Tuesday, May 09, 2006,5:36 PM
The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi

Vol 1 : Prologue

When did I stop believing in Santa Claus? To tell the truth, this sort of silly question holds no real significance for me. However, if you were to ask me when I stopped believing that the old man wearing the red costume was Santa, then I can confidently say: I have never believed in Santa, ever.

I knew that the Santa who appeared at my kindergarten Christmas party was a fraud, and, now that I think about it, every one of my classmates shared the same look of disbelief watching our teacher fake it as Santa.

Although I had never seen my mom kiss Santa Claus, I was already wise enough to be suspicious about the existence of an old man who worked only on Christmas Eve. It actually took me longer to realize that the aliens, ghosts, monsters and espers in those effects-filled 'good guys versus evil organization' cartoons didn't exist in real life.

No. I probably did realize, I just didn't want to admit it, because deep inside my heart I really wanted those aliens, ghosts, monsters, espers and evil organizations to suddenly appear. Compared to this boring, normal life of mine, the world of those flashy shows was much more desirable. I wanted to live in that world too!

I wanted to be the one who saved the girl kidnapped by aliens and imprisoned in a bowl-like prison. I wanted to be the one who used my courage, intelligence and trusty laser gun to fight against villains from the future trying to change history for their own gain. I wanted to be someone who could banish demons and monsters with a single spell, battle against mutants or psychics from evil organizations, and engage in telepathic fights!

Wait, calm down. If I really were ever attacked by aliens or whatever, how could I ever possibly fight against them? I don't even have any special powers!

Hmm, how about this: one day, a mysterious new student transfers to my class. He's really an alien or from the future, and he has telepathic abilities. When he gets into a fight with the bad guys, all I need to do is find a way to get involved in his war. He'll handle all the fighting and I can just be his flunky sidekick. Oh my god, this is great, I am so clever!

Well, if that doesn't work, how about this: one day, a mysterious power inside me awakens, something like a telekinetic or psychic ability. I discover that a lot of other people in this world also have similar powers, and then some sort of paranormal society recruits me. I'll become part of this organization and protect the world against evil mutants.

Unfortunately, reality is surprisingly cruel...

No one got transferred to my class. I've never seen a UFO. When I went to places that were rumored to be haunted, nothing showed up. Two hours of intense staring didn't make my pencil move a single millimeter, and glaring at my classmate's head didn't reveal his thoughts to me either.

I started to sigh at how normal the laws of physics were. I began to stop watching for UFOs and paying attention to paranormal TV shows because I convinced myself it was impossible. I even reached a point where I only had a sense of nostalgia for those things.

After junior high, I totally grew out of that fantasy world and became utterly grounded in reality. Nothing happened in 1999 (even though I was hoping, just a bit, that something would). Mankind hadn't returned to the moon or gone beyond it. I guess, from the way things are going, that I'll be long dead before you can book a 2-way trip from Earth to Alpha Centauri.

With those sorts of pedestrian thoughts in my mind, I became a normal, carefree senior high student. That is, until the day I met Suzumiya Haruhi

credits to b-t for the novel translations


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