She always wanted to believe in things.
And I saw a little girl, her eyes tightly closed, holding to her breast the old kind of world, one that she new in her heart could not remain, and she was holding it and pleasing, never to let her go.
I suppose it had something to do with it being a secret, just how much it had meant to me. Maybe all of us at Hailsham had little secrets like that--little private nooks created out of thin air where we could go off alone with our fears and longings. But the very fact that we had such needs would have felt wrong to us at the time--like somehow we were letting the side down.
Sometimes I get so immersed in my own company, if I unexpectedly run into someone I know, it's a bit of a shock and takes me a while to adjust.
And if these incidents now seem full of significance and all of a piece, it's probably because I'm looking at them in the light of what came later...
I think of my pile of old paperbacks, their pages gone wobbly, like they'd once belonged to the sea.
The problem, as I see it, is that you've been told and not told. You've been told, but none of you really understand, and I dare say, some people are quite happy to leave it that way.
And so we stood together like that, at the top of that field for what seemed like ages, not saying anything, just holding each other, while the wind kept blowing and blowing at us, tugging our clothes, and for a moment, it seemed like we were holding onto each other because that was the only way to stop us from being swept away into the night.
If you were a boy and a girl and you were in love with each other, really, properly in love, and if you could show it, then the people who run Hailsham, they sorted it out for you. They sorted it out so you could have a few years together before you began your donations.
We took away your art because we thought it would reveal your souls. Or to put it more finely, we did it to prove you had souls at all.
And what made these heart-to-hearts possible--you might even say what made the whole friendship possible during that time--was this understanding we had that anything we told each other during these moments would be treated with careful respect: that we'd honor confidences, and that no matter how much we rowed, we wouldn't use against each other anything we'd talked about during those sessions.
In fact, the harder he tried, the more laughable his efforts turned out.
What he wanted was not just to hear about Hailsham, but to remember Hailsham, just like it had been his own childhood. He knew he was close to completing and so that's what he was doing: getting me to describe things to him, so they'd really sink in, so that maybe during those sleepless nights, with the drugs and the paint and the exhaustion, the line would blur between what were my memories and what were his.
Even at the time, I realised this couldn't be right, that this interpretation didn't fit with the rest of the lyrics. But that wasn't an issue with me. The song was about what I said, and I used to listen to it again and again, on my own, whenever I got the chance.
It was like there was some parallel universe we all vanished off to where we had all this sex.
Why should they be grateful? They came here looking for something much more. What we gave them, all the years, all the fighting we did on their behalf, what do they know of that? They think it was God-given. Until they came here, they knew nothing of it. All they feel now is disappointment, because we haven't given them everything possible.
I half closed my eyes and imagined this was the spot where everything I'd ever lost since my childhood had washed up, and I was now standing here in front of it, and if I waited long enough, a tiny figure would appear on the horizon across the field and gradually get larger until I'd see it was Tommy, and he'd wave, and maybe even call.
It was like when you make a move in chess and just as you take your finger off the piece, you see the mistake you've made, and there's this panic because you don't know yet the scale of disaster you've left yourself open to.
You have to accept that sometimes that's how things happen in this world. People's opinions, their feelings, they go one way, then the other. It just so happens you grew up at a certain point in this process.
I needed to get familiar with sex, and it would be just as well to practise first with a boy I didn't care about too much. Then later on, if I was with someone special, I'd have more chance of doing everything right.
Looking back now, it's funny to think we got so worked up, because usually the Sales were a big disappointment....But the point was, I suppose, we'd all of us in the past found something at a Sale, something that had become special...and so however much we tried to pretend otherwise, we couldn't ever shake off the old feelings of hope and excitement.
You need to remember that. If you're to have decent lives, you have to know who you are and what lies ahead of you, every one of you.
I quizzed him a lot on this point and i suspect the truth was that it was like a lot of things at that age: you don't have any clear reason, you just do it. You do it because you think it might get a laugh, or because you want to see if it'll cause a stir. And when you're asked to explain afterwards, it doesn't seem to make any sense.
Maybe all of us at Hailsam had little secrets like that -- little private nooks created out of thin air where we could go off alone without fears and longing.
Your life must now run the course that's been set for it.
I realised, of course, that other people used these roads; but that night, it seemed to me these dark byways of the country existed just for the likes of us, while the big glittering motorways with their huge signs and super cafes were for everyone else.
Memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don't go along with that. The memories I value most, I don't ever see them fading.
You're always in a rush, or else you're too exhausted to have a proper conversation. Soon enough, the long hours, the traveling, the broken sleep have all crept into your being and become part of you, so everyone can see it, in your posture, your gaze, the way you move and talk.
I really appreciated having the tape-and that song-back again. Even then, it was mainly a nostalgia thing, and today, if I happen to get the tape out and look at it, it brings back memories of that afternoon in Norfolk every bit as much as it does our Hailsham days.
Poor creatures. What did we do to you? With all our schemes and plans?
More Kazuo Ishiguro Quotations (Based on Topics)
World - People - Books - Night - Writing - Memory - Time - Sense & Perception - Facts - Age - Sex - Movies - Thought & Thinking - Emotions - Opinions - Disappointment - Work & Career - Parents - Home - View All Kazuo Ishiguro Quotations
More Kazuo Ishiguro Quotations (By Book Titles)
- Never Let Me Go
- The Remains of the Day
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