"We grew up in Beirut. My father was strange---he had this desire to go out of the country. He turned down a prestigious job at Harvard Medical Center and decided to take his family---only three boys then----and go to China. When we had got all our papers ready and were planning to leave we found out that the government had been overthrown. No China. Since there was now no opening, he immediately accepted a position at Beirut, at the medical center there. I was born there. When Wystan's mother asked him to leave Beirut, he told her that he would divorce her, deny her custody. So she stayed for a while. And then she disappeared. Then he married my mother, Marilyn. Wystan was the oldest. I can hardly remember him. He had a thick mane of black hair and tanned so dark that I only remember him as a thundercloud in the house. He was hardly home, would barely speak english. My father heard rumours that he was spending all his time with his friends, Beirutan prostitutes, going bad. Wystan refused to go to college --- I remember he said that he wanted to bring color television to Beirut. He was sure he could do it in two years. My father bought two plane tickets and sent Wystan and my mother to California. Wystan fought and cried, then he was gone. Like that. My mother came back three months later, having tried to find him. No one could. And then, two months later, Mika was gone too. We don't know what happened to him, until recently. He told us that he had gone to France and gotten an engineering degree. He was living alone the last time I saw him. He walked six miles each morning. He didn't know where Wystan was. I don't know why he moved to France. I don't even know why he was working in that factory. "
"What an interesting family life. And were you the closest to him?"
"No. Yes, maybe I was."
"And you didn't know where he was?"
"No. Our family isn't like that. We have implicit faith in each other. We don't need to constantly be in touch in order to feel that we are a family. We already know that we are different, sensed it. But no, I never even knew he had my address."
"He's changed. He's much less self sufficient now. You know this--that you might have to take care of him for quite a while after he is let out. He's forgotten alot of things that make up the routine of daily life. He gets easily confused in practical matters--matters that you or I never think about. Then there are motor disabilities. In some cases, the tremors never dissapear. It's not going to be easy for him to find a job now. The company has been shut down by the government after this recent scandal so you can't expect any sort of monetary compensation besides the hospital fees. Perhaps you think that I am being abrupt or cruel--I'm not trying to shock you, I simply want you to know that there are many things to consider, things that have to be resolved soon. "
He looked towards the window, raising his voice. "On the up side,
Mika seems to be improving. I've noticed a slight deafness that may beome
permanent, a loss of memory. He seems to have no muscle spasms, can walk
around with little problem. Two days ago, we didn't know if he would respond
to treatment at all--if he would live. Now we don't know the extent of the
damage. Two months later, five months later, perhaps we will. Even the half
life of mercury in the human body is up to eighty days. Anything can develop.
It really differs from person to person. "
" Don't worry. It is just an initial uneasiness. Let's schedule
another meeting with him in a week's time. Perhaps he will feel better that
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