His mother took off her blouse, dropped the straps of her slip, and a let a man not his father suck on her breasts.  Tengo slept next to them, his breathing audible.  But at the same time, Tengo was not asleep.  He was watching his mother.

This was Tengo’s souvenir photograph of his mother.  The ten-second scene was burned into his brain with perfect clarity.  It was the only concrete information he had about his mother, the one tenuous connection his mind could make with her.  They were linked by a hypothetical umbilical cord.  His mind floated in the amniotic fluid of memory, listening for echoes of the past.  His father, meanwhile, had no idea that such a vivid scene was burned into Tengo’s brain or that, like a cow in the  meadow, Tengo was endlessly regurgitating fragments of the scene to chew on, a cud from which he obtained essential nutrients.  Father and son: each was locked in a deep, dark embrace with his secrets.”  1Q84, chapter 8, Meeting New People in New Places.

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