Love vs Sex 109

Tsukuru hesitated but then spoke. “There’s something I need to correct about what I told you the other day.”

As she walked along Sara shot him a look, her curiosity piqued. “What’s that?”

“I’ve had relationships with several women, but nothing ever really came of any of them, for various reasons. I told you it wasn’t all my fault.”

“I remember.”

“During these last ten years, I’ve gone out with three or four women. All of them were fairly long-term, serious relationships. I wasn’t just playing around. And the reason none of them worked out was because of me. Not because there was any problem with any of the women.”

“And what was the problem?”

“It was a little different depending on the person,” Tsukuru said. “But one common factor was that I wasn’t seriously attracted to any of them. I mean, I liked them, and enjoyed our time together. I have a lot of good memories. But I never felt—swept away, overpowered by desire for any of them.”

Sara was silent for a while. “So for ten years,” she finally said, “you had fairly long-term, serious relationships with women that you weren’t all that attracted to.”

“That’s about right.”

“That doesn’t strike me as very rational.”

“I’d have to agree.”

“Maybe you didn’t want to get married, or get tied down?”

Tsukuru shook his head. “No, I don’t think that was it. I’m the sort of person who craves stability.”

“But still there was something holding you back psychologically?”

“Maybe so.”

“You could only have a relationship with women you didn’t have to totally open up to.”

“I might have been afraid that if I really loved someone and needed her, one day she might suddenly disappear without a word, and I’d be left all alone.”

“So consciously or unconsciously you always kept a distance between yourself and the women you dated. Or else you chose women you could keep that distance from. So you wouldn’t get hurt. Does that sound about right?”

Tsukuru didn’t reply, his silence an affirmation. At the same time, though, he knew that wasn’t what was at the heart of the problem.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage

H. Murakami          2013

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