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
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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