Not even sleep could help me find peace. The dreams I had were awful and even with open eyes I still saw the pictures in front of me. At some point I had lost any sense of time and also had switched off any sensation. Like a petrified animal, I lay in my bed, staring into space. When the Father came to me to see whether I had eaten his meals, I remained motionless just as he had seen me when he put the food, which had gone bad, on the bedside table. But he didn’t give up. At regular intervals he returned and brought some fresh food for me, just to carry it away untouched a few hours later. Then I also heard the key, which turned in the lock. He never forgot to bolt the door.
I sat in my bed, silently staring at the bedspread. The pattern of its embroideries blurred before my eyes. I no longer saw them. I was a lifeless statue. I sat there unmoving. I didn’t eat, because I wasn’t hungry. I didn’t drink, because I wasn’t thirsty. It was meaningless. Nothing made sense to me. I saw nothing beautiful and nothing good around me anymore. I just felt cold.
Father Michael’s steps sounded in the passageway outside my room. The door was unlocked and he entered. He was always there. Continuously, bringing me food without losing any of his energy. He was like a battery-operated toy. He looked after me and wanted to prevent me from dying of hunger and thirst.
For a moment he stopped in the doorframe. Probably it surprised him to find me in a different position than on his previous visits. He recovered quickly and came to the bed. I could hear noises, telling me he put a plate on my bedside table and a glass. It softly splashed as the water in it sloshed around.
“I brought a few crackers, Ada. Please, try to eat these,” he said. His hand came into my field of vision. Between his fingers he held a cracker.
But I didn’t take it. I didn’t want to do him the favor. I didn’t want to eat the food he offered me and I didn’t want to drink the water, whose bubbles fizzed until they went flat hours later.
Father Michael sighed and lowered his arms again. I could feel his despair and it satisfied me. I was suffering. He should suffer, too. He hadn’t shown me mercy. Now I did the same.
“Your silence and refusal drive me mad! You should see yourself! You’re all white and there are dark shadows under your eyes. Your cheeks are hollow and your lips are chapped,” he said.
What was wrong with him? Did he not like what he saw? After all it was his work!
“Please, eat something. How are you supposed to recover, if you’re being so stubborn?” He asked and again showed me the cracker.
I ignored his begging again. He had ignored mine, too. And why should I recover? What was it good for, when I was missing the most important thing in my life? But it was too much of a good thing and he lost patience. Father Michael knelt on the bed next to me, grabbed the back of my head with one hand and with the other one attempted to force the cracker into my mouth. I firmly pressed my teeth together. He had no chance and the food crumbled and fell onto the bedspread. He pulled another cracker out of the packet and got it ready. I felt his fingers on my mouth, trying to get my lips apart violently. It hurt me, but he failed again. Frustrated he screamed and flung the cracker across the room, followed by the remaining packet.
“Damn it, Ada!” he shouted and jumped up from the bed. He spun around and buried his hands in his hair. Then he returned to me and grabbed me by the shoulders, shaking me roughly. “I love you and I need you here! Please, eat something!” he pleaded, trying to look me in the eye.
Stubborn, I looked past him, unimpressed.
“How can one be so obstinate?” he screamed at me.
I didn’t even flinch and remained silent. For a while I felt his eyes on me. Then he sighed and gave in. Apparently he couldn’t think of anything else he could do. Father Michael walked over to the packet of crackers, picked it up and left the room. Again I heard the key turn, as he locked me in.