“Reiko would become a happy, loving wife. They would have one child together . . .
The comfortable tomb would be replaced by a new family home, and the tea room refurbished. The thick bushes around the house would be cut back, and the south-facing entrance cleared of most of the vegetation to allow in plenty of sunshine. One Thousand and One Nights would be swapped for a manual on childcare. Hanio would commute to a normal job in a company like he used to . . .
Hanio listened with a growing sense of horror to these vignettes of an imagined life that Reiko was sketching. This was nothing other than a cockroach existence! It was the embodiment of all those bugs scurrying around on a sheet of newspaper. Hadn’t he opted for suicide precisely to avoid ending up like this?”