“Early nineteenth century, I’m pretty sure,” she said, her gaze still fixed on the sculpture. “I wouldn’t mind having one of these myself.”
    By the time I got ready for bed I realized that I could not take the buddha home with me: he had to be left to continue his rest in this house.
    That night I woke up to a sensation that was not entirely unfamiliar: a tremor I had sometimes felt in my youth, in my home town, in school and university classrooms. Back then I was never sure if it was caused by my own heart of if the table I leaned on or the entire city was vibrating. It was a kind of silent song, not just heard but perceived by every organ in the body. I would glance around me surreptitiously, looking for a reflection of my experience in my classmates’ faces, but all I saw were absentminded eyes and tired lips. I did not have the courage to ask, and no one ever told me about having had that experience.
    But now I saw that Mikael, too, was awake. He had raised himself up on one elbow and was listening.
    When the tremor stopped, Mikael squeezed my hand, but we did not say anything. It was the earth itself that trembled and vibrated, the earth that bore and fed people and animals only to finally digest them for its own nourishment. Here the earth sang like the nightingale floor, but no samurai would be able to terminate the approaching footsteps. They would come when they would, and their ever louder rumbling would deafen our ears.
    The next morning, Hiroko and I went back to the antique shop. I assumed that I would be able to find something interesting for a homecoming present, even it probably wouldn’t be as perfect as that patina’ed bronze buddha.
    The shopkeeper greeted us like old acquaintances as soon as we entered. Hiroko exchanged a few words with him, and he smiled, nodded, and went into the back room.

Created with Stone Design's Create® at 2005-08-01 21:57:20 +0300