Piling pebbles upon the beach, the water laps against the sky, the low sound measuring time’s loss, the imponderable construction of a memory. Set one foot, then, in front of the other, and take no moment to look back, but continue – onward.
The very light is altered, or simply different. There is an air about the place, this home, that both entices and fills me with foreboding. The normalcy of little things, scanning the shelves for books, toppling things gracelessly onto the floor, and yet so much has changed – furniture moved, or simply gone. Suffice to say…
It all comes down to a matter of contrast (if one wishes to deal with certainties). This dislocation springs, no doubt, from the abrupt difference of colors, the infinite bright variety replaced by a limited palette of infinite subtlety; a harsh chalk (or pastel) quality to the lines converted to a skillful watercolor. Even so, one cannot judge, nor really make apt comparisons; the brilliance of each would be undisputed, but they are so different in kind. My poor brain has gone all addled: I look for things, for people, that simply cannot be there – yet, strangely, am not disappointed…. Is it possible for lives to run parallel, keeping even pace alongside each other and only through a trick of perspective brushing closer at some distant point? It seems to me a rather artful construct, which robs it of much of its potential value as an image.
Walked along the trail up Hunchback Mountain for half an hour or so, before turning ’round again, leisurely ducking spiders’ webs and stopping to watch the flight of birds. At last, a moment wholly familiar.
First snatch at solitude; how sweet indeed it is. I have missed (oh how very much!) the joy of waking to an empty house, all the silences responding to my footsteps, brushing away the dust of evening entirely at my leisure (which means, of course, I need not hide away in bed, avoiding the day’s probabilities).
To be more joyful, and border less on abject self-pity, I have taken to pillaging the shelves in my former room (now the library – which is apt) for books to take away; I fear my parents shall be left with hardly any modern literature at all. They merely smile at me, though, as I pilfer a volume or five, and are more worried I might abscond with Charlie Parker & Mahler’s Fourth.
I’ve had a strange thought, too; rather, a recurring memory, a repeated hit upon the wall of my conscious, a fact if you like, a coincidence: a copy of Homer’s Odyssey on my bedside table when I returned.
Memory, I realize, can be an unreliable thing; often it is heavily coloured by the circumstances in which one remembers, and no doubt this applies to certain of the recollections I have gathered here.
—Ishiguro, 2001.65, p. 156
The first day alone; on my own. Faded grandeur of a forgotten self. Searching for lost books. Remembering old friends, neglected, of course, as they too often are. Baking scones, making tea. Existence in fragments. One cannot expect more. Even so.
Just a note: I realized what it was, that most important thing that I’d forgotten. No pretences, the game is over, the summer’s done. The hope of youth’s but a fond dream, and suits lighter souls than mine. Let us pretend no more.