By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept

by the riverI started reading Paulo Coelho’s By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept two days ago. This is my second book from the author, and I have high expectations. When I first read The Alchemist, I was astounded by how the writer compacted most of life’s greatest teachings in one book. And now, for my second novel, I hope that I won’t be disappointed.

With the holidays just around the corner, I only got into page 25 of the book. I was hoping to continue reading it right after my work yesterday, but something happened. Something which made me want to read at the same time rip the said book.

Every day, God gives us the sun – and also one moment in which we have the ability to change everything that makes us unhappy. Every day, we try to pretend that we haven’t perceived the moment, that it doesn’t exist – that today is the same as yesterday and will be the same as tomorrow. But if people really pay attention in their everyday lives, they will discover that magic moment. It may arrive in the instant when we are doing something mundane, like putting our front-door key in the lock; it may lie hidden in the quiet that follows the lunch hour or in the thousand and one things that all seems the same to us. But that moment exists – a moment when all the power of the stars becomes a part of us and enables us to perform miracles.

Yesterday afternoon, I saw his new status in Kakao Story. It went like this:

“나를 사랑해줘서 고마워.”

I can understand it a bit, but went to use a translator to clarify what I thought it meant. Genie Talk and Google Translate came up with: “Thank you for letting me love.”

It may not be the correct translation, but it seems near. I felt something gripped the corner of my heart. “What does this mean? Is he finally happy now?”

My friends teased me of being impulsive and I just proved them right when I went to his name in my Kakao Talk list and sent him a message.

Me: You seem okay now. I hope she makes you happy.

Me: The same time last year, you were so sick. I got so worried about you. Now, I hope you are getting better.

I didn’t know what I was thinking. I just sent him those messages. Now, as I typed this draft, I see myself as a pathetic, bitter person. Then suddenly, my phone beeped.

Love perseveres. It’s men who change.

Him: 송유리?

Him: 모니카?

Him: Who are you?

I forgot that I changed my Kakao Talk’s account name. From 최다해 which was the name he gave me, I changed it to송유리. Perhaps he was surprised to see a message coming from a stranger’s name.

Me: It’s me. Monica.

Him: Oh. She?

Him: I don’t have a gf.

Him: Anyway, I don’t have a gf.

A thousand times I wanted to take his hand and a thousand times I stopped myself.

Me: Oh. I thought…Well, I pray that after a year you are now better.

Him: I’m good. I…

I could have. What does this phrase mean? At any given moment in our lives, there are certain things that could have happened but didn’t. The magic moments go unrecognized, and then suddenly, the hand of destiny changes everything.

Him: I’m going to the army.

Me: What????? When?

Him: In 26 December.

Sometimes an uncontrollable feeling of sadness grips us, he said. We recognize that the magic moment of the day has passed and that we’ve done nothing about it. Life begins to conceal its magic and its art.

Me: Why so soon?

Him: Just. Bye. 잘지내~

Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing what to do is the worst kind of suffering.

May my tears from just as far, that my love might never know that one day I cried for him.

Note: I have placed various quotes from the book in relation to my experience yesterday. This is not a review of the book.

Related posts:

http://gongjumonica.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/nothing-better/

http://gongjumonica.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/take-my-heart-back/

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38 thoughts on “By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept

        1. Most welcome, Stephy. Are you fascinated with the language? I am, too. I just learned it by myself and some help from my Korean friends. Unni is the general romanization, but I spell it as eonni so I can remember how to write it in hangul. It is 언니.

          Wow. An instant blog award! Thank you so much! I will check your site shortly. I have been given awards lately that I didn’t have much time writing acceptance post, so please bear with me. 🙂

          1. yep. same here. this acceptance speech has been long overdue already. but anyways… it’s fine 🙂

            And yep.. would love to learn.. all because Ive been a big fan of kpop and kdramas.. and I think you are too. haha 😀 you’re really awesome learning all those languages.. keep shining eonni!

            1. Hmm. I hope to post those awards before the year ends, but I have some reviews to make. Too many backlogs in blog entries!

              Oh, I love Korean dramas, too. What are you currently watching? Yes, I love learning different languages, too. 🙂 thanks, dongsaeng~~

  1. I have read that book…..and it was simply marvellous. And these lines,”Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing what to do is the worst kind of suffering.”, I still remember them.
    I love this book. I just love it.
    <3

  2. A friend recommended The Alchemist to me. I will add it and your other recommendations to my reading list. Thanks for the blog 🙂

    1. Thanks, Rebecca. I was drying my eyes when I posted this one. Tomorrow, he will go to army. :'(

      On another note, is that really worth reading? I glimpsed pages of Veronika Decides to Die and I think I don’t like it. You have a review of this novel?

      And oh, I am awarding you with the Blog of The Year Award 2012. Check my current post 🙂 Congratulations!

    1. I agree.He has a unique style of putting realities in front of our faces. We know life, but we do not look and analyze it deeper. With him, it’s different.

      Thanks for the tag. I will try hard to keep it rolling, but no promises! My hands are quite full 🙁

    1. You are the second person to recommend that book to me so I guess I need to give it a try. Hmm I must get a copy 🙂

      Thanks for liking the post. I still feel sad about the entire thing. In relation to my personal experience mentioned above, I still feel dreadful. He’ll enter the army for two years without communication and I feel…empty.

    1. Thank you, Theresa. I guess books have that much effect when the reader and the writer becomes one and their emotions are similar to what the other experienced. The characters felt grief, and I remembered mine, too.

      I am happy that you are inspired to read this book. For those who are reading this comment thread, I would like to announce that Theresa is a published author and her novel, The Stone Guardian, is now on tour. Please feel free to check my homepage for that and you may win a free copy and some goodies.

  3. I love Paulo Coelho’s writing. It makes me think, realize, feel, see and just understand bits and parts of life. I have read a number of his books and one book I particularly love is Eleven Minutes. Also, you should read The Zahir. There is too much left for us to sense and comprehend. I felt good after reading By The River Piedra….In fact I usually end up feeling wiser and rejuvenated after I read his books. I hope his magic works for you as well!

    1. Thank you for those book recommendations. His magic works too well with me. It is like finishing a philosophy class after reading one of his books. I have a copy of Brida with me and I think that’s his next book that I will read. Others recommended The Devil and Miss Prym so I’ll also try. Eleven Minutes and The Zahir sound interesting, too.

  4. Hi. Thanks for the like. Your blog is about books and authors. It is great. Sample my book too, if you have time. Leave a comment if you feel like.

Share your thoughts, I would love to read them!