Mika walked back to his bed and the hospital cat leapt lightly onto his pillow. The cat then edged to his belly and, digging into the blankets for a foothold, both fell asleep. I did not keep his promise to stay away until the next week. In fact I drove back that very night. I wanted to talk, apologize, clarify. Through the crisscrossed window, I watched him breathing in his sleep. The cat stretched and laid alongside him, yawned, then curled up again. His face was buried in the cat's back. There was something helpless about him.

I spent that afternoon in a nearby café eating buns. The fountain made water patterns on the white tables. I wanted him to come out here with me--to see it all. I bought him a bag of the buns filled with marzipan. From the distance, the hospital looked like a fortress with its white block exterior, its position upon the hill. Even the trees did not soften the harsh exterior.

When I came back, I saw Mika was sitting on the edge of his bed, combing his hair. He wore the pale red pyjamas that he had brought from home. The comb he held was the small tortoiseshell that he had brought in Brussels. He was looking at the opposite wall, patiently, as if he were listening to it. Having finished combing his hair, he placed his comb on the small stand. Hands folded, he waited. I knocked at this point.

He did not turn around but merely said, "Come in." I tried to but he had locked the door. Finally he rose and walked to the door, removed the wedge and then walked back to his bed. Mika felt uncomfortable. He held out the bag.
"I bought these for you today." Mika did not even make the slightest gesture of acknowledgement. "Mika, I went by a café that I thought you would like. The buns were delicious and I thought I would buy you some. They're quite good." He walked to the other side of the bed so that he would be able to see Mika's face. "What is wrong?" he asked.

Mika said nothing but closed his eyes. There was nothing to speak of. He pulled out the covers and slept. I sat in a chair for an hour then left. Later, he woke up and opened the bag. A strong waft of chocolate filled the room. He pulled out one bun. Too sticky. He put them back into the bag and placed them in his drawer. Ants began to gather. Little red ants.
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