I Can’t Help You

He lit his cigarette afresh and carried on, “Shogo, your life has changed a great deal since you came to Mexico. Now you are unshakably on the way to your destiny. You wake up every morning with glorious purpose and are becoming surer of yourself, day by day. You know, Shogo, I want to be like you. I want to wake up each morning with effervescency. The problem is that I hate what I am doing and don’t know what I want to do for the rest of my life. I am an eternal businessman. I want to find out what I really want to do from the bottom of my heart like you. I want to change my life. What should I do to realize my destiny?”

I looked at his eyes sympathetically and replied, “My friend, I want to help you, and I’ll do everything for you when you need some help, but not this one. I am afraid to say, I can’t help you. In fact, nobody can help you, for you must realize what you want to do for the rest of your life by yourself. This is your task. Nobody can possibly help you with it, but only you yourself can help because this already exists inside your heart. You haven’t had enough courage to look at it candidly. Gerardo, you’d better start talking to your heart in earnest.”

He stood up to approach the window and looked at the outside pensively for a while. And then he uttered, “Shogo, you sometimes really surprise me, and I really think you can do whatever you want to do. You have something, you know. I don’t know exactly what it is; I only know that you are inexorably different from others. You are not easily influenced by others. In fact, it’s impossible for others to influence you, because you don’t care what others think of you; you only care about what you think of yourself. You are untouchable, so to speak. You, selfish bastard, ha-ha-ha. It seems to me that you are in love with yourself. What I want to say is that you might seem a selfish bastard, but the truth is that you have a strong heart.”

I Like Your Idea of Total Resignation

“Yes, when I was a slave in Japan. I felt in total despair every day because I had to pretend to be someone else in order to earn money. I had to go to work to do my supposed duty, which I didn’t believe in a bit. I wanted to write a book, but I couldn’t produce anything. I wanted to escape from the futile social atmosphere, but I had no idea how. And suddenly, everything became impossible to me, and I could see only unlimited void in my future. I tried to read my favorite books to cheer myself up, but no use. Even Hermann Hesse couldn’t rescue me from the hopeless apathy. Thereupon, I surrendered to total despondency without fighting. I even went further and let myself lay on the bed for thirty-five hours.”

“What? Are you crazy?” his curiosity was piqued, and he demanded, “Did you lie down on the bed for thirty-five hours without doing anything? What did you do on the bed for such long hours? Tell me, Shogo, I beg you.”

“Nothing! Nothing at all, my friend. I was just lying down on the bed and staring at the ceiling. I was thinking how hopeless my future was and how my every fervent effort went wrong. But it did me good. After thirty-five hours of depression, I woke up again with renewed energy to start fighting for my life. During my brooding, I realized I was not ready to be defeated yet, because I’ve not done my best apparently; I had not even written a single book yet. I decided I would keep on fighting till the world recognizes that I have a literary power. My friend, why don’t you let yourself surrender and become dispirited today? It’ll alleviate your despondency somehow, believe me. But I don’t want to see you in this gloomy condition tomorrow; I expect you’ll be a different man and wake up triumphant.”

“I’ve never thought about that – it’s very interesting. I like your idea of total resignation. I’ll let myself be saturated with a gloomy view of the future today. I hope the feeling of antipathy will be gone tomorrow.”

Today I Feel Everything Is Wrong

Spring is coming with the scent of flowers, and trees are blossoming everywhere. The balmy weather makes me tranquil, and the sunshine gives me vigor. I have been writing serenely with diligence since my return to Mexico City. Now I can concentrate on writing fully and can spend all my time with writing. By virtue of Gerardo and Jorgito, who have generously provided a congruous milieu for me, I do not worry about anything; I am able to do what my heart desires every single minute. They are truly good friends. I feel so alive and live in harmony with the universe every day. I am beginning to be in love with myself and my life, day by day.

One day when I came back to the apartment in order to resume my work from my night perambulation through the park, an unanticipated scene was waiting for me. When I stepped into the room, a stark-naked Gerardo was lying on the bed and watching TV with vacant eyes. When I saw his ugly naked body, uncontrollable laughter assaulted me, and I let myself burst out laughing at him uproariously. And I said, with tears in my eyes, “Oh my God! You’re so disgusting. Cover yourself up, man!”

He seemed utterly crestfallen and seemed not to care about anything, including showing off his shrunken stallion. He glanced at me and muttered, “Have you ever really felt down in the dumps in your life?”

“Yes, I have. Anyway, please cover yourself up for God’s sake. Please, Gerardo!”

“What’s the difference if one wears fancy clothes, or if one is naked when he has no hope for his life?”

“Okay, okay, my friend. I understand your spirit is all torn up somehow, but right now, I need you to cover yourself up, so that we can discuss your gloomy prospects. Gerardo, please behave like a human being.”

“Selfish son of a bitch! You don’t let me be naked in my own apartment!” he cried out. “I’m trying to live as a primitive form of life anyway. Okay, I’ll dress, shit!” With that, he reluctantly picked up his clothes and started putting them on with ostentatious slowness, like a rebuked child.

I inquired tenderly, “What happened to you? Why are you all in all saturated with downheartedness for life, my friend?”

“I don’t know, Shogo. Today I feel everything is wrong. I don’t understand why I have to go to work every day, since I hate my job so much. And the worst part is that I don’t believe in what I am doing. I don’t know what I want to do for the rest of my life. I envy you, Shogo, for your life has meaning every single day. You absolutely know what you want to do for the rest of your life. You are lucky to be able to recognize what your heart desires. However, the majority of people, including me, don’t know what we want from our lives. We just go to work every day without thinking anything, since the world works this way.” He lit a cigarette, and his eyes were downcast. And he continued, “You know, today I tried to watch TV and tried to play X-box in order to cheer myself up, but nothing cheered me up; on the contrary, I’m getting more and more depressed. Tell me, Shogo, have you ever been in despair like this in your life?”