Saturday: reading bedside Genji again after a couple of years’ neglect, Seidensticker translation. Genji’s daughter soon to return to the side of the Crown Prince with whom she has just had a baby. During the stay at Genji’s estate she has stumbled on difficult truths about her own origins. Genji assures her of the affection she can count on from his beloved Murasaki, and gives the following advice:
“…even when a stepmother does in fact have sinister intentions a child can sometimes overcome them by the simple device of not seeing them, of behaving with quite open and unfeigned affection … There are basic and ancient hostilities, of course, that nothing can overcome, but most disagreements are the result of no great wrongdoing on either side. All that is needed for reconciliation is an acceptance of that fact. The most tiresome thing is to raise a great stir over nothing, to fume and complain when the sensible thing would have been to look the other way…”
Late afternoon while crossing to the kitchen, you stopped to follow the final frames of a movie that S was watching from the couch with Didi. A violin was screeching towards tragic crescendo. The protagonist staggered from the bed, clutching his chest. He took one-and-a-half steps then toppled with a thud to the carpeted floor — dead, alas! Didi, immune to the pathos of the moment, pointed to the screen with delight and cried out: “Dieh-daole!” He’s fallen over!
On the balcony