Qualia the Purple
Arc 1: Various Notes on Marii
Chapter 4: Marii's Purple Eyes
Marii Yukari's irises were a pretty purple color.
You couldn't tell from very far away, but as soon as you got closer it was obvious. When she looked at you with those clear, light purple eyes, you could feel the muscles in your back tightening, along with the sensation that you were being drawn into those eyes.
So, if you asked people close to her for their impression of her, they would first mention her eyes, not her airy, wavy hair.
Marii Yukari has purple eyes, they would say.
She also seemed to be sensitive to bright lights, and you could sometimes see her wearing tinted glasses or visors.
Those things looked pretty good on her, but to be honest, when her eyes were hidden you couldn't help but feel that something was missing.
I once had the naive idea that maybe those eyes were the reason she saw everyone else as robots, so I asked her.
"Nah," she laughed.
"Purple eyes might be a bit strange, but there are other people with purple eyes too, and they don't see things like I do," she told me.
Well, that was true I suppose.
The problem wasn't in her sense of sight, but in her way of perceiving things, she explained.
Although it was quite rare, there were times when she would grumble about her circumstances.
"Sometimes I just think... I think about why God didn't let me see myself like I see other people. If humans look like robots to me, then my body should look like a robot too... so why am I the only one who doesn't look like one? Maybe I really do look different from a normal human somehow?"
"I don't think so. You look totally normal to me."
"Thanks. So maybe it's not my sense of sight that's weird, but my perception."
She wasn't frightened at all by what she saw through her purple eyes.
What frightened her was what she couldn't see.
What frightened her was her own appearance - the fact that she herself didn't look like a "normal" robot.
I couldn't help but ask.
"Yukari, do you like your eyes?"
The question sounded stupid the minute it came out of my mouth, but I couldn't take it back at that point.
So, I just tried to play it cool and continued.
"I like your eyes. They're a really pretty violet. They look really good on you, too."
"Wah. Thanks... I think I like my eyes, too."
Did she really think that, or was she just saying it? We hadn't been friends long enough for me to tell.
All I could do was hope.
Hope that she really did like her own eyes.
When she was born, her parents were probably immediately drawn to the color of her eyes, and they had even named her after them.
Yukari, written with the Japanese character for "purple."
I really hoped she didn't hate them – didn't hate those purple eyes of hers that had become her namesake.
I didn't really tell her about these feelings of mine, but I did refer to her by her first name and not by Marii, her family name. Yukari, I would call her. It still made me a bit embarrassed to call her that, but I did it anyways.
Because I liked those purple eyes of hers.