About Love and Living

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The girl nods. She thinks she knows what he means.

The boy continues. “I think that’s one of the most painful experiences a person can have in life. I feel so sad and it hurts so much that I wish I could just go ahead and die, seriously. Actually I take that back, it’s not that I wish I could die: I can tell that if things go on in this way, the air in the box is going to get so thin that I really will die. It’s not just a metaphor. It’s reality. That’s what it means to wake up all alone in the dead of night. You still following me?”

The girl nods again, saying nothing. The boy lets a moment go by.

“And then, way off in the distance, I hear a train whistle. It’s really incredibly far off, this whistle. I don’t even know where the train tracks could be. That’s how far away the sound is. And it’s so faint that it’s right on the edge of being inaudible. Only I’m certain it’s a train whistle. There’s no doubt about that. So I lie perfectly still, in the darkness, listening as hard as I can. And then I hear it moving. And my heart stops hurting. The hands on the clock start moving again. The iron box begins to rise up, nice and slow, towards the surface of the sea. And it’s all thanks to that little whistle, you see. A whistle so faint I could barely hear it. And the point is, I love you as deeply as that whistle.” ~ Haruki Murakami, Concerning the Sound of a Train Whistle in The Night

It’s better that we feel something for each other rather than behave like corpses toward one another, the more so because as long as one has no real right to be called a corpse by being legally dead, it smacks of hypocrisy or at least childishness to pose as such… The hours we spent together in this way have at least assured us that we’re both still in the land of the living. When I saw you again and took a walk with you, I had the same feeling I used to have more than I do now, as though life were something good and precious that one should cherish, and I felt more cheerful and alive than I had been for a long time, cause in spite of myself life has gradually become or has seemed much less precious to me, much more unimportant and indifferent. When one lives with others and is bound by a feeling of affection one is aware that one has a reason for being, that one might not be entirely worthless and superfluous but perhaps good for one thing or another, considering that we need one another and are making the same journey as traveling companions. Proper self-respect, however, is also very dependent on relations with others.” ~ Vincent Van Gogh, taken from “Ever yours: The Essential Letters

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