In his or her own way, everyone I saw before me looked happy. Whether they were really happy or just looked it, I couldn't tell. But they did look happy on this pleasant early afternoon in late September, and because of that I felt a kind of loneliness new to me, as if I were the only one here who was not truly part of the scene.
But even so, every now and then I would feel a violent stab of loneliness. The very water I drink, the very air I breathe, would feel like long, sharp needles. The pages of a book in my hands would take on the threatening metallic gleam of razor blades. I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o'clock in the morning.
The two of them on top of the freezing slide, wordlessly holding hands. Once again they were a ten-year-old boy and girl. A lonely boy, and a lonely girl. A classroom, just after school let out, at the beginning of winter. They had neither the power nor the knowledge to know what they should offer to each other, what they should be seeking. They had never, ever, been truly loved, or truly loved someone else. They had never held anyone, never been held. They had not idea, either, where this action would take them. What they entered then was a doorless room. They couldn't get out, nor could anyone else come in. The two of them didn't know it at the time, but this was the only truly complete place in the entire world. Totally isolated, yet the one place not tainted with loneliness.
From the photo albums, every single print of her had been peeled away. Shots of the both of us together had been cut, the parts with her neatly trimmed away, leaving my image behind. Photos of me alone or of mountains and rivers and deer and cats were left intact. Three albums rendered into a revised past. It was as if I'd been alone at birth, alone all my days, and would continue alone.
Along the way I stopped into a coffee shop. All around me normal, everyday city types were going about their normal, everyday affairs. Lovers were whispering to each other, businessmen were poring over spread sheets, college kids were planning their next ski trip and discussing the new Police album. We could have been in any city in Japan. Transplant this coffee shop scene to Yokohama or Fukuoka and nothing would seem out of place. In spite of which -- or, rather, all the more because -- here I was, sitting in this coffee shop, drinking my coffee, feeling a desperate loneliness. I alone was the outsider. I had no place here. Of course, by the same token, I couldn't really say I belonged to Tokyo and its coffee shops. But I had never felt this loneliness there. I could drink my coffee, read my book, pass the time of day without any special thought, all because I was part of the regular scenery. Here I had no ties to anyone. Fact is, I'd come to reclaim myself.
I'm tired of living unable to love anyone. I don't have a single friend - not one. And, worst of all, I can't even love myself. Why is that? Why can't i love myself? It's because I can't love anyone else. A person learns how to love himself through the simple acts of loving and being loved by someone else. Do you understand what i am saying? A person who is incapable of loving another cannot properly love himself.