100% Perfect Lovers


Lovers

While reading yet another book by Haruki MurakamiThe Elephant Vanishes, a collection of short stories; I stumbled onto a simple yet intriguing story that goes like this:

Once upon a time, there lived a boy and a girl. The boy was eighteen and the girl sixteen. He was not unusually handsome, and she was not especially beautiful. They were just an ordinary lonely boy and an ordinary lonely girl, like all the others. But they believed with their whole hearts that somewhere in the world there lived the 100% perfect boy and a 100% perfect girl for them. Yes, they believed in a miracle. And that miracle actually happened.

One day the two came upon each other on the corner of a street.

“This is amazing,” he said. “I’ve been looking for you all my life. You may not believe this, but you’re the 100% perfect girl for me.

“And you,” she said to him, “are the 100% perfect boy for me, exactly as I’d pictured you in every detail. It’s like a dream.”

They sat on a park bench, held hands, and told each other their stories hour after hour. They were not lonely anymore. They had found and been found by their 100% perfect other. It was a miracle, a cosmic miracle.

As they sat and talked, however, a tiny, tiny sliver of doubt took root in their hearts: was it really alright for one’s dreams to come true so easily?

And so, when there came a momentary lull in their conversation, the boy said to the girl, “Let’s test ourselves – just once. If we really are each other’s 100% perfect lovers, then sometime, somewhere, we will meet again without fail. And when that happens, and we know that we are the 100% perfect ones, we’ll marry then and there. What do you think?”

“Yes,” she said, “that is exactly what we should do.”

And so they parted, she to the east, and he to the west.

The test they had agreed upon, however was utterly unnecessary. They should never have undertaken it, because they really and truly were each other’s 100% perfect lovers, and it was a miracle that they had ever met. But it was impossible for them to know this, young as they were. The cold, indifferent waves of fate proceeded to toss them unmercifully.

One winter, both the boy and the girl came down with the season’s terrible influenza, and after drifting for weeks between life and death, they lost all memory of their earlier years. When they awoke, their heads were as empty as the young D. H. Lawrence’s piggy bank.

They were two bright, determined young people, however, and through their unremitting efforts they were able to acquire once again the knowledge and feeling that qualified them to return as full-fledged members of society. Heaven be praised, they became truly upstanding citizens who knew how to transfer from one subway line to another, who were fully capable of sending a special delivery letter at the post office. Indeed, they even experienced love again, sometimes as much as 75% or even 80% love.

Time passed with shocking swiftness, and soon the boy was thirty-two, the girl thirty.

One beautiful April morning, in search of a cup of coffee to start the day, the boy was walking from west to east, while the girl, intending to send the special delivery letter, was walking from east to west, both along the same narrow street in the Harajuku neighborhood of Tokyo. They passed each other in the very center of the street. The faintest gleam of their lost memories glimmered for the briefest moment in their hearts. Each felt a rumbling in the chest. And they knew:

She is the 100% perfect girl for me.

He is the 100% perfect boy for me.

But the glow of their memories was far too weak, and their thoughts no longer had the clarity of fourteen years earlier. Without a word, they passed each other, disappearing into the crowd. Forever.

Aren’t we all the same? Don’t we all think we don’t deserve good things? We’re forever praying and hoping for a miracle to grace our lives and when it actually does, we can’t believe our luck and try to look for the loopholes. Why is it so bloody difficult for us to accept that we can be happy, that we can actually get what we want, that we can have our cake and eat it too?

This story isn’t just a tell-tale sign of our love lives. It holds equally true for other spheres of our lives.

We reject many things thinking them results of our rose tinted glasses of youth and the naivete that comes along with it; all the while forgetting, we might not get lucky with a second chance.

Maybe we ought to believe in ourselves, have faith in the cosmic power and keep our arms open and embrace the good things that happen to us, no questions asked. THAT, I guess, what happiness is all about.

Don’t you agree?

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10 thoughts on “100% Perfect Lovers

  1. I like this because I often pray for a partner and I end up meeting and dating someone only to find that doubt… Well, this is not exactly true. What I find is that I meet someone who is not perfect by my standards, but who is perfect in the sense that she is good for me, and I let her go, make it so she must find another and then I realize that she was perfect for me. And yes, each time, I grow less and less able to attract a lover, a partner, and eventually I will assure my individuality and be alone. And still, I remain hopeful even as the odds mount up against me and the days pass without event.

    1. Don’t we all always grapple with this conundrum? We’re forever looking for something better even though what we have might be perfect for our imperfections even though not perfect in the perfect sense of the word. Too much perfect there isn’t it? 😛 But I totally get what you’re saying!

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