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He was suddenly aware of someone sitting beside him, holding his right hand. LIke a small creature seeking warmth, a hand slipped inside the pocket of his leather jacket and clasped his large hand. By the time he became fully aware, it had already happened. Without any preface, the situation had jumped to the next stage. How strange, Tengo thought, his eyes still closed. How did this happen? At one point time was flowing along so slowly that he could barely stand it. Then suddenly it had leapt ahead, skipping whatever lay between.

This person help his big hand even tighter, as if to make sure he was really there. Long smooth fingers, with an underlying strength.

Aomame. But he didn’t say it aloud. He didn’t open his eyes. He just squeezed her hand in return. He remembered this hand. Never once in twenty years had he forgotten the feeling. Of course, it was no longer the tiny hand of a ten-year-old girl. Over the past twenty years her hand touched many things. It had clasped untold numbers of objects in every possible shape. And the strength within it had grown. Yet Tengo knew right away: this was the very same hand. The way it squeezed his own hand and the feeling it was trying to convey were exactly the same.

1Q84

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