Personal History by Haruki Murakami: “This heavy weight my father carried—a trauma, in today’s terminology—was handed down, in part, to me.”
Of course I have a lot of memories of my father. It’s only natural, considering that we lived under the same roof of our not exactly spacious home from the time I was born until I left home at eighteen. And, as is the case with most children and parents, I imagine, some of my memories of my father are happy, some not quite so much. But the memories that remain most vividly in my mind now fall into neither category; they involve more ordinary events.This one, for instance:When we were living in Shukugawa (part of Nishinomiya City, in Hyogo Prefecture), one day we went to the beach to get rid of a cat. Not a kitten but an older female cat. Why we needed to get rid of it I can’t recall. The house we lived in was a single-family home with a garden and plenty of room for a cat. Maybe it was a stray we’d taken in that was now pregnant, and my parents felt they couldn’t care for it anymore. My memory isn’t clear on this point. Getting rid of cats back then was a common occurrence, not something that anyone would criticize you for. The idea of neutering cats never crossed anyone’s mind. I was in one of the lower grades in elementary school at the time, I believe, so it was probably around 1955, or a little later. Near our home were the ruins of a bank building that had been bombed by American planes—one of a few still visible scars of the war.