from Breasts & Eggs by Mieko Kawakami

Natsuko’s responses to being asked ‘Why do grown-ups get drunk?’ by Midoriko, her teenaged niece:

“I don’t know. Probably because drinking makes you feel like someone else.

You’re always yourself, right? From the second you’re born, you’re you. Sometimes people get sick of that. I guess that’s why.

Life is tough, but you gotta keep living until you die, you know what I mean? Sometimes you just need an escape, from your own life.

I guess that maybe people need to escape from themselves. Or from all the stuff they carry around – the past, memories, all that. For some people, though, that kind of escape isn’t enough. They never want to come back to themselves, so they decide not to live anymore.

Most people can’t, though. So they drink all the time to try and make it go away. I mean, it’s not just drinking, though. People end up doing things they don’t want to do, but sometimes they can’t do anything to stop it. And all those things add up. It’s not good for your body. All the people around you, the people who care about you, they get worried and angry. They’re like come on, snap out of it. You can’t keep doing this to yourself. They’re right, too. But I don’t know, it just gets harder.”

Tell me what you think!

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