Love at first sight is often cured by a second look.

Love is sweet when it’s new, but sweeter when it’s true.

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Tác giả: Haruki Murakami
Thể loại: Tiểu Thuyết
Biên tập: Truong Ngoc Tuan
Upload bìa: Minh Khoa
Language: English
Số chương: 44
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Chapter 34: A Find In The Garage; Thoughts In The Middle Of The Pasture
irds of a kind I’d never seen before clung like Christmas ornaments to the pin oaks by the front door, chirping away. The world shone moistly in the morning light.
I made toast in a primitive toaster, the type where you turn the slices of bread by hand. I coated a frying pan with butter, fried a couple eggs sunnyside-up, drank two glasses of grape juice. I was feeling lonely without her, but the fact that I could feel lonely at all was consolation. Loneliness wasn’t such a bad feeling. It was like the stillness of the pin oak after the little birds had flown off.
I washed the dishes, then rinsed the egg yolk from my mouth and brushed my teeth for a full five minutes. After lengthy deliberations, I decided to shave. There was an almost new can of shaving cream and a Gillette razor at the washbasin. Toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, lotion, even cologne. Ten hand towels, each a different color, lay neatly folded on the shelf. Not a spot on mirror or washbasin. True to methodical Rat-form.
The same was pretty much true of the lavatory and the bathroom. The grouting between the tiles had been scrubbed with brush and cleanser. It was gleaming white, a work of art. The box sachet in the lavatory gave off the fragrance of a gin-with-lime you’d get at a fancy bar.
I went into the living room to smoke my morning cigarette. I had three packs of Larks left in my backpack. When those were gone, it’d be no smoking for me. I lit up a second cigarette and thought about what it’d be like without smokes. The morning sun felt wonderful, and sitting on the sofa, which molded itself to my body, was pure luxury. Before I knew it, a whole hour had passed. The clock struck a lazy nine o’clock.
I began to understand why the Rat had put the house in such order, scrubbed between the tiles, ironed his shirts, and shaved, though surely he had no one to meet. Unless you kept moving up here, you’d lose all sense of time.
I got up from the sofa, folded my arms, and walked once around the room, but I couldn’t see anything that needed doing. The Rat had cleaned anything that was cleanable. He’d even brushed the soot from the ceiling.
I decided instead to go for a walk. It was spectacular weather. The sky was feathered with a few white brushstroke clouds, the air filled with the songs of birds.
In back of the house was a large garage. A cigarette butt lay on the ground in front of the old double doors. Seven Stars. This time, the cigarette butt turned out to be rather old. The paper had come apart, exposing the filter.
Ashtrays. I had seen only one in the house, and it had shown no trace of use. The Rat didn’t smoke! I rolled the filter around in the palm of my hand, then threw it back onto the ground.
I undid the heavy bolt and opened the garage doors to find a huge interior. The sunlight slanted in through the cracks in the siding, creating a series of parallel lines on the dark soil. There was the smell of dirt and gasoline.
An old Toyota Land Cruiser sat there. Not a speck of mud on the body or tires. The gas tank was almost full. I felt under the dash where the Rat always hid his keys. As expected, the key was there. I inserted it in the ignition and gave it a turn. Right away the engine was purring. It was the same Rat, always good at tuning his automobiles. I cut the engine, put the key back, then looked around the driver’s seat. There was nothing noteworthy—road maps, a towel, half a bar of chocolate. In the backseat, unusually dirty for the Rat, was a roll of wire and a large pair of pliers. I opened the rear door and swept the debris into my hand, holding it up to the sunlight leaking in through a knothole in the siding. Cushion stuffing. Or sheep wool. I pulled a tissue out of my pocket, wrapped up the debris, and put it in my breast pocket.
I couldn’t understand why the Rat hadn’t taken the car. The fact that the car was in the garage meant that he had walked down the mountain or that he hadn’t gone down at all. Neither made sense. Up to three days ago the cliff road would have been easy to drive. Would he abandon the house to camp out up here?
Puzzled, I shut the garage doors and walked out into the pasture. There was no reasonable explanation possible from such unreasonable circumstances.
As the sun rose higher in the sky, steam rose from the pasture. The mountains seemed to mist over, and the smell of grass was overwhelming.
I walked through the damp grass to the middle of the pasture. There lay a discarded old tire, the rubber white and cracked. I sat down on it and surveyed my surroundings. From here the house looked like a white rock jutting out from the shoreline.
In this solitary state, the memory of the ocean swim meets I used to participate in when I was a kid came to me. On distance swims between two islands, I would sometimes stop mid-course to look around. To find myself equidistant between two points gave me the funniest feeling. To think that back on dry land people were going about business as usual was pretty peculiar too. Unsettling, that society could go on perfectly well without me.
I sat there for fifteen minutes before ambling back to the house. I sat down on the living-room sofa and continued reading my Sherlock Holmes.
At two o’clock, the Sheep Man came.
A Wild Sheep Chase: A Novel A Wild Sheep Chase: A Novel - Haruki Murakami A Wild Sheep Chase: A Novel