While the other patients would be done in ten to fifteen minutes, she would be there for at least an hour. Partly because, on any given day, she was probably the only sane person he’d get to have a conversation with.
He really liked listening to the story of the first time she had had the attack; just when she was getting out of the rose garden. The startled vendors and other people ran away, stared from far, scared of her. Traffic stopped because she sat right in the middle of the road to weep and moan, howl and wail.
She spoke of the rose garden in other contexts too. In fact, she spoke of the rose garden, a lot. Every time she spoke of it, her eyes gazed into the distant nowhere and her voice went calm and she would trail off the middle of a sentence. She had said that she actually felt really good every time she went to the garden. The moment she stepped out of it, however, she’d have the worst attacks she had had.
As a doctor, he knew all this was just coincidental and had no clinical value. As her friend (could he call himself that?), he knew that there was a genuineness in her voice. As a curious person, he felt that there was something in the rose garden worth exploring. He wouldn’t be able to have his peace of mind if he did not go to the rose garden, himself.