“Even though I’ll undeniably go blind, Oda-san, I’ll still write. If I become blind, I expect there will be another way to live. I’d ask you, too, to start a new way of living. Accept that you are a leper, and then discover a path to move forward. I’ll work hard until I can no longer write.”
With those words, the fearless Saeki he’d first met returned.
“We’ll probably be haunted by suffering until we die. But hasn’t it been said, only those with talent suffer. There are people who can’t suffer.”
Then Saeki took a deep breath, and his footsteps on the earth were firm and full of youth.
As the darkness around them slowly sank into the earth, the brilliant sun appeared above the woods, rays of light streaking the sky and flowing over the treetops, then flooding the strong tree trunks. Oda still had deep misgivings as to whether he could attain Saeki’s world, but while he looked at the streaming rays of sunlight, he determined that he would try to live.
Translated by Kathryn Tanaka*
* To read Kathryn Tanaka’s complete translation and introduction to Life’s First Night, visit The Asia-Pacific Journal at www.japanfocus.org