“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”
― Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
I dove in and am reading through Maruki Murakami’s 1Q84 for my Difficult Reading Book Club read.
Here’s a longish short story that we traded around at our last meeting.
Sleep by Haruki Murakami
and from my old online journal:
The Daily Epiphany
Saturday, December 25, 1999
Rending of wrapping
I think I was more excited about Christmas this year than the kids were. Seeing Nick and Lee and knowing how special Christmas is to children makes me so happy. I can still remember almost every Christmas when I was a kid. My sons are so appreciative too; they are spoiled, of course, but they enjoy everything so much and never complain about what they don’t get.
Another nice thing is that the kids are older now and they stuff they get – mostly video games and computer software – doesn’t take a lot of assembly. That makes it a lot easier on Santa; no staying up all night putting together basketball goals or stuff like that.
I woke up about five and couldn’t go back to sleep. I went out in the living room and set the camcorder up on a tripod aimed at the base of the tree and the pile of boxes arranged there. I read the paper, ate some breakfast, and waited for the little ones to get up. They started to stir and I ran out to the living room and started the camcorder going but they fell back asleep.
Finally, about seven thirty (that’s fairly late for my kids) they started to sit up and rub their eyes.
I asked Nick, “Are you getting up?”
“No, I’m tired, let me go back to sleep,” he said groggily and grumpily.
“Nicholas, what day is today?” I asked.
That made him mad at first.
“How do I know what day it… wait… wait….”
Then his face lit up and he snapped fully awake as his sleepy mind realized exactly what day it was.
“Lee! Lee! let’s go, let’s go!” Nick yelled at his groggy brother.
I dashed out ahead of them so I could watch the annual shredding of paper, the squealing and laughing and oohs and aaahs and looks of joy and amazement.
I was worried that we hadn’t bought enough stuff for the kids. As they get older and their toys get more expensive the volume of crap inevitably gets smaller. I shouldn’t have worried, they were beyond thrilled.