Book//mark – Breasts and Eggs (Natsu Monogatari) Summer Stories | Mieko Kawakami, 2019

Breasts and Eggs Natsu Monogatari Summer Stories Mieko Kawakami 2019

Mieko Kawakami, Breasts and Eggs (Natsu Monogatari) Summer Stories, 2019

“Behind my eyelids, I saw dancing patterns mix and break apart.”

“Well, we use words to communicate, right? Still, most of our words don’t actually get across. You know what I mean? Well, our words might, but not what we’re actually trying to say. That’s what we’re always dealing with. We live in this place, in this world, where we can share our words but not our thoughts.”

“My prejudice had biased my imagination.”

“I unlocked the door and entered the familiar assortment of shadows. It was uncomfortably cool, almost like winter. The carpeting felt damp. It actually smelled like winter. Which was funny, since I hadn’t noticed it outside. Does that mean the smell was inside my apartment? When the temperature and intensity of the sunlight and the quality of night all met certain criteria, did that smell issue from the books and clothes and curtains and the other nooks and crannies all at once? Remembering something.”

“I felt something like a cross between heartache and reassurance.”

“Beauty meant that you were good. And being good meant being happy. Happiness can be defined all kinds of ways, but human beings, consciously or unconsciously, are always pulling for their own version of happiness.”

“Happiness is the base unit of consciousness, our single greatest motivator.”

“Dusk was taking over. Like a cascade of lace—thousands of thin, soft layers fluttering above countless winking lights far and near. These dots of feeble light reminded me of the port town we lived in for a few years after I was born. Sailboats coming into port from the dark sea on summer evenings. People floating in the waves, little kids losing their minds when they see the white skin of a foreigner for the first time.”

“How many summers had I been alive? The obvious answer was as many summers as my age; but I felt the presence of another number, a different, more real number somewhere out there in the world.”

“I could see him, on a dark night, no sound but the waves, holding a book close to his face so he could underline a sentence he never wanted to forget.”

“I had the lonely feeling that I was the only one around who didn’t know the rules.”

“Light spilled off every surface. The light of day. I meditated on this phrase and stared into the radiance.”

“We were constantly on red alert because my dad would beat the shit out of us or break things for no reason. Of course, outside the home, he was a pillar of the community. He ran the neighborhood council, and all that. My mom was my mom, always laughing it off, running the bath for him, cleaning up after him, feeding him. She looked after both of his parents all the way to the end, too. There was no inheritance, either. Yeah, my mom was free labor – free labor with a pussy.”

“She grew more nervous every minute, filling like a cup set on the floor to catch a leak. Quiet as she was, I could feel her tensing up.”

“There’s nothing I can do about this feeling. I can’t make it go away.”

“I could see people all around me, but I almost felt like nobody could see me. I heard a train go by, rumbling down the tracks, drawing a thick line between the world and my experience. I was getting cold again.”

“People end up doing things they don’t want to do, but sometimes they can’t do anything to stop it. And all those things add up.”

“The sleep was like as it had been cut out from a slab of clay, round and clean.”

“Sometimes I felt like I had left myself behind.”

“On our right we passed a ferris wheel, behind which the thinning blue sky had taken on a yellow tinge. From where we were, it almost looked as if the giant wheel was perfectly still, but I knew that it was moving. I felt a pressure in my chest, watching it move that slowly, as if it hoped to leave no trace, not in the sky or in time or in the memories of the people watching it.”

“Aizawa was alive, or at least I thought he was, but if we never saw each other again, if I had seen him for the last time ever, in what sense was he alive?”

Mieko Kawakami, Breasts and Eggs (Natsu Monogatari) Summer Stories, 2019

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