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。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。そして彼とのことを思い出しています。

彼との思い出:
Francesca JohnsonとRobert Kincaidは出会ってから2日目の夜(火曜日)に恋に落ちました。Francescaの家族は金曜日まで戻って来ません。2人は精神的にも肉体的にも完全に結ばれます。それからは2人だけの時間を持ち続け、今後どうするかを話し合います。結論として、Robert Kincaidは去ることになります。

The Highway and the Peregrine (6)

He had made coffee and was sitting at the kitchen table, smoking, when she got there. He grinned at her. She moved across the room and buried her face in his neck, her hands in his hair, his arms around her waist. He turned her around and sat her on his lap, touching her.
Finally he stood. He had his old jeans on, with orange suspenders running over a clean khaki shirt, his Red Wing boots were laced tight, the Swiss Army knife was on his belt. His photo vest hung from the back of the chair, the cable release poking out of a pocket. The cowboy was saddled up.
“I’d better be going.”
She nodded, beginning to cry. She saw the tears in his eyes, but he kept smiling that little smile of his.
“Is it okay if I write you sometime? I want to at least send a photo or two.”
“It’s all right,” Francesca said, wiping her eyes on the towel hanging from the cupboard door. “I’ll make some excuse for getting mail from a hippie photographer, as long as it’s not too much.”
“You have my Washington address and phone, right?” She nodded. “If I’m not there, call the National Geographic offices. Here, I’ll write the number down for you.” He wrote on the pad by the phone, tore off the sheet, and handed it to her.
“Or you can always find the number in the magazine. Ask for the editorial offices. They know where I am most of the time.
“Don’t hesitate if you want to see me, or just to talk. Call me collect anywhere in the world, the charges won’t appear on your bill that way. And I’ll be around here for a
few more days. Think about what I’ve said. I can be here, settle the matter in short order, and we could drive northwest together.”


解説:

He had made coffee and was sitting at the kitchen table, smoking, when she got there. He grinned(にっこり笑う) at her. She moved across the room and buried her face in his neck, her hands in his hair, his arms around her waist. He turned her around and sat her on his lap(ひざ), touching her.
Finally he stood.

He had his old jeans on, with orange suspenders running over a clean khaki shirt, his Red Wing boots were laced(をひもで締める) tight, the Swiss Army knife was on his belt.
■Red Wing:アメリカのブーツメーカー
■Swiss Army knife:マルチナイフ

His photo vest hung from the back of the chair, the cable release poking(つき出る) out of a pocket.

The cowboy was saddled(に鞍をつける) up.
■馬に鞍をつけると出発準備完了です。その比喩。

“I’d better be going.”
■had better …:「・・・した方がよい」と習いましたが、「・・・しなければならない」のニュアンスに近い。

She nodded, beginning to cry. She saw the tears in his eyes, but he kept smiling(の笑い方をする) that little smile of his.

“Is it okay if I write you sometime? I want to at least send a photo or two.”
■Is it okay if …:・・・してもよいですか

“It’s all right,” Francesca said, wiping her eyes on the towel hanging from the cupboard(食器棚) door.

“I’ll make some excuse for getting mail from a hippie photographer, as long as it’s not too much.”
■as long as it’s not too much:余程のことがない限り

“You have my Washington address and phone, right?” She nodded. “If I’m not there, call the National Geographic offices. Here, I’ll write the number down for you.” He wrote on the pad(はぎ取り式ノート) by the phone, tore(破る) off the sheet, and handed it to her.
“Or you can always find the number in the magazine. Ask for the editorial offices. They know where I am most of the time.
“Don’t hesitate if you want to see me, or just to talk. Call me collect anywhere in the world, the charges won’t appear on your bill that way. And I’ll be around here for a
few more days. Think about what I’ve said.

I can be here, settle the matter in short order, and we could drive northwest together.”
■in short order:迅速に