Just Listen to My Heart

I still could not believe that the blazing sun was above me, since it was January. Japan was now freezing, with a bitter wind, perhaps? “It is a marvelous day indeed, so I don’t need to hurry to strike a conversation with this beautiful woman with a white bikini. Take time, Shogo,” I talked to myself under the breath. Ergo, I just nodded and said hello to her. As soon as I opened A Wonder Plays on Muted Strings, I completely forgot about the lovely woman with a white bikini sitting right beside me, for I was so engrossed in Hamsun’s lyrical and passionate language. The marvelous passage made me shiver to the core of my being:

 “It is wrong of a captain to ask God to forgive him – as he forgives God. He is simply dramatizing. A wanderer who does not each day find food and drink, clothes and shoes, house and home provided, according to his needs, feels just the right degree of privation when all these splendors are absent. If one thing does not work out, another will. And if that other fails to work out also, he does not go around forgiving God but takes the responsibility himself. He put his shoulder to the wheel of fortune – that is to say, he bows his back before it. It is a trifle hard on flesh and blood, it grays the hair horribly; but a wanderer thanks God for life, it was fun to live!”

This rapturous passage enlightened me and made me fall into reverie. Do I need to wait for divine inspiration from above in order to get started? Why don’t I just start writing from what my heart tells me? In all my life, I have always known what I want to say, and I have eagerly carried my own unique music inside me. The problem is that I have always tried to write everything into a single book heretofore – that is why I have not gotten started yet. I do not need to write all my thoughts into a single book; why don’t I just start writing what I feel like expressing today? Hamsun has revealed to me: “If one thing does not work out, another will.” If I write nonsense today, maybe, I can write something good tomorrow. The imperative thing is that I ought to start writing and ought to keep on writing every day faithfully. I do not need to ask God to give me inspiration; I just listen to my heart. If I listen to my heart attentively and write according to what my heart tells me, God will take care of the rest. No matter what happens, I just have to take the responsibility myself.

I could not control the excitement anymore, for I felt like starting to write a book immediately. I suddenly jumped up and thanked the ravishing lady sunbathing right beside me for enlightening me and kissed both her cheeks. She looked at me confoundedly and said involuntarily, “You’re welcome.” She was still staring at me bewilderedly, but I did not say anything. I just bowed deeply and bolted to Fifth Avenue like a firecracker.

Surrender to My Heart

Sometimes we cannot explain how a certain thing occurs in our lives. Usually, it is a most crucial thing, which you have fervently craved your entire life. You cry, scream, gibber, pray, and curse, but it never budges. Out of desperation, you swear that you will abandon your faith in Almighty God and will forever turn your back on Him while making the silliest defiant expression on your face. But it is not enough. In order to show your everlasting agony and disappointment with Him, you start pulling your hair out hysterically, dance sacrilegiously, and spit up to the heavens insolently, but it still does not budge a wee bit. It has become beyond your comprehension; you become dispirited to the point of giving it up – that moment, the thing somehow befalls upon you out of the blue.

It is easier than I thought, because I do not need to force myself; I just have to surrender to my heart. It was eleventh of January; I was ambling on the Fifth Avenue in the sun as fresh as a baby god, singing a French song, “la-la-la-la-la!” I did not understand what made me elated in this morning, but the essential thing was that I was actually high spirited. In this exuberant mood, I went to Mamita Beach to read a book and enjoy looking at the horizon with the sound of the calm sea and the mighty sun. When I came to Mamita Beach, there had been already a bunch of beautiful women getting tanned, and a blazing sunshine was bathing them. The sight of them made my eyes water, and I thanked God ardently for sustaining and for my being alive to witness this phenomenon. When I saw a vacant spot right beside a ravishing woman sunbathing in the sun, I swiftly dove onto the white sand right next to her.

Live Happily Ever After

“I’m starting to understand you better. As I told you, you are an extraordinary person, so, Shogo, please don’t change who you are, okay? Likewise, I am always on my way, according to my heart’s desire. Do you know why I want to have sex every day?”

