Haruki Murakami's short story "Birthday Girl", available to read online, is about a girl working part-time as a waiter who gets to make a special wish on her twentieth birthday. In the frame story, she is telling an unnamed first-person narrator about the events of her twentieth birthday. She asks him(?) what wish he would make, if he were in the same situation as her on her twentieth birthday.

I took some time to think about that, but I couldn’t come up with a single wish.
"I can’t think of anything," I confessed. "I’m too far away now from my twentieth birthday."
"You really can’t think of anything?"
I nodded.
"Not one thing?"
"Not one thing."
She looked into my eyes again—straight in—and said, "That’s because you’ve already made your wish."

What does this mean? What is the wish he already made, and how does she know? Does it relate to the questions of what her wish was and who he is?


1 Answer 1


He already has his wish by having a life where he can't think of an improvement

I do not have any textual proof that this is the answer, but I think that the simplest answer is fairly evident. She states that he has "already made [his] wish" because he cannot think of anything that he would change in his life. On one hand, one could take the perspective of the mystical, that he may have had his own opportunity for a wish, and that the life he leads now is the result of it. On the other hand, there's the pragmatic interpretation that, because he has everything he wants, he's effectively made a wish for his best life.

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    It seems simple now, but I hadn't thought of it that way. My instinct is to nitpick that she said "you've made your wish" instead of "you've got your wish" (implying that he consciously made a wish at some point as she did), but such linguistic pedantry is too risky for a translated story. My own earlier thought, connecting with the previous questions, was that it might have something to do with age: maybe he's older than her and already lived his life, and her wish was about growing old happy hence why she doesn't know yet if it's come true. But your answer is simpler and makes sense.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Mar 31, 2020 at 15:06

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