Saturday, 23 April 2016

New Language

   “So, tell me how you feel again.” The doctor’s calm, deep voice broke the silence, as he lifted his head up from the papers.
   Blue and purple waves appeared in front of him, intertwining chaotically; the projection blipped and disappeared completely for a moment, then reappeared again; agitated, like an angry river flowing. He had seen this one before.
   The doctor tapped the pad on his side and the ephemeral picture switched off, revealing a man in a bed, laying motionless; his head strapped with nodes and cables extending to a large plastic contraption next to his bed. His eyes were open, moisturised by special lenses. Directly staring at the doctor.
   “I wanted to try something more complex, my friend. I promise you, I wasn’t trying to irritate you in any way.” The doctor said. “I did recognize this pattern at the end,” he continued. “Was it just me, or you got slightly disappointed, maybe?”
   He tapped the pad again and the waves blinked into the air, projected from the large contraption. The arrangement this time was the clear “Yes”.
   “Wonderful. I just want to see the limits of what we’re doing here. Have you had enough? Do you want us to take a brake?”
   The waves were dancing in a way that was not defined yet. Then they settled into the clear “No”. It was a thought associated with his old house. The one he had lived in before the car crash.
   “You have become very consistent with these patterns. I must congratulate you. The “Yes” and “No” you’re doing are great. Fabulous discipline.”
   The projection was stirring slowly, not revealing anything in particular.
   Observing it for a moment, the doctor said:
   “Lately I am noticing something similar when we get to the point of …,” he stopped for a second, thinking, as he was gliding has hand through his beard, rhythmically. “Irritance?”
   The waves settles into the clear “Yes” and then abruptly changed into the well-familiar “No”.
   “Ok,” there was excitement evident in his calm voice. “Would you call it annoyance?”
   “No.”
   “Would you call it, anger?”
   “No.”
   “Maybe, discouragement?”
   “No.”
   “Impatience?”
   The waves stirred for a moment quickly and moved into the “Yes.”
   The “Yes” was a thought of his favourite sport. The one he was playing competitively ages ago. It took him long weeks to master imagining the pictures associated with “Yes” and “No.” But he had gotten really good with them. So good that it was possible to have a conversation with him — a vegetable with a working brain.
   “Impatience, because you want to make progress?”
   “Yes.”
   “Impatience, because you want to communicate better?”
   “Yes.”
   “Are you tired?”
   “No.”
   The doctor smiled and bend his head slightly, looking away.
   “Forgive my ignorance. I have no idea what’s it like to be in your shoes.”
   The picture danced and flowed into an unknowable pattern. Yet.
   “Are you excited at the opportunity that you may be helping others?”
   “Yes.”
   “Me too,” the doctor said, looking at his papers again and writing down quickly.
   “I am sorry to be a let down. But I will need a short brake and a meeting with few of my colleagues. I want to work on this “Impatience” pattern we are seeing.”
   “Yes.”
   He took the pad.
   “In the mean time, may I interest you in some ping pong?”
   “No.”
   “Duck-shooting around the lake?”
   “No.”
   “Chess?”
   “Yes.” Followed by yet another chaotic and unknown pattern.
   “I will get Professor Williams for you,” the doctor said as he was standing up. “She is quite good at chess, no?”
   “Yes.”
   “I will be back later on today.” He said, going for the door.
   He nearly blurted “Don’t go anywhere”, but realized how stupid and rude it would be.
   “Stay sharp,” he uttered instead.
   “Yes.” Followed by yet another dance that only he knew the meaning of.