"A huge wave nearly swept me away," said the seventh man, almost whispering. "It happened one September afternoon when I was ten years old."
"It was the biggest wave I had ever seen in my life," he said. "A strange wave. An absolute giant."
"It just barely missed me, but in my place it swallowed everything that mattered most to me and swept it off to another world. I took years to find it again and to recover from the experience--precious years that can never be replaced."
He cleared his throat, and for a moment or two his words were lost in silence. The others waited for him to go on.
"In my case, it was a wave," he said. "There's no way for me to tell, of course, what it will be for each of you. But in my case it just happened to take the form of a gigantic wave. It presented itself to me all of a sudden one day, without warning, in the shape of a giant wave. And it was devastating."
- from Murakami's short story The Seventh Man, available in his new collection, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman.