Mika resumed looking at the wall. Because it was white, he could project endless images upon it. His favorite one was of a large convex window. Through the window, he could see the outline of a crouching beast.
Because it was white, he imagined the snow queen driving in a sled. She would embrace him. Enfolded in the warmth and the cold of her cloak, all his thoughts would turn sluggish. They would quiet and finally stop, muffled. This was what he wanted. He wanted things to cease. But he wanted them encapsulated, preserved. He did not want things to go to ruin. He wanted them caught in a moment, like a photograph. No decay, no decrepitude, no foul odors, no bodily humiliation. To be frozen in a block of ice. This was good. The white wall became a clear glacier, sliding towards him. He pulled the sheets around him and closed his eyes. He wanted sleep.

For two days he refused to get out of bed. Even his talks with the doctor had to be conducted by his bedside. He told them about his glaciers, his queen. How he wanted to sleep. The doctor took it all down and prescribed antidepressants. They had no effect on him. He continued to sleep. He had an allergy to one of the antidepressants and breathing became difficult. Then he caught a cold and slept through it. It was only two weeks later that I was allowed to visit. I sat by the bedside and burst into tears. Mika looked at me wonderingly.
" Did you catch a cold too?"
"I want to know" I said,"why you are like this--- so back and forth. The last time I saw you, you refused to speak to me. But now you will. Why?"

" It's quite simple. I didn't want to see you then."
"Jonathan, I think you must, at one point or another, face the fact that you do not know me at all. We have spent some times together but they were only superficial encounters, obscured by activities, events, celebrations. I think, at times, you have wanted a similarity to exist between our minds and personalities because we look alike. We are not at all alike. We are not even different. We are simply separate, neither of us quite understanding the other, perhaps not even interested in doing so. Any similarity between us is a delusion on your part. I wish you would get rid of it."

"Mika, we are quite alike----more and more I agree with the things you say. It is simply a matter of time----I am chronologically behind you--- I will reach the same conclusions. We do share things--- "
"No, Mika, you stop--stop feeling sorry for yourself."
"Sorry for myself? Lucky, am I? The luckiest man alive. Two legless men suing me for everything I got. The court case against me has gone on for five years----five years---I've lost everything. But that's not all. I've lost nothing compared to them---the two men that were riding the motorcycle. I escaped with my body intact. Both of them got their legs amputated. Both of them. How do you think I feel? I had the misfortune of being in that alleyway at that moment. Why didn't I pause to meet a friend for lunch? What made me choose that road, that underpass? What made them so stupid? Why did they come out like that? Didn't they know better? Why was it snowing? Why do I have mercury poisoning? Why isn't it you or Anna? Jonathan, we can ask a lot of questions, but we can't answer them at all."
"You never told me any of this."

Two days later, I recieved a telegram from my aunt. She wanted him discharged. She wanted him
to come home. She didn't care if he was poisoned or not.

The doctors said that was impossible and still she insisted.
Finally, we agreed that Mika would live down in the outskirts of town with me for a month, coming in for biweekly checkups.
When I told him this, he said, No.
This was the last word he would say for quite a while.

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