"The only sound in the room was the ticking of a wall clock and the occasional clink of a china cup as it was placed on a matching saucer. The patient’s tea went untouched. Every day for the past week, it had been the same thing: he sitting quietly at his desk; she staring out the window. After nearly an hour, he’d say, “That’s all the time we have.” She’d stand and Bruce, the orderly, would escort her back to her room. Today was no different.
Leaning back in his chair, Dr. Marcus Rukeyser glanced over to where his cello leaned against the bookcase. His fingers itched to take up the bow and let music wash away the remnants of sessions that seemed endless and at times pointless. Many of his patients were so far gone no amount of therapy would help. Was his newest patient one of them? He watched as she repeatedly touched her neck, tugging at something, only she knew what. Maybe it was just an itch or some sort of chronic pain. It might be significant or nothing at all. Unless she began to speak he could only speculate.
As he continued to observe, he couldn’t help but wonder if she’d end up spending the rest of her life in a fog of mental confusion. She was young, probably in her early twenties. Such a shame. He shrugged. If they didn’t make a breakthrough soon, he’d have no choice but to transfer her to Tinley Park Mental Hospital.
There was something about her that touched Rukeyser. No one had responded to the news reports. Her story was unusual even for a city the size of Chicago: a nearly catatonic woman found wandering the North Side half-naked, her tightly closed fist clutching a mangled spoon. Whatever the reason, he felt a need to fight for her.
“And how are you today, Miss Jane?”