To fill in the silence Tsukuru lowered the needle onto the record again, went back to the sofa, and settled in to listen to the music. This time he tried his best not to think of anything in particular. With his eyes closed and his mind a blank, he focused solely on the music. Finally, as if lured in by the melody, images flashed behind his eyelids, one after the next, appearing, then disappearing. A series of images without concrete form or meaning, rising up from the dark margins of consciousness, soundlessly crossing into the visible realm, only to be sucked back into the margins on the other side and vanish once again. Like the mysterious outline of microorganisms swimming across the circular field of vision of a microscope.
Well, I wouldn’t exactly call myself bald. I know my hairline is a little …” “Shut up, will you?” Aomame said, trying her best not to frown. I shouldn’t scare him too much, she thought, softening her tone somewhat. “That’s really not important.” Look, mister, I don’t care what you think, you are bald. If the census had a “bald” category, you’d be in it, no problem. If you go to heaven, you’re going to bald heaven. If you go to hell, you’re going to bald hell. Have you got that straight? Then stop looking away from the truth. Let’s go now. I’m taking you straight to bald heaven, nonstop.
The house is still standing on the banks of the lake in Zurich. Jung’s descendants manage it, but unfortunately it’s not open to the public, so people can’t view the interior. Rumor has it, though, that at the entrance to the original tower there is a stone into which Jung carved some words with his own hand. ‘Cold or Not, God Is Present.’ That’s what he carved into the stone himself.” Tamaru paused again. “ ‘Cold or Not, God Is Present,’ ” he intoned, quietly, once more. “Do you know what this means?” Ushikawa shook his head. “No, I don’t.” “I can imagine. I’m not sure myself what it means. There’s some kind of deep allusion there, something difficult to interpret. But consider this: in this house that Carl Jung built, piling up the stones with his own hands, at the very entrance, he found the need to chisel out, again with his own hands, these words. I don’t know why, but I’ve been drawn to these words for a long time. I find them hard to understand, but the difficulty in understanding makes it all the more profound. I don’t know much about God. I was raised in a Catholic orphanage and had some awful experiences there so I don’t have a good impression of God. And it was always cold there, even in the summer. It was either really cold or outrageously cold. One or the other. If there is a God, I can’t say he treated me very well. Despite all this, those words of Jung’s quietly sank deep into the folds of my soul. Sometimes I close my eyes and repeat them over and over, and they make me strangely calm. ‘Cold or Not, God Is Present.’ Sorry, but could you say that out loud?” “ ‘Cold or Not, God Is Present,’ ” Ushikawa repeated in a weak voice, not really sure what he was saying. “I can’t hear you very well.” “ ‘Cold or Not, God Is Present.’ ” This time Ushikawa said it as distinctly as he could. Tamaru shut his eyes, enjoying the overtones of the words. Eventually, as if he had made up his mind about something, he took a deep breath and let it out. He opened his eyes and looked at his hands. He had on disposable latex gloves so he wouldn’t leave behind any fingerprints. “I’m sorry about this,” Tamaru said in a low voice. His tone was solemn. He took out the plastic bag again, put it over Ushikawa’s head, and wrapped the thick rubber band around his neck. His movements were swift and decisive. Ushikawa was about to protest, but the words didn’t form, and they never reached anyone’s ears. Why is he doing this? Ushikawa thought from inside the plastic bag.