Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami: “Don’t you think it would be wonderful to get rid of everything and everybody and just go someplace where you don’t know a soul? Sometimes I feel like doing that. I really really want to do it sometimes.”
All of us are imperfect human beings living in an imperfect world.
Sometimes, I think I’ve got this hard kernel in my heart, and nothing much can get inside it. I doubt if I can really love anybody.
I’ve got people I want to understand and people I want to be understood by.
If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.
This is one more piece of advice I have for you: don’t get impatient. Even if things are so tangled up you can’t do anything, don’t get desperate or blow a fuse and start yanking on one particular thread before it’s ready to come undone. You have to realize it’s going to be a long process and that you’ll work on things slowly, one at a time.
I guess I’ve been waiting so long I’m looking for perfection. That makes it tough.
“So I made up my mind I was going to find someone who would love me unconditionally three hundred and sixty five days a year, I was still in elementary school at the time – fifth or sixth grade – but I made up my mind once and for all.”
“Wow,” I said. “Did the search pay off?”
“That’s the hard part,” said Midori. She watched the rising smoke for a while, thinking. “I guess I’ve been waiting so long I’m looking for perfection. That makes it tough.”
“Waiting for the perfect love?”
“No, even I know better than that. I’m looking for selfishness. Perfect selfishness. Like, say I tell you I want to eat strawberry shortcake. And you stop everything you’re doing and run out and buy it for me. And you come back out of breath and get down on your knees and hold this strawberry shortcake out to me. And I say I don’t want it anymore and throw it out the window. That’s what I’m looking for.”
“I’m not sure that has anything to do with love,” I said with some amazement.
“It does,” she said. “You just don’t know it. There are time in a girl’s life when things like that are incredibly important.”
“Things like throwing strawberry shortcake out the window?”
“Exactly. And when I do it, I want the man to apologize to me. “Now I see, Midori. What a fool I have been! I should have known that you would lose your desire for strawberry shortcake. I have all the intelligence and sensitivity of a piece of donkey shit. To make it up to you, I’ll go out and buy you something else. What would you like? Chocolate Mousse? Cheesecake?”
“So then what?”
“So then I’d give him all the love he deserves for what he’s done.”
“Sounds crazy to me.”
“Well, to me, that’s what love is…”
No, even I know better than that. I’m looking for selfishness. Perfect selfishness.
To tell you the truth, though, I loved his weak side, too. I loved it as much as I loved his good side. There was absolutely nothing mean or sneaky about him. He was weak: that’s all.
I’m just kinda tired. Like a monkey in the rain.
I would stare at the grains of light suspended in that silent space, struggling to see into my own heart. What did I want? And what did others want from me? But I could never find the answers. Sometimes I would reach out and try to grasp the grains of light, but my fingers touched nothing.
It’s because of you when I’m in bed in the morning that I can wind my spring and tell myself I have to live another good day.
Everybody thinks I’m this delicate little girl. But you can’t tell a book by it’s cover. To which she added a momentary smile.
And now I’m really, really, really tired and I want to fall asleep listening to someone tell me how much they like me and how pretty I am and stuff. That’s all I want. And when I wake up, I’ll be full of energy and I’ll never make these kinds of selfish demands again. I swear. I’ll be a good girl.
Relax your body, and the rest of you will lighten up.
I don’t mind ironing at all. There’s a special satisfaction in making wrinkled things smooth.
I was impressed by the variety of dreams and goals that life could offer.
How wonderful it is to be able to write someone a letter! To feel like conveying your thoughts to a person, to sit at your desk and pick up a pen, to put your thoughts into words like this is truly marvelous.
When I was with him, I felt as if my life had finally come back to me.
I have a million things to talk to you about. All I want in this world is you. I want to see you and talk. I want the two of us to begin everything from the beginning.
My words did not seem to reach her. Or, if they did, she was unable to grasp their meaning.
“Letters are just pieces of paper,” I said. “Burn them, and what stays in your heart will stay; keep them, and what vanishes will vanish.”
So what’s wrong if there happens to be one guy in the world who enjoys trying to understand you?
Don’t you think it would be wonderful to get rid of everything and everybody and just go someplace where you don’t know a soul? Sometimes I feel like doing that. I really really want to do it sometimes.
She’s letting out her feelings. The scary thing is not being able to do that. When your feelings build up and harden and die inside, then you’re in big trouble.
I wonder what ants do on rainy days?
I was always hungry for love. Just once, I wanted to know what it was like to get my fill of it — to be fed so much love I couldn’t take any more. Just once.
Something inside me had dropped away, and nothing came in to fill the cavern.
Things like that happen all the time in this great big world of ours. It is like taking a boat out on a beautiful lake on a beautiful day and thinking both the sky and the lake are beautiful. Things will go where they are supposed to go if you just let them take their natural course. Despite your best efforts, people are going to be hurt when it is time for them to be hurt. Life is like that.
No truth can cure the sorrow we feel from losing a loved one. No truth, no sincerity, no strength, no kindness can cure that sorrow. All we can do is see it through to the end and learn something from it, but what we learn will be no help in facing the next sorrow that comes to us without warning.
I can never say what I want to say, it’s been like this for a while now. I try to say something but all I get are wrong words – the wrong words or the exact opposite words from what I mean. I try to correct myself, and that only makes it worse. I lose track of what I was trying to say to begin with. It’s like I’m split in two and playing tag with myself. One half is chasing this big, fat post. The other me has the right words, but this can’t catch her.
I’m not totally mad at you. I’m just sad. You’re all locked up in that little world of yours, and when I try knocking on the door, you just sort of look up for a second and go right back inside.
I’m confused. Really confused. And it’s a lot deeper than you think. Deeper… darker… colder. But tell me something. How could you have slept with me that time? How could you have done such a thing? Why didn’t you just leave me alone?
When you fall in love, the natural thing to do is give yourself to it. That’s what I think. It’s just a form of sincerity.
I don’t care what you do to me, but I don’t want you to hurt me. I’ve had enough hurt already in my life. More than enough. Now I want to be happy.
As long as I kept my body moving I could forget about the emptiness inside.
People leave strange little memories of themselves behind when they die.
That’s the kind of death that frightens me. The shadow of death slowly, slowly eats away at the region of life, and before you know it everything’s dark and you can’t see, and the people around you think of you as more dead than alive.
Which is why I am writing this book. To think. To understand. It just happens to be the way I’m made. I have to write things down to feel I fully comprehend them.
“WILL YOU WAIT FOR ME FOREVER?”
“Tell me something, Toru,” She said. “Do you love me?”
“You know I do.”
“Will you do me two favors?”
“You can have up to three wishes, Madame.”
Naoko smiled and shook her head.” No, two will do. One is for you to realize how grateful I am that you came to see me here. I hope you’ll understand how happy you’ve made me. I know it’s going to save me if anything will. I may not show it, but it’s true.”
“I’ll come to see you again.” I said. “And what is the other wish?”
“I want you always remember me. Will you remember that I existed, and that I stood next to you here like this?”
“Always,” I said. “I’ll always remember.”
Somewhere inside me, there was still preserved a broad, open space, untouched, for Naoko and no one else.
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