Excerpt from "South of The Border, West of The Sun"

When Nat King Cole began singing “Pretend,” Shimamoto, as she had done so very long before, sang along in a small voice.
     "Pretend you’re happy when you’re blue  It isn’t very hard to do."
     “Shimamoto-san,” I said, “after you left, I thought about you for a long time. Every day for six months, from morning to night I tried to stop, but I couldn’t. And I came to this conclusion. I can’t make it without you. I don’t ever want to lose you again. I don’t want to hear the words  for a while anymore. Or probably. You’ll say we can’t see each other for a while, and then you’ll disappear. And no one can say when you’ll be back. You might never be back, and I might spend the rest of my life never seeing you again. And  I couldn’t stand that Life would be meaningless.”

“You could say I’m happy. Yet I’ve known ever since I met you again that something is missing. The important question is what  is missing. Something’s lacking. In me and my life. And that part of me is always hungry, always thirsting.  Neither my wife nor my children can fill that gap. In the whole world, there’s only one person who can do that.  You. Only now, when that thirst is satisfied, do I realize how empty I was. And how I’ve been hungering, thirsting, for so many years. I can’t go back to that kind of world.”

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