Saturday, February 12, 2005

Pecaw's Gift / Chapter 8 - Inchworm

It had been two months since the fall and there was little change in the outward
appearance of Sinclair. He was still hooked up to the monitors, and the doctors were
doubtful as to whether or not to unhook him from the respirator. He showed no signs of
muscular response and when they would open his eye lids to peer inside, there was no change at all. He was a lump of warm flesh that needed tending to, taking up a valuable bed. Bev continued to visit him each day. She had purchased a small cassette recorder with a pair of speakers which she would place on the small table next to his bed. He gave no indication of his being able to hear; all the same she would play his favorite tapes to him each visit.

“...And what have you got for us today Mrs. Dosilmeyer?”, a strong friendly voice
carried past the entrance to the semi-private room. “I sure did enjoy that stuff your Mister Dosilmeyer was listening to yesterday; whatever it was.” Maime Stuart was the regular day nurse assigned to take care of Sinclair. She would make sure to greet him each time she entered the room, “How are you feeling today Mr. Dosilmeyer?”, or “Looks like rain today Sinclair, sure glad the Astros have that Dome over their field.”

She would make Bev feel better by just being so positive about things that Bev looked forward to the short visit. She treated Sinclair with dignity and respect, paying no regard to his not being able to return the conversation.

“That was Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto played by Itzhak Perlman and the
Philadelphia Orchestra; so you like that kind of music too, Sinclair would listen to that
and get lost in it. If you like I will make you a copy so you can listen to it on your way
to work; we have it on Compact Disk at home and it would be no trouble at all.” Bev
pulled a plastic tape container from her purse and put the tape into the small gray cassette player. “Today it’s Revolver, from the Beatles.”, a half hearted smile eased onto Bev’s face as she returned the empty case back into her purse. “I never was much of a Beatles’ fan, but its not for me anyway.” Bev eased into a chair that was next to Sinclair’s bed and held his hand for a few moments while she looked into his face. There was no hint of a smile, a frown, no feeling at all escaped the shell that kept Sinclair captive.

“I love you, Sinclair; Come home soon.”

The music started up, “One two three four, one two. . .” The first cut on
the album began and Bev looked over at Sinclair; hoping with all her heart and at the same time not really expecting any reaction as the music rang into his quieted ears.

Sinclair was hearing it all, it bothered him that he had not the faculties to provide some comfort to his loving wife. He knew how much it bothered her when he didn’t talk to her; how much more painful it must be for him not to even acknowledge her at all.
He thought his thoughts as the music wrapped itself deep within his mind, “One two three four, one two. . .”

“And what is this? That monitor just went off on its own again. It did that the other day too. Last time it did that all it did was flash the numbers 1 and 2. I had them replace it with a new one. See; there it goes again, “1 2 3 4, 1 2 . . .” The amber monitor then returned to displaying “70” as the flow of nutrients that fed Sinclair dripped methodically down the clear plastic tubing into his arm. “I wish it wouldn’t do that”, Maime breathed out, “I depend on that monitor to give me reliable information. I’ll have it checked to make sure there isn’t some short in the wiring.

Sinclair began to realize that he had altered the reading of the monitor with his
thoughts. He had not actually tried to do it; it just happened. “If only it were true,” he
thought to himself. “Can I really make those numbers change, and if so, can I make letters too?" He thought to himself the number “5”, and waited for them to comment on the monitor’s change.

“Well it looks like it’s working fine now, but all the same, I think they should take it in for a check up.” , as the monitor continued to display a constant reading “70”.

“I have to get on with my other patients now, Mr. Sinclair. You and Bev behave after I close the door.” A sweet smile and a blush came over Bev as the two women’s eyes met. Maime made a few notes on Sinclair’s chart and left them alone; the music played on.

“ . . . put rubber pennies on your eyes. . .”

Sinclair had failed. “Maybe it was just a freakish thing that had caused the monitor to read differently?”, he thought to himself as despair took its hold. The music continued as Bev softly ran her fingers through his hair. Each track on the album played to the audience of two. Bev was only half listening as the familiar tunes ran by her ears.

“ . . . and in her eyes you see nothing

no sign of love behind the tears cried for no one

a love that should have lasted years. . .”

The monitor went off on its own again, “4 0 1”. Bev looked at the seemingly
random arrangement of numbers as they repeated several times. She strained to make some sense from it all. “Four Zero One”, she said to herself out loud again and again.

“Four Zero One, Four Zero One, Four Oh On . . .”

“FOR NO ONE ! That's it! For No One!” Bev suddenly found herself liking the Beatles’ music. She ran out the door and down the hall looking rapidly in each room. In each moment the lump in her throat grew with joy. “For No One!”. The cold gray corridor now seemed brilliantly lighted as Winged Mercury aided her search for Maime.

“For No One!, Oh Maime, He said it!”, as she grabbed the white Formica ledge
jutting out from the corner of the nurses station, blurted her enthusiasm in the general direction of a bewildered Charge Nurse and sped down the next corridor.
Maime poked her head out of one of the rooms further down the hall to see who it was that was calling out her name. “Why M’s. Dosilmeyer, what ever is it that has you so wound up? You better slow down so’s I can understand you.”

Taking a half breath and a quick swallow, “He said it, the monitor, the monitor. For No One, Four Zero One; Get it? For No One, like the song! The numbers are his thoughts on the monitor!”

“Whoa, hold on girl, maybe you should start over and tell me what it is that has you ready for the rubber room. What’s all this about the monitor and Mr. Sinclair?”

“Come look at the monitor, when it goes off again listen to the words of the song that’s playing and substitute numbers to match the words. I just want someone else to see it to make sure that I’m not imagining it”.

“Okay, but let me finish up here. You go on back to the room and I’ll be along in a few minutes.” Maime raised an eyebrow as she thought about what had just been said.

Sinclair had wandered from listening to the tape and was instead, replaying part of an old Danny Kaye movie; it was the story of Hans Christian Andersen. He wanted to “sing” the part about the Inchworm in his head and form the words into numbers.

“Inchworm, Inchworm

Measuring the marigolds

You and your arithmetic

Will probably go far. . .”

He wasn’t sure all the words were correct, but he wanted to get to the next part anyway. A simple tune where the lead keeps singing the words, but the second part of the song is done in tandem; children’s voices singing their arithmetic tables.

“Inchworm, Inchworm

Measuring the marigolds

Two and two are four

Four and four are eight . . .

Don’t you think you’d stop and see

How beautiful they are

Eight and eight are sixteen

Sixteen and sixteen are thirty two”

The monitor jumped to life again, as his thoughts began to translate the word numbers into his yet to be mastered binary coded language.

“2 2


4 4

8 . . .”

Bev walked in and noticed the peculiar number combinations as thy appeared. She talked quietly but full of excitement into Sinclair’s ear. “I can see that you are adding numbers in your head. Two and two equal four, four and four equal eight. Can you go higher?”

“8 8


16 16

32. . .”

“I can see the numbers on the screen now, what else can you put on the screen for

“1 2 3 4 5

6 7 8 9 0”

“Very good; if one is yes and two is no, do you know who I am?”