I speak in hugs & kisses because true love never misses I will lead or follow to be with you tomorrow.

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Tác giả: Haruki Murakami
Thể loại: Tiểu Thuyết
Biên tập: Truong Ngoc Tuan
Upload bìa: Minh Khoa
Language: English
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Cập nhật: 2017-04-13 11:16:02 +0700
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Chapter 3: The Slip
nce she was gone, I downed another cola, then took a hot shower and shaved. I was down to the bottom on just about everything—soap, shampoo, shaving cream.
I stepped out of the shower and dried my hair, rubbed on body lotion, cleaned my ears. Then to the kitchen to heat up the last of the coffee. Only to discover: no one sitting at the opposite side of the table. Staring at that chair where no one sat, I felt like a tiny child in a De Chirico painting, left behind all alone in a foreign country. Of course, a tiny child I was not. I decided I wouldn’t think about it and took my time with my coffee and cigarette.
For not having slept in twenty-four hours, I felt surprisingly awake. My body was hazed to the core, but my mind kept swimming swiftly around through the convoluted waterways of my consciousness, like a restless aquatic organism.
The vacant chair in front of me made me think of an American novel I’d read a while back. After the wife walks out, the husband keeps her slip draped over the chair. It made sense, now that I thought about it. True, it wouldn’t really help things, but it beat having that dying geranium staring at me. Besides, probably even the cat would feel more comfortable having her things around.
I checked the bedroom, opening all of her drawers, all empty. Only a moth-eaten scarf, three coat hangers, and a packet of mothballs. Her cosmetics, toiletries, and curlers, her toothbrush, hair dryer, assortment of pills, boots, sandals, slippers, hat boxes, accessories, handbags, shoulder bags, suitcases, purses, her ever-tidy stock of underwear, stockings, and socks, letters, everything with the least womanly scent was gone. She probably even wiped off her fingerprints. A third of the books and records was gone too—anything she’d bought herself or I’d given her.
From the photo albums, every single print of her had been peeled away. Shots of the both of us together had been cut, the parts with her neatly trimmed away, leaving my image behind. Photos of me alone or of mountains and rivers and deer and cats were left intact. Three albums rendered into a revised past. It was as if I’d been alone at birth, alone all my days, and would continue alone.
A slip! She could have at least left a slip!
It was her choice, and her choice was to leave not a single trace. I could either accept it or, as I imagined was her intention, I could talk myself into believing that she never existed all along. If she never existed, then neither did her slip.
I doused the ashtray, thought more about her slip, then gave up and hit the sack.
A month had passed since I agreed to the divorce and she moved out. A non-month. Unfocused and unfelt, a lukewarm protoplasm of a month.
Nothing changed from day to day, not one thing. I woke up at seven, made toast and coffee, headed out to work, ate dinner out, had one or two drinks, went home, read in bed for an hour, turned off the lights, and slept. Saturdays and Sundays, instead of work, I was out killing time from morning on, making the rounds of movie theaters. Then I had dinner and a couple of drinks, read, and went to sleep, alone. So it went: I passed through the month the way people X out days on a calendar, one after the one.
In one sense, her disappearance was due to circumstances beyond my control. What’s done is done, that sort of thing. How we got on the last four years was of no consequence. Any more than the photos peeled out of the albums.
Nor did it matter that she’d been sleeping with a friend of mine for a long time and one day upped and moved in with him. All this was within the realm of possibility. Such things happened often enough, so how could I think her leaving me was anything out of the ordinary? The long and the short of it was, it was up to her.
“The long and short of it is, it’s up to you,” I said.
It was a Sunday afternoon, as I dawdled with a pull-ring from a beer can, that she came out with it. Said she wanted a divorce.
“Either way is fine with you then?” she asked, releasing her words slowly.
“No, either way is not fine with me,” I said. “I’m only saying it’s up to you.”
“If you want to know the truth, I don’t want to leave you,” she said after a moment.
“All right, then don’t leave me,” I said.
“But I’m going nowhere staying with you.”
She wouldn’t say any more, but I knew what she meant. I would be thirty in a few months; she would be twenty-six. And if you considered the vastness of the rest of our lives, the foundations we’d laid barely scraped zero. All we’d done our four years together was to eat through our savings.
Mostly my fault, I guess. Probably I never should have gotten married. At least never to her.
In the beginning, she thought she was the one unfit for society and made me out to be the socially functioning one. In our respective roles, we got along relatively well. Yet no sooner had we thought we’d reached a lasting arrangement than something crumbled. The tiniest hint of something, but it was never to be recovered. We had been walking ever so peacefully down a long blind alley. That was our end.
To her, I was already lost. Even if she still loved me, it didn’t matter. We’d gotten too used to each other’s role. She understood it instinctively; I knew it from experience. There was no hope.
So it was that she and her slip vanished forever. Some things are forgotten, some things disappear, some things die. But all in all, this was hardly what you could call a tragedy.
July 24, 8:25 A.M.
I checked the numerals of the digital clock, closed my eyes, and fell asleep.
A Wild Sheep Chase: A Novel A Wild Sheep Chase: A Novel - Haruki Murakami A Wild Sheep Chase: A Novel