夫 が死んで8年。Francescaは67歳の誕生日を迎えました。昔からのド田舎の家に今も1人で住んでいます。子供たち2人は今年も母の誕生日に帰ってきませんでした。誕生日をお祝いするために来てくれた友達たちも帰って行きました。そして夕方Francescaは1人でブランデイを飲みながら、毎年の儀式になったRobert Kincaidから来た手紙を読み返したところです。そして彼を思い出しています。今回は最初の出会いの場面です。

Francesca (9)

He smiled, “I’m sorry to bother you, but I’m looking for a covered bridge out this way, and I can’t find it. I think I’m temporarily lost.” He wiped his forehead with a blue bandana and smiled again.
His eyes looked directly at her, and she felt something jump inside. The eyes, the voice, the face, the silver hair, the easy way he moved his body, old ways, disturbing ways, ways that draw you in. Ways that whisper to you in the final moment before sleep comes, when the barriers have fallen. Ways that rearrange the molecular space between male and female, regardless of species.
The generations must roll, and the ways whisper only of that single requirement, nothing more. The power is infinite, the design supremely elegant. The ways are unswerving, their goal is clear. The ways are simple, we have made them seem complicated. Francesca sensed this without knowing she was sensing it, sensed it at the level of her cells. And there began the thing that would change her forever.
A car went past on the road, trailing dust behind it, and honked. Francesca waved back at Floyd Clark’s brown arm sticking out of his Chevy and turned back to the stranger. “You’re pretty close. The bridge is only about two miles from here.” Then, after twenty years of living the close life, a life of circumscribed behavior and hidden feelings demanded by a rural culture, Francesca Johnson surprised herself by saying, “I’ll be glad to show it to you, if you want.”


解説:

He smiled, “I’m sorry to bother you, but I’m looking for a covered bridge out this way, and I can’t find it. I think I’m temporarily lost.” He wiped his forehead with a blue bandana and smiled again.
■I’m sorry to bother you, but …:「お邪魔してすみませんが・・・」(丁寧な尋ね方の定番表現)。
■out this way:outはここでは前置詞で「(道路など)を通って外に」の意。「この道を市外に向かって」のニュアンス。

His eyes looked directly at her, and she felt something jump inside. The eyes, the voice, the face, the silver hair, the easy(ゆっくりとした) way he moved his body, old ways, disturbing(心をかき乱す) ways, ways that draw you in.
■old ways:old に対応する日本語に自信がありませんが「老練な」と訳しておきます。
■draw … in:・・・を引き入れる。以下は本当に「文学的な」言い回しですが、すべて「彼女の心を引き込んだ」ということです。

Ways that whisper to you in the final moment before sleep comes, when the barriers(障害) have fallen. Ways that rearrange the molecular(分子の) space between male and female, regardless of species(種).

The generations must roll, and the ways whisper only of that single requirement, nothing more.
■文字通りの意味は「世代は転がって行かなければならず、その方法はその単一の要件だけをささやくだけで、それ以上のものはありません」。申し訳ありませんが、著者には具体的な絵が浮かんできません。

The power is infinite(無限の), the design supremely(最高に) elegant. The ways are unswerving(脇にそれない), their goal is clear. The ways are simple, we have made them seem complicated. Francesca sensed this without knowing she was sensing it, sensed it at the level of her cells. And there began the thing that would change her forever.
A car went past on the road, trailing(を引きずる) dust behind it, and honked. Francesca waved back at Floyd Clark’s brown arm sticking out of his Chevy(シボレー) and turned back to the stranger. “You’re pretty close. The bridge is only about two miles from here.”

Then, after twenty years of living the close(接近した) life, a life of circumscribed(制限された) behavior and hidden feelings demanded by a rural culture, Francesca Johnson surprised herself by saying, “I’ll be glad to show it to you, if you want.”
■the close(接近した) life:近所の人がFrancescaと見知らぬ男を見つけて車を鳴らし、窓から手を出して通り過ぎて行く間柄の(田舎の)密着した生活ということです。