Let’s go back. I know it’s been a minute. But I can do it better than I did when I did it.
You were loving me.
I was loving you.
You can come over and we can have Deja vu…
“South of the Border, West of the Sun” by Haruki Murakami
Do you ever have a childhood sweetheart? They are someone who shares the most unforgettable memories with you when you two were only kids and then occupy a place in your heart which is irreplaceable? Or they can be someone you meet when you was in your teen years and you give each other the most innocent yet passionate love. They can be someone you meet in your younger years when you’re still obsessed with an ideal love in which you could die for the one you give your whole heart to. A love that makes you sleepless thinking about that one person whole night long. A love that makes your heart pound of the anxiety for meeting/seeing him. A love that follows you through your entire life but sometimes it breathes so quietly that you can forget it’s still there, somewhere in your heart. Everyone has a love like that in their life, at the age of 10 or 15 or 20… A love that puts a smile on your face but sometimes grasps your heart tightly that you feel like you can’t breathe.
“South of the border, down Mexico way
That’s where I fell in love, where’s the stars above – come out to play
And now as I wander – my thoughts ever stray
South of the border, down Mexico way
She was a picture – in old Spanish lace
Just for a tender while, I kissed a smile – upon her face
‘Cause it was fiesta – and we were so gay
South of the border – down Mexico way.”
The story centers around a 37-year-old successful man who’s the owner of two jazz clubs, married with two kids and seemingly happy in a relationship with his wife, Yukiko. He recalls his growing up years. When he’s 12 years old, he fell in love with a girl in his class, Shimamoto. Shimamoto is a precocious and strong-willed girl, who was inflicted with polio so she walks by dragging her left leg, which only helps to add on to her character and which leaves a deep impression on Hajime who calls it “a terrible load of psychological baggage…that made her a tougher, more self-possessed only child than I could ever have been.” They spend a brief part of their childhood together listening to old Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby records and revel in a shared understanding of what it’s like to be the only child in their families. They hold hands once and to him the 10 second clasp was a revelation for Hajime that Shimamoto is the one.
“I was always attracted not by some quantifiable, external beauty, but by something deep down, something absolute. Just as some people have a secret love for rainstorms, earthquakes, or blackouts, I liked that certain undefinable something directed at me by members of the opposite sex. For want of a better word, call it magnetism. Like it or not, it’s a power that ensnares people and reels them in.”
It is chemistry. It is called chemistry.
I’m not always attracted not by some quantifiable, external beauty, but by something deep down, something absolute. I fell for him not because he is the most attractive guy I’ve ever met. He also isn’t the one who can say smooth honey-covered words to me. He’s the one who got hurt in the past and not so confident in himself. But something about him that makes him so special and irreplaceable to me. We’re two vulnerable lost souls crossing each other on the way of finding ourselves in the infinity of time. We’re young. We’re afraid. We don’t know how to protect ourselves and protect each other. We just let everything be. We let life beat us. We let our hearts drenched with sorrows. We want to hold on to something but there’s nothing firm enough to cling onto.
Time passes and Hajime has to leave for secondary school and move to a different school in a different part of town and the two friends drifted apart. Hajime attends school. university and many other relationships. Some girls have pleased him and one girl he has hurt badly. Through it all, his thoughts often wander back to Shimamoto – wondering what became of her and how much he wanted to see her again. Some days Hajime thought he saw Shimamoto in the street.
Soon Hajime married Yukiko and have two daughters whom he loves dearly. In spite of this, he wonders if he could see Shimamoto again.
Hajime of course met Shimamoto again and found himself propelled into the mysterious realm of her life. Overcome by pity, enchantment and desire, he decides that he must risk everything that he has for the chance to consummate his first love.
She appears out of the blue and then she disappears. Then for months Hajime did not hear from Shimamoto and then she reappears again. This is perhaps the only surreal element in the book. If you’ve ever been in love, you will find the missing of someone only makes your heart grow fonder. I always wonder if it is human nature to always crave for the unobtainable, and where the absence of the one thing you wanted most only deepen the insatiable desire to have it? This is the central theme of the book. It is about what we do when we lost and found someone we loved, or still love, in different circumstances in our lives. The cruelty of all is that time waits for no one, not even love. It’s absolutely impossible to fit the past into the present if one decides to he or she will be liable to hurt many people that he or she holds precious in the present moment.
