It arrived sometime around 12 pm. I’d just called in my Thursday phone conference, when Diann, the pretty lady at the reception, pinged me on Communicator that Aramex was there, but she needed an extra 37 Dirhams, the transportation fee turned to be a little more expenses than my initial estimation. I told the guys in the call I had to excuse myself for a minute, muted the phone, ran hectically to the reception, so excited, so eager, full of a stir I hadn’t felt in years! I’d been waiting for this book for two years! I’d been reading other authors, other novels of his, that I’d read again, and again… Finally, It was here! I could start reading Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84!
I had to calm down. I had a conference to lead. I don’t know how I was able to pull myself together and just… be there, doing my job! The box with the books was a couple of inches away. I had to ignore it. Quite a difficult task for a Libra! A forever incurable Libra, in love with Murakami’s novels!
The conference is over, even sooner than predicted. I hung up the phone, opened up the box and took out the two books: UNDERGROUND and 1Q84.
From now on, I and 1Q84 became inseparable. I kept petting its covers, and its pages. The latter are smooth, velvet-like. On the two covers, two human faces. A lady on the first one, a young gentleman on the last one. 1 and Q cover partially their eyes, the pupils are not visible. Nor the corners of the mouths. The letter and the number are in bold. And they are white. But the book has also a wrapper. It’s a whitish-transparent thick paper. The numbers and the letter are made of the pupils and the corners of the mouths of the two faces. Once you add the wrapper, the face is complete. 1 Q 8 4 seem not to be there anymore, though that cannot be!
The rest of the day was compromised. There was nothing more than the book. I showed it to everybody, told them how much I waited for it, what an amazing novelist Murakami was… I even boasted that, if I could read 200 pages a day, I could finish it during the Eid Holiday.
Then I took it out to meet my friends, over dinner.
Then, finally, at home!
I poured myself a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, lit a cinnamon candle, turned on the stereo, a light violin concert, Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi. The reading is smooth and captivating, like any other reading from Murakami. Something on the coffee table catches my eye. It’s the 1Q84 wrapper I abandoned it there. It’s breathing! I swear! It moves slowly up and down as if… I’m rational enough to realize it’s a draft from the air conditioning. Still… This book is alive! It is! That’s why I was so excited when I got it, as if I’d seen an old friend, or an old lover. Actually, that’s how I introduced it to my friends – guys, meet my Eid holiday lover!
I had been reading so many things about this book! All I wanted was to escape into its world! Every time I was reading a book of Murakami I was there, in his world. With his characters, in their kitchens, preparing breakfast, or having a beer, or I was down, on the bottom of a well, thinking. What would I think about if I were on a bottom of a well and someone stole my ladder? I know for sure I wouldn’t want to be haunted by the same thoughts that keep me up all night. But I’d be smart enough to bring a lantern. And 1Q84. I’m just at page number 6. Long and wonderful way to page 994!