⟨ Book ⟩

Intersections and Swallows

Words / Jas Tse
Photography / Kimio Ng
Translation / Iris Heung

遊子的路,是空想?是掛念。無路可退的鄉愁,是愈走愈遠的時候開始變得比何時都清晰的感官,日常怎樣停下來獨自思考都不會感受到的東西,因為把自己放進到某些場境而變得明白,譬如異地、你獨自一人。

Is the journey of a wanderer a mere fantasy? It is homesickness; a strong desire to go home without knowing a returning path. The farther one is away from home, the more vivid one’s sense becomes. The most random ideas suddenly become crystal clear when one is being situated in a particular setting, for instance, when being on your own in a foreign land.

《十字路與燕子》(十字路と燕),七個沒名字的地方與一種鄉愁,組成了這本書。在作者經過的地方,抬頭似乎總有燕子。在空中飛,是不是能縮短一些距離,也會少點掛念。

「道路盡頭是一個小鎮
旅行的終結總是這樣的一個小鎮
停在十字路口 我抬頭看
燕子也在這裡自由地劃過天空
你想在這裡度過一個下午嗎?
當我在廣場的一角坐下來思考
我聽到有封信落在某個房子門口的聲音」

Intersections and Swallows(十字路と燕) is a book about seven unnamed places and one type of homesickness. No matter where the writer of the book went, he would see swallows in the sky whenever he looked up. “If we could fly, does this shorten the distance we have from home and make us miss home less?” I wondered.

“At the end of the road stands a small town.
Every journey is bound to end at a small town like this.
Stopping at an intersection, I looked up
And saw a swallow flapping its liberal wings in the sky.
Do you want to spend an afternoon here?
I sat down at a corner of the square to think.
I heard the sound of an envelop falling outside of someone’s doors.”

讀著發現,我們就像燕子,跟著作者在高空看著眼下一整塊本來屬於臆想的陌生場所,思緒帶回或許我們也有過差不多的回憶。我曾發現那種情緒,然後戴上耳筒不停走路,卻被不安輾壓意志,幾乎像握著過往生活裡帶來的病一起。站在路口看著毛毛細雨,那些感覺沒有消失。跳上計程車,想著趕快逃出這個城市。是那時發現自以為享受一人上路其實不然,別於過去的自我認知,某種衰敗感。

有些改變真的不甜美動人,但都很好地,變成某種獨特的,你的風景。回到該有的模樣。回到該去的地方。熟悉應該是某種無法被他人理解的東西,像從街外回來,習慣鞋底擦過地毯發出的聲音那樣。

While reading his poem, I realized we are all like swallows that watch the writer from high above and follow his steps to the strange places that once belonged to the imagination. Delving into our own memory, we all have similar chapters in our lives. The last time when this thought came to me, I chose to put on my headphones and kept walking, which got me swallowed by doubts, as if I were burdened by all the sickness I had from living a life. Standing at the crossroad to observe the drizzle did not help to wash away the negative emotions. Then I hopped on a taxi, wishing to break away from the city I was in. Only until then did I realize I misled myself into believing I was enjoying my solo journey. In contrast to how I usually see myself, I began to feel a sense of failure.

Not all changes are beautiful, but all of them would someday turn into a unique scenery that is solely owned by you. Just restore it to how it was, return to where you were. Familiarity is a feeling not to be grasped by others, just like the intimate sound of your shoes rubbing against the carpet every time when you return home.