I tried to find a way to go on. I could see familiar traces of the path that was my life, but there was always the wall behind me. Do you know what I mean? First you try and climb, pretending it never happened, but it's too tall. Then you try to go around, thinking you can fix it, but it is too far. Then, in frustration, you beat on it with your hands, but it does nothing, so you tire and sit down and just stare at it. You stare because you can't bring yourself to walk away. Walking away means that you're giving up, abandoning them.
"There is no way back. There is only forward. It's impossible to imagine there's any reason to move ahead, but that isn't the real reason you give up. The real fear--the terror that keeps you rooted--is that you might be wrong."
--Myron, Monk of Maribor
Shimamoto was in charge of the records. She'd take one from its jacket, place it carefully on the turntable without touching the grooves with her fingers, and, after making sure to brush the cartridge free of any dust with a tiny brush, lower the needle ever so gently onto the record. When the record was finished, she'd spray it and wipe it with a felt cloth. Finally she'd return the record to its jacket and its proper place on the shelf. Her father had taught her this procedure, and she followed his instructions with a terribly serious look on her face, her eyes narrowed, her breath held in check. Meanwhile, I was on the sofa, watching her every move. Only when the record was safely back on the shelf did she turn to me and give a little smile. And every time, this thought hit me: It wasn't a record she was handling. It was a fragile soul inside a glass bottle.
It was the hour in which objects lose the consistency of shadow that accompanies them during the night and gradually reacquire colors, but seem to cross meanwhile an uncertain limbo, faintly touched, just breathed on by light; the hour in which one is least certain of the world's existence.
She often spoke to falling seeds and said, "Ah hope you fall on soft ground," because she had heard seeds saying that to each other as they passed. The familiar people and things had failed her so she hung over the gate and looked up the road towards way off. She knew now that marriage did not make love. Janie's first dream was dead, so she became a woman.
I heard the universe as an oratorio sung by a master choir of stars, accompanied by the orchestra of the planets and the percussion of satellites and moons. The aria they performed was a song to break the heart, full of tragic dissonance and deferred hope, and yet somewhere beneath it all was a piercing refrain of glory, glory, glory. And I sensed that not only the grand movements of the cosmos, but everything that had happened in my life, was a part of that song. Even the hurts that seemed most senseless, the mistakes I would have done anything to erase--nothing could make those things good, but good could still come out of them all the same, and in the end the oratorio would be no less beautiful for it.