of telling him about my father’s disappearance, and suddenly it seemed a hugely substantial reason not only for my having let him down, but for great self-pity on my part.
「hugely」は「大いに」。「substantial」はここでは「重要な」。「self-pity」は「自己憐憫」。

I pictured the shock and shame that would transform Akira’s face once I uttered the words:
「transform」は「を変形させる」。「utter」は「を言葉で述べる」。

‘I couldn’t come the other day because … because my father’s been kidnapped!’ – but somehow I could not say it.
「somehow」は「何故か」。

Instead, I believe I simply turned and ran back to my house.


『今日のイデイオム』

「let … down」
「・・・を裏切る」