“Pray tell me, I beg you, Henri. I’m dying to know about your point of view.”

He drained the glass of tequila and confided, “Shogo, you should know I’ve slept with many nationalities in my life because I very much love sex, which everyone knows. Moreover, I’ve slept with thirty-five women past three months. I’ve been to a bed with French, Mexican, Hungarian, Brazilian, Chinese, Canadian, American, Korean, Italian, Czech, African, Australian, Norwegian, Russian, Columbian, German, Argentinean women, and so on and so forth. I guess I’ve slept with most nationalities. There are only a few nationalities left for me to conquer, but Shogo, I’ve never slept with Japanese.”

He was lapsing into his own thought for a few second and exclaiming, “Oh! Shogo, I remember now. I slept with a Japanese girl in Hong Kong. Anyway, Shogo, if I meet a woman, I don’t care about her personality, and I’m not interested in talking either because my only goal is: have sex. For that reason, I always ask a woman directly if she wants to go to a bed with me or not; I don’t want to waste my time for chattering. You know, nowadays many married couples betray each other, and many married couples get divorced. I don’t want to get divorced when I get married; therefore, I give myself a certain time to enjoy having sex with as many women as I can before marrying. Of course, I love sex so much that is the main reason. Right now I don’t want to have any girlfriends and don’t want to have any relationships, but I want to enjoy getting laid as much as possible. I am twenty-seven years old now. I intend to marry when I become thirty years old. After I get married, I won’t have sex with any women except my future wife because I want to be loyal to my wife and vice-versa. I want to be a faithful husband and don’t want to be divorced. Once I get married, I want to live happily ever after. Shogo, you know now about my vision of life. Likewise, if I take a vacation, I don’t care about money either, but I truly care about enjoying the moment to the fullest. When I am in Paris, I’m not like this all the time; I am busy at work every day. However, once I take a vacation, I let myself lose for enjoyment.”

Here Ramon and Patricia were coming back to the apartment. Henri said, “Let’s go upstairs to join them. Maybe, order pizza, no? Oh, Shogo, I want to tell you one more thing. You should come to Paris someday. I know you’ll love it there, and it’s good for you to live in the Parisian atmosphere, which will nourish your soul. Moreover, Jean always asks me what you’re doing here or whether you’ve finished writing your book. He wants to help you to launch your career in Paris. He always says he’ll do all possible to make you recognized as a writer in France. Now I understand why people always believe in you and want to help you. Shogo, please try to write your book as soon as possible and come to Paris, okay?”

His last words are still lingering in my head: Paris. I have always thought that if anywhere in the wide world would give me an opportunity to get started as a writer, it would be France. I have always dreamt about going to Paris, waving my manuscript triumphantly. Maybe, Henri’s vision of life is extreme, but he surely knows what he wants to do in his life and what makes him happy. Every French person, who I have met in my life, knows how to enjoy the precious moments fundamentally, and it seems to me that they are happy just being alive. Enjoying whatever life offers them is in their blood, perhaps? What a delightful race French people are! It is no wonder that Miller ardently praised French culture and amorously enjoyed his period of life in Paris.

Considered You a Living Miracle

I lit a cigarette and puffed in the air.

“Thanks for giving me advice,” I replied deliberately, “however, Henri, I simply can’t have a job right now, because I’ve conceived great ideas for my book and intended to force myself to start writing it next week. Writing a book is a gigantic task for me, and I want to concentrate only on my writing while I have time to do it. I have no ambition in my life whatsoever, except being a writer. I really don’t think I can do both – taking a job and writing a book – simultaneously. If I want to be a writer, I have no choice; I must spend all my time dedicating to a single task: writing. Also, I really want to change my life for the better.”