“For a long time, she held a special place in my heart. I kept this special just for her, like a “Reserved” sign on a quiet corner table in a restaurant. Despite the fact that I was sure I’d never see her again.”
“Then she smiled as she whispered “manjanna”
Never dreaming that we were parting
Then I lied as a whispered “manjanna”
‘Cause our tomorrow never came
South of the border – I jumped back one day
There is a veil of white, by the candle light – she knelt to pray
The mission bells told me (ding-dong) – that I mustn’t stay
South of the border – Mexico way.”
I wept quietly when he left. No one knew on that day, I did cry because of him. My tears dropped down on my cheeks as I was thinking of never being able to see him again. At that moment, I understood the feeling of losing someone special in my life. I never cried for that one reason before. But I did that day because I knew that things would never be the same and that something has changed forever. I’ve never been that lonely in my whole life, trapped in the room and my head was filled with memories of days we were together. I tried to tell myself not to cry but my tears couldn’t stop falling. I was in my room, totally lonely and heartbroken. I hugged him before he left and I knew that could be the last time I have him in my arms. I couldn’t say a word. I couldn’t just whisper something simple like “Good luck!” or “Have a nice life!” I was totally numb. I watched him walk out of the door and he silently shut it.
And the sound the door made was like the sound of the end between us. Dry and sad.
What are there in south of the border? We’ll never know. I’ll never know. He’ll never know. South of the border, if I’ll ever meet him again, would we still realize each other? Would we still remember what we said to each other when we were in a much younger age? Would he still remember that one night, when he was only 21 and I was 20, we was in the room and talking about the future, about what we would become in 20 years? Would he still remember all the movies we saw together? Would he remember all the jokes we made? Would he ever know that when he was in his 20’s there was a girl love him with the most strange yet strongest affections?
South of the border.
At one point in our lives, we do all wonder about the right one we were fated to meet and love but somehow didn’t. Some of us go on living, moving forward. While a few of us live but always looking back with half a heart in the present and the other half somewhere else, always trying to recapture a past that is long gone.
“South of the border, down Mexico way…”
And there are thing I wish I’d said to you… I’ll tell you, if one day we meet again in south of the border…
When I’m half asleep, I lie there and create things in my mind. I make up stories. I imagine how the weather tomorrow will be. I do things with no purpose.
Last night, when I was half asleep, I lied next to him and looked at his face with my eyes half-closed. His beautiful face.
Then I came up with an idea for a short story. But I forgot it when I woke up this morning.
This is everything that I can remember.
“He loves her so much that he can never be able to explain the way he feels for her. Whenever someone asks him about her, he just smiles. He knows that no one could feel the way he feels about her and no heart could ever carry that amount of love he always has for her…”
“She’s watching him sleep. He looks incredibly attractive when he sleeps. He’s the first guy, and maybe the only guy she would ever want to have a child with. She knows that she’ll love that child so much as it’s the proof of love, passion and desire. And the child will look like him…
His dark long eyebrows.
His eyes twinkle like a summer night sky, lightened by million stars.
His thin lips with their fruity taste.
His shoulder with freckles and his olive skin…”
And then I felt asleep peacefully beside him…
1. “Everything you can imagine is real.” ― Pablo Picasso
2. “I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.” ― Gilda Radner
3. “The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” ― Isaac Asimov
4. “There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to…
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“We mistake sex for romance. Guys are taught that pushing a girl up against a wall is romance. Sex is easy; you can do it with anyone, yourself, with batteries. Romance is when someone you like walks into a room and they take your breath away. Romance is when two people are dancing and they fit together perfectly. Romance is when two people are walking next to each other and all of a sudden they find themselves holding hands, and they don’t know how that happened.”
– John. C. Moffi –