Thursday, October 5, 2006

Valerie

She sits there watching her reflection in the window. Her light brown eyes intently follow the birds that squawk terribly at each other. She looks like the statue of femininity. You call her gently.
"Come on, Valerie. Get away from there. You can't watch birds all day long."
But she doesn't even move. You sigh and go to your mother.
"Mom, Valerie isn't going to move. She's staring out the window."
"Well, let her be, Sarah. You know she won't appreciate it if you disturb her."
"OK. Whatever."
But as you leave the room, you have a slight hope that Valerie has moved. But she hasn't. She's still in the same position, watching the birds.

It's the first time in a long time she frets. She's nervous. She doesn't know what's going to happen to her. Sarah had quieted her down with the words,
"Don't worry, Valerie. Nothing bad's going to happen to you. We'll take you somewhere nice and after that, we'll give you a treat. OK?"
And Sarah patted her on her head.
But the mention of the treat didn't calm her. She started whimpering.
"Sarah, go and calm her down."
"OK, fine."
As the mother reached the hospital, Valerie started screaming. As Sarah tried getting her out of the car, Valerie started howling and fighting.
"Calm down! Nothing bad is going to happen to you!"
But finally, the mother placed a bag over Valerie's head to muffle her screams.
"Thanks, Mom. She almost killed me."

"It seems to me that Valerie is suffering from an interesting disease."
"Disease? What do you mean, disease?", wailed Sarah.
"Calm down. What disease?", the mother asked.
"Oh, well, I didn't mean physically. I meant mentally. Actually, it's not a disease as much as it's a problem. You see, Valerie is trying to get away. She's trying to tell you that she needs to be alone. But of course, the only way she can express that is in ignoring you."
"But why does she stare all day out the window?"
"Have you been feeding her properly?"
"She doesn't want to eat. She doesn't touch a bite."
"Have you taken her outside?"
"Well, Valerie has never taken to the outdoors. She's always preferred inside."
"Hmmm. I see. Interesting. Well, all you can do now is to leave her alone, and in time, she will slowly regain her normal self."

"So now, what are we going to do?"
"You heard what the doctor said. We're going to leave her alone."
"But what if she dies of hunger?"
"She won't. She'll know when to eat."

But months passed and still, Valerie showed no signs of regaining her normal behaviour. She ate little and grew very thin. Her ribs were visible and her eyes were sunken. But she still stayed near the window, watching the birds.
"You know, birds aren't that interesting to watch."
"Maybe she should go outside."
"I don't know. I think she would be scared."

"Oh my gosh, she's so cute!"
"Yeah, but she doesn't do anything all day long. It's no use talking to her."
Sarah's friends entered her room and for two hours, "studied". Then, they came out again, giggling.
"It's kinda hot in here, isn't it?", one of them said.
"Yeah, it's burning!"
The girl opened the window and to everyone's astonishment, Valerie sprang out the window, rand to the end of the street, and disappeared around the corner.

When Sarah's mother came and found out what had happened, she calmly said,
"Cats are very strange."

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