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186 pages, Paperback
First published March 20, 1989
The sense that the three of us were becoming friends seemed to saturate the air between us like a kind of instinct, a pleasurable premonition.
Because the ocean had always been there, in the good times as well as the bad times of my life, when it was sweltering out and the beach was filled with people, and in the dead of winter when the sky was heavy with stars, and when we were heading to the local shrine on New Year's Day...all I had to do was turn my head and it would be there, the same as always.
A surge of emotion cuts into my chest, overwhelmingly fierce. As if these people I love and this town are going to vanish from the very face of the earth, a feeling so overwhelmingly bright I can't stand to look at it straight.
“This story you’re reading contains my memories of the final visit I made to the seaside town where I passed my childhood—of my last summer at home.”
"All summer long, Tsugumi was just as lovely as she could be. Something inside her kept creating an endless number of these moments -- scenes when the whole world would have caught its breath at the sight of her, and stood staring, utterly enchanted."
“On nights like this when the air is so clear,you end up saying things you ordinarily wouldn’t. Without even noticing what you’re doing, you open up your heart and just start talking to the person next to you—you talk as if you have no audience but the glittering stars, far overhead.”
“Each one of us continues to carry the heart of each self we've ever been, at every stage along the way, and a chaos of everything good and rotten. And we have to carry this weight all alone, through each day that we live. We try to be as nice as we can to the people we love, but we alone support the weight of ourselves.”
“People who are going to get along really well know it almost as soon as they meet. You spend a little while talking and everyone starts to feel this conviction, you're all equally sure that you're at the beginning of something good. That's how it is when you meet people you're going to be with for a long time.”
“Life is a performance, I thought... the word "illusion" would have meant more or less the same thing, but to me "performance" seemed closed to the truth. Standing there in the midst of the crowd that evening, I felt this realization swirl dizzily through my body in a dazzling splendor of light, if only for an instant. Each one of us continues to carry the heart of each self we've ever been, at every stage along the way, and a chaos of everything good and rotten. And we have to carry this weight all alone, through each day that we live. We try to be as nice as we can to the people we love, but we alone support the weight of ourselves.”
“For ten years I had been protected, wrapped up in something like a blanket that had been stitched together from all kinds of different things. But people never notice that warmth until after they've emerged. You don't even notice that you've been inside until it's too late for you ever to go back-- that's how perfect the temperature of that blanket is.”
“That night, having wriggled down into my futon all alone, I found myself in the grips of a wrenching sadness. I was only a child, but I knew the feeling that came when you parted with something, and I felt that pain. I lay gazing up at the ceiling , feeling the sleek stiffness of the well-starched sheets against my skin. My distress was a seed that would grow into an understanding of what it meant to say goodbye. In contrast to the heavy ache I would come to know later on in life, this was tiny and fresh – a green bud of pain with a bright halo of light rimming its edges.”
“I got up and sprinted into the ocean, chasing my father. I'm in love with the moment when the water switches from being so cold you want to leap up into the air to something that feels just right against your skin.”
“Love is the kind of thing that’s already happening by the time you notice it, that’s how it works, and no matter how old you get, that doesn’t change. Except that you can break it up into two entirely distinct types— love where there’s an end in sight and love where there isn’t. People in love understand that better than anyone. When there’s no end in sight, it means you’re headed for something huge.”
Supongo que cuando ves, desde el mar, el muelle a lo lejos, envuelto en la neblina, acabas por entenderlo: estés donde estés, nunca dejas de estar solo ni de ser un extraño.