i was born in indonesia.
in 1989, my parents brought me to canada.
soyez amoureuses, vous serez heureuse.
d'où venons-nous? qui sommes-nous? où allons-nous?
I stopped and turned to look behind me. The slope twisted palely down toward the town like the tracks of some gigantic insect. I looked up at the sky then, under the moonlight, and glanced at my palm. With a rush of understanding I knew this wasn’t my hand anymore. I can’t explain it. But at a glance I knew. My hand was no longer my hand, my legs no longer my legs.
Bathed in the pallid moonlight, my body, like some plaster puppet, had lost all living warmth. As if a voodoo magician had put a spell on me, blowing my transient life into this lump of clay. The spark of life had vanished. My real life had fallen asleep somewhere, and a faceless someone was stuffing it in a suitcase, about to leave.
An awful chill swept through me and I felt choked. Someone had rearranged my cells, untied the threads that held my mind together. I couldn’t think straight. All I was able to do was retreat as fast as I could to my usual place of refuge. I took a huge breath, sinking in the sea of consciousness to the very bottom. Pushing aside the heavy water I plunged down quickly and grabbed a huge rock there with both arms. The water crushed my eardrums. I squeezed my eyes tightly closed, held my breath, resisting. Once I made up my mind, it wasn’t that difficult. I grew used to it all – the water pressure, the lack of air, the freezing darkness, the signals the chaos emitted. It was something I’d mastered again and again as a child.
Time reversed itself, looped back, collapsed, reordered itself. The worlds stretched out endlessly – and yet was defined and limited. Sharp images – just the images alone—passed down dark corridors, like jellyfish, like souls adrift. But I steeled myself not to look at them. If I acknowledged them, even a little they would envelop themselves in meaning. Meaning was fixed to the temporal, and the temporal was trying to force me to rise to the surface. I shut my mind tight to it all, waiting for the procession to pass.
How long I remained that way, I don’t know. When I bobbed to the surface, opened my eyes, and took a silent breath, the music had already stopped. The enigmatic performance was finished. I listened carefully. I couldn’t hear a thing. Absolutely nothing. No music, no people’s voices, no rustle of the wind.
-excerpt, Sputnik Sweetheart, Haruki Murakami