I’d never thought of a life as chapters in a grand novel, till one fine day when I heard the crisp turning of a page and saw the beginning of a fresh new chapter. But I couldn’t write it down. I could see there were words, hazy and illegible for now but breathing and real. There were incidents unfurling, hues changing and feelings deepening, growing and complicating and I didn’t know where it began and where it was destined to end. I still don’t.
And then I came across these words.
They explained what I couldn’t even to myself, but with every word I gathered more hope for myself and that dormant wish to be immortalized in my own words… maybe, one day.
Even so, my memory has grown increasingly dim, and I have already forgotten any number of things. Writing from memory like this, I often feel a pang of dread. What if I’ve forgotten the most important thing? What if somewhere inside me there is a dark limbo where all the truly important memories are heaped and slowly turning into mud?Be that as it may, it’s all I have to work with. Clutching these faded, fading, imperfect memories to my breast, I go on writing this book with all the desperate intensity of a starving man sucking on bones. This is the only way I know to keep my promise.Once, long ago, when I was still young, when the memories were far more vivid than they are now, I often tried to write about her. But I couldn’t produce a line. I knew that if that first line would come, the rest would pour itself onto the page, but I could never make it happen. Everything was too sharp and clear, so that I could never tell where to start – the way a map that shows too much can sometimes be useless.Now, though, I realize that all I can place in the imperfect vessel of writing are imperfect memories and imperfect thoughts. The more the memories of Naoko inside me fade, the more deeply I am able to understand Naoko. I know, too, why she asked me not to forget her. Naoko herself knew, of course. She knew that my memories of her would fade. Which is precisely why she begged me never to forget her, to remember that she had existed. The thought fills me with an almost unbearable sorrow. Because Naoko never loved me.
Excerpt from Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
Maybe one day, I will look back too, and rediscover, realize and then pen in words that I don’t know how to today.
But like he also said,
Memories are what warm you up from the inside. But they’re also what tear you apart… (But) no matter how much suffering you went through, you never wanted to let go of those memories…”
I can never let the memories be washed away. One day I will write about us.