“You can go anywhere you want to?” Rehana asked, mustering as much incredulity as her voice could manage.
“Technically, yes. Immediately.” Emil replied, gnawing hungrily on the chicken breast that Rehana had passed him through the window.
“And you keep coming back here?”
“This is home.” Emil said, surprised at how easily the words came to him. “What about you? Where is home for you?” he asked.
“I am always here. I have been watching you for long.”
“So you have said…thank you very much.” Emil said, reaching out to grab another piece of chicken from Rehana’s outstretched hand. “What do you do, when you are not in there?”
“I am always here. I keep watch. Over the chicken. Sometimes it’s curry. Sometimes, satay. Sometimes, roasted. And also you. You are moving to a new house soon.”
“Yes. And it looks like Inora is going to come with me.”
“Yes, the one you saw arrive with me. She will come.”
“And the one that shouts and cries?”
“You mean Sania. No, I can’t take her along. She will not enjoy what I have to offer.”
Rehana did not say anything. She was busy prepping the next day’s chicken. Emil kept talking, “It’s not like I can take everyone I know back to my planet…the new home I am moving to, you know? Where will I put them all? I’m sure Mr. O’Gawd knows what to do with them all.”
“Give me the bones.” Rehana said.
“What was that?”
“Give the bones.” Rehana stretched out her hands.
“Oh no, that’s ok. I can throw them away myself.”
“Give, give.” Rehana insisted. Emil passed her the bones one by one. Rehana took them back in her hand and put them in a drawer. “I will make fried chicken tomorrow. I will need a whole chicken for that.”
“Of course. But as I was saying, do you think it is unkind of me to leave Sania behind?”
“She will be sad.”
“I think she will be sadder with me. Without her father.”
Rehana did not say anything.
“Her father is one of the original patients, you know? I have checked. I don’t know what Mr. O’Gawd plans to do with them. But you wouldn’t know anything about that.”
“Well, it’s late. And I know Inora will wake me up early tomorrow. I’m heading to bed, Rehana.” Emil said, even though he was not sleepy. But he was weary. “Rehana, can I ask you a question?”
“You watch me all the time. Do you think I am happy?”
“You keep coming back here every day.”
“You are happy here.”
“Hmm! I have never thought of it that way. Good night, Rehana. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“I’ll be here.”
Emil went into the toilet, brushed his teeth, washed his hands and wiped them on his shirt since he had packed the towel away. Then he turned off the lights and got into his bed. He was not bothered about Rehana watching him. She had fallen out of his head as soon she was out of his sight. It was not a part of Rehana’s being to be remembered.