When he was gone I looked at the clock. It was 10:45 p.m. Sighing, I shook off the crumbs of the bedspread and lay down again. I wanted to try to get some sleep. I still hoped I’d have no nightmares this time. But I was met with disappointment. I had the same dream as before. Again and again, I saw a dark figure wrapped in a cape, taking my baby and carrying it away. I wanted to stop him and snatch my child from him. But I was tied to the patient’s bench. As always I woke up with my heart beating wildly and tears in my eyes. I wondered, whether the dream was a memory, that made itself felt in the sleep, or just my imagination, that played a trick on me. I no longer knew what was real and what was not.
Trembling, I sat up in my bed and switched on the little lamp on the bedside table. The light burnt in my eyes and I got a stabbing headache. I saw the clock and was amazed how little time had passed. Only half an hour. My gaze fell on the glass of water, which the Father had left there. When I saw the clear liquid I had to lick my lips involuntarily. But I couldn’t moisten them. I had no liquid left inside of me. It had been washed out of my body with the infinite tears and so far hadn’t been refilled.
Suddenly, I was very thirsty and grabbed the glass. My hand shook when I picked it up. I had hardly enough strength to carry out this simple activity. After all, I hadn’t eaten anything for days, which could have given me energy. I had to use both hands, so I could raise the glass to my lips. Somehow I made it and took a first cautious sip. It was wonderful to feel the liquid on my lips and how it moistened my mouth. The coolness ran down my throat and I felt it ending up in my stomach. I put the glass to my lips again and emptied it in one gulp. But my thirst still wasn’t quenched.
I climbed out of my bed and stumbled into my bathroom. Again and again, I refilled the glass and emptied it immediately. I didn’t know how much I drank, but I felt revived and no longer close to madness like someone, who was about to die of thirst. Satisfied, I went back to my bed and lay down. The headache had decreased and I quickly fell asleep.
When I woke up I had a headache again. It was as if someone wanted to crush my head. As the water had helped before I thought I just would have to drink something again. Thus I went into the bathroom and drank directly from the faucet. I didn’t care whether I spilled the water on me. I just wanted to quickly get rid of this pain in my head. Unfortunately, it didn’t work this time. The pain was just as bad as before. In front of the washbasin I slumped to the ground and tried to think of what I could do. But there was only one thing, which could help me make me feel better: food.
I hoped the Father would come soon to bring a fresh meal. But when I thought about his last call I wasn’t sure whether he’d ever return. “Maybe he is fed up to the back teeth with me and now just simply lets me starve to death,” I thought. “He mustn’t do something like that. After all, he is a man of the church. Even God wouldn’t forgive him or maybe he would?”
I struggled to my feet and returned to my bed. I had no other choice than to wait for him to return as I couldn’t get out.
The opening of my room’s door woke me up and I saw Father Michael coming in. Immediately, I discovered the tray on his hands. Slowly, he came over to me and put it next to my bed.
“Good morning, Ada,” he said cautiously. He seemed to be slightly insecure. Maybe he was sorry for his yesterday’s behavior, when he had nearly knocked my teeth out?
He watched me for a moment and I waited for him to say something. Instead of words only a sigh escaped his throat. And with astonishment I watched him putting the key to my bedroom door on the bedspread.
Questioningly, I looked up at him. It was the first time since days that we looked each other in the eyes. Without saying a word he turned around and left.
In this moment, I felt how much we have had become estranged. I couldn’t remember the last time I had said something to him and he also seemed to not want to talk to me anymore. But apparently he hadn’t given up on me completely. After all, he had brought me another meal and had given me back my freedom. Nevertheless, the question gnawed at me, what all of this was supposed to mean. I was glad and very grateful for his gesture, yes. But where did this sudden change of heart come from?
While I continued brooding, I ate my breakfast with great appetite. It was the best meal I had ever had. It had been a simple strawberry jam sandwich and it was just heavenly! What a pity it was only one sandwich. I could have put away with a whole packet of toast with jam. But it probably was healthier if I didn’t eat too much at one go.
After that I felt much better. The sugar rush had given me enough energy to get up and dress. Because of my refusal to eat I had lost almost all the extra weight I had put on during pregnancy, so that my clothes still fit. The sweater wasn’t too tight and the jeans didn’t get stuck half way, because the butt was too broad and the stomach too round. Even my shoes slid over my feet easier. Could you lose weight there, too? Well, I didn’t complain. There were more important things than excess weight on the toes. After all, I had decided to go to the Father to talk to him. He had made the first conciliatorily move. Now it was my turn to build upon that.