A letter came from the woman's husband. It had been two years since he had taken a dislike to his wife and deserted her. The letter came from a distant land.
"Don't let the child bounce a rubber ball. I can hear the sound. It strikes at my heart."
She took the rubber ball away from her nine-year-old daughter.
Again a letter came from her husband. It was from a different post office than the first one.
"Don't send the child to school wearing shoes. I can hear the sound. It tramples on my heart."
In place of shoes, she gave her daughter soft felt sandals. The girl cried and would no longer go to school.
Once more a letter came from her husband. It was posted only a month later than the previous letter, but his handwritting suddenly looked old.
"Don't let the child eat from a porcelain bowl. I can hear the sound. It breaks my heart."
The woman fed the girl with her own chopsticks as if she were three years old. Then she remembered the time when the girl really was three years old and her husband had spent pleasant days at her side. The girl went to the cabinet on her own and took out her bowl. The woman quickly snatched it from her and dashed it against a rock in the garden: the sound of her husband's heart breaking. Suddenly the woman raised her eyebrows. She threw her own bowl against the rock. Wasn't this the sound of her husband's heart breaking? The woman tossed the small dinner table out into the garden. What about this sound? She threw her whole body against the wall and pounded with her fists. She flung herself at the paper partition like a spear and tumbled out on the other side. And what about this sound?
"Mommy, mommy, mommy!"
The girl ran toward her, crying, and the woman slapped her. Oh, listen to this sound!
Like an echo of that sound, another letter came from the woman's husband. It had been sent from yet another post office in a new distant land.
"Don't make any sound at all. Don't open or close the doors or sliding partitions. Don't breathe. The two of you musn't even let the clocks in the house make a sound"
"The two of you, the two of you, the two of you." Tears fell as the woman whispered. Then the two of them made no sound. They ceased eternally to make even the faintest sound. In other words, the mother and daughter died.
And, strangely enough, the woman's husband lay down beside them and died, too.
"Palm Of The Hand Stories"
Excelente curta-metragem homônimo, baseado no conto de Kawabata (14 minutos, direção Edmund Yeo):