Echoes of Love
Murakami’s novel, Norwegian Wood, is about all the different ways a relationship can be broken and beautiful.
Toru, the 19 y/o protagonist, goes on countless long walks with Naoko and over time they fall in love with each other. But Naoko is recovering from past trauma, and this keeps the two from spending time together. Toru tries to cope with this at first by sleeping with girls he barely knows, and then by abstaining from sex all together. Months later he meets another girl who he falls in love with, but he’s unable to open up to her because a part of him still lives in the past with Naoko.
I’m still recovering from breaking up with my ex. We were together for 11 months, and we split because I moved across the continent for university while she stayed behind to finish her last year of high school.
Unlike Toru and Naoko, we were able to have a wonderful relationship together. I feel like that’s supposed to make moving on easier, but it hasn’t helped - if anything it’s made things harder.
I miss showering with her, cooking with her, and doing small things to make her eyes light up.
I miss the long walks, the days laying in bed together doing nothing, and the late nights talking on Zoom - always feeling like we were on the same wavelength.
I miss the way she held me and made me feel like everything was okay.
Since we broke up, I’ve had a few opportunities to have casual sex with people, but I passed on all of them. I thought that my experience with this would be like Toru’s, that it’d feel empty. I don’t like the idea of treating people like an object, a game that I solve for sex.
I guess I’m not quite ready to move on, and I’m worried that this will be true for a long time. That like Toru I won’t be able to give myself completely to another because I’m still thinking about my first love.
“I know that’s what people say - you’ll get over it. I’d say it, too. But I know it’s not true. Oh, you’ll be happy again, never fear. But you won’t forget. Every time you fall in love it will be because something in the person reminds you of them.”