“I always admire your resolution for being a writer. Ramon always tells me that you have a talent, and everyone knows of your ability of writing. He also tells me that it’s just a matter of time, and once you get started writing a book, you’ll knock down a number of books. He has the unshakable faith in you as a writer and firmly believes you’ll make him proud of being your best friend. Shogo, you know, you have a great strength inside you, in your heart. You have an unflinching heart that is your great strength – that is why people always believe in you. Think about it, you haven’t written any single book for nine years, but your faith in yourself as a writer has never declined; it has somehow skyrocketed, day by day. How come? Nobody can do that, Shogo.”

Here he suddenly busted out laughing, with noticeable tears streaming down his face, “I am sorry, Shogo. Don’t feel offended by my laughter, but I simply can’t help it. When I think you haven’t done any single work as a writer, but you always tell me the same thing that you don’t have any time to waste because you have to write a book. But you don’t write anything, so I always wonder what Shogo is doing in the daytime? And you always come back to the apartment as dignified as Jesus Christ, as though you had fed a multitude of beggars at Mamita Beach. Sorry, I must stop it here.”

He wiped his tears with both of his hands and composed himself. And then he resumed, “What I’m trying to say is: Most people would have already given it up if they were in your shoes, including myself, because people simply can’t believe in themselves fully like you. But you optimistically believe in yourself without any fear. Even though you haven’t produced anything for your past efforts, you conscientiously believe you would start writing and become a writer someday. I consider you a living miracle.”

I lit a cigarette afresh. “Henri, what I know is only one thing: I want to be a writer – that’s all,” I said frankly, “I still don’t know how. However, each day I’m trying to improve myself, so that when the right moment comes, I can smash under the world’s chin with all my might to make myself known. It seems to everyone that I’m frittering away my time, because I don’t take a job, but I just walk on the streets leisurely and go to cafés to read books every single day – I look like I’m doing nothing to everyone’s eyes: a lazy bastard, but not to me. To be honest with you, I’ve constantly been writing a book in my head and constantly been trying to understand myself. I admit I haven’t written any books yet, but I’ve been developed by life itself, day by day.”

My Vacation Is Over

One day before Henri went back to Paris, I had a chance to have a heart-to-heart talk with him. It was around 8:00 p.m. when I came back to the apartment. He happened to be there alone and asked me to have a drink downstairs. Ramon’s apartment has a big garden with a pool every tenant is allowed to share. We went to the table under the turf roof, bringing some drinks and snacks. I was wondering where he wanted to go tonight for celebrating on his last day of Playa Del Carmen. I asked, “Henri, what is your plan for tonight?”

“No, Shogo, no, I’m not going anywhere, but just want to rest.”

I was perplexed with his reply because I expected the usual crazy night adventure tonight as usual. And inquired, “Don’t you want to go out tonight? Why on earth do you want to stay here? What the hell is wrong with you tonight?” 

He was laughing amiably and responded calmly, “My vacation is over, Shogo. Tomorrow I’m flying back to Paris. Yesterday was my last day of enjoyment. Now my sexual pilgrimage is over.”

“By the way, what happened last night after we left? Did you fuck those Italian girls?”

“No, I didn’t. But I fucked a Mexican girl.”

“So, your last mission was accomplished.”

“Ha-ha-ha, no, Shogo, not completely. Remember, I told you I’ve never slept with a Mayan, so my last mission in Playa Del Carmen was: get laid by a Mayan. I couldn’t do it, but I fucked a Mexican girl yesterday. As a result, my last mission was half accomplished. Well, Shogo, I enjoyed this vacation enormously and have no regrets.”

He fixed tequila with ice and suggested, “Shogo, why don’t you start finding a job here? I guess it is easy for you to find a job here because here has a lot of tourists, so naturally most people speak English. You don’t need to speak Spanish if you don’t want. As you know, Ramon wants you to stay at his apartment until you complete your book, and longer is better for him, I guess, ha-ha-ha. It might be good idea for you to take a part-time job in the morning, and you’ll have all your time in afternoon to write. You know, Patricia is starting to look for a job next week, so she can help you to find a job. I just thought so.”