Haruki Murakami writes a lovely little story called The Kidney-Shaped Stone That Moves Every Day for the New Yorker – easily among the better works of fiction in the magazine this year.
“Among the women a man meets in his life, there are only three who have real meaning for him. No more, no less,” his father said—or, rather, declared. He spoke coolly but with utter certainty, as he might have in noting that the earth takes a year to revolve around the sun. Junpei listened in silence, partly because his father’s speech was so unexpected; he could think of nothing to say on the spur of the moment.
“You will probably become involved with many women in the future,” his father continued, “but you will be wasting your time if a woman is the wrong one for you. I want you to remember that.”
Later, several questions formed in Junpei’s young mind: Has my father already met his three women? Is my mother one of them? And, if so, what happened with the other two? But he was not able to ask his father these questions. As noted earlier, the two were not on such close terms that they could speak heart to heart.
Read the full thing. It’s worth it.