On an island, on a mountain, under perpetual cloud, a museum sits, damp and peaceful.
Below the roof, the space is refined; acoustically perfect. An expensive sound system, keeping distance from the walls, fills the air with a selection of exquisitely resonant string pieces. A small plaque discreetly advertises the manufacturer.
Violin notes dance from the four walls, those faces punctuated only by the automatic portraits. Cellos are lowing, rolling across the cheap, felt carpet.
The gallery is deserted. Not even the soft sideways shuffle of feet, or the whisperings of interpretation to add to the symphony.
Mariko sits quite still with her legs perfectly parallel, knees carefully angled square, feet flat. The grey of her uniform skirt is taut across her knees.
She is testing herself. How long she can keep her eyes open without blinking. The uniform grey of the carpet fills her vision. She is careful not to move her head, for fear she might catch a glimpse of the bright, green lawn. Her pet dachshund has problems with its eyes. She worries that the veterinary treatment is expensive, and so puts off finding out what the cost might be. The boy in her shared apartment calls the dog “Neko”, cat.
Perversely, Mariko thinks. She fears vaguely that the dog will be confused.
The string movement comes to an end. After a polite, terrible silence, the next begins.