Ves and The Good Doctor - Episode 1, Part 3

Posted: Thursday, October 27, 2011 by Matt Xell in

When Jake got home from work, Mardri told him about Ves’ poor performance at school. Jake immediately called Orem Church Orphanage and spoke to Miss Twisty who understood everything Jake told her and arranged a meeting with him and Mardri for Monday afternoon when she would explain everything. She told them to bring Ves along with them of course.

Jake and Mardri agreed that whatever bad news Miss Twisty had for them they were still going to keep Ves. They loved him too much already to give him back. They were just going to cope with whatever they were told and take responsibility for it, because that was the kind of family they were.

After dinner, Mardri went to do some laundry, Jake sat in the living room with a bowl of popcorn to watch a sports game on TV and Ves and Julie were in their playroom. Ves was sketching his toy truck whilst Julie sat cross legged with a large dictionary in her lap, a newspaper and a pencil in her hands, solving a crossword puzzle.

“I’m really good with words,” she told Ves in a show-off tone.
“Oh?” said Ves absent-mindedly.
“ Yeah. I’m going to participate in the National Junior Spelling Bee Championship in three months. I’m going to win.” Julie said.
“Oh,” was all Ves said again.

This annoyed Julie.

“It’s no wonder why the kids at school are always saying bad things about you,” she said.

Ves slowly looked up from his sketchpad. Julie smirked, glad that she had his attention.

“They say there’s something wrong with you,” Julie said.
“Something wrong with me?” Ves asked.
“Yeah, up here Julie,” said pointing at her scalp, “in your head. Mentally.”

Ves frowned. He looked away from Julie and continued his sketch.

“It’s not just the kids. The teachers think so too,” Julie continued. “It’s true isn’t it? There is something wrong with you.”

Ves ignored her. His head gave a sudden throb and it started to sting. It was late … and he knew it was that time again.

“Only Mom and Dad seem to think you’re okay, naively treating you like some new toy. But they’re going to find out sooner or later then they’re going to throw you away just like a broken toy,” Julie said.

Ves gathered his pencils, sketch pad and toy truck and stood up to leave but Julie got on her feet as well and went to stand by the door with folded arms.

“Where are you going?” she asked him with a smirk.
“I need to go to sleep, I – I don’t feel good,” Ves said, a hand on his aching head.
“But I’m not done telling you what the other kids were saying about you,” Julie sniggered.
“Tell me later – tomorrow.”
“ But you just have to hear what they’re calling you now. They’re  saying you’re a retard. That’s a really bad word for people who are mentally damaged … people like you.”
“ Please – get out of my way,”
“ Retard … there I said it too, because that’s what I think you are as well.”

Ves let out an exasperated groan and tried to get past Julie but she moved to block his way. He tried again and but he couldn’t get past her.

“Get out of my way!” Ves said angrily, his head stinging terribly now.
“Retard – retard – retard,” Julie began to chant.

Ves dropped his sketchpad, swung his red truck at Julie, and hit her in the face. She let out a shriek and started to cry.

Jake heard this and rushed to the playroom.

“Daddy! Ves hit me in the face with his truck!” Julie wailed.
“What? Ves is this true?” Jake asked.

Ves was standing with his back turned to Jake and Julie, with his hands on his head, grabbing at his hair.

Jake walked towards Ves, Knelt down beside him and turned him around.

“Ves, did you hit Ju–?”

Jake suddenly broke off as Ves fell forward into his arms, his eyes rolled back into the back of his skull.

“Wha – what’s wrong with him daddy?” asked Julie who stopped crying abruptly.
“I think he’s … fainted,” said Jake, a confused expression of his face.

Mardri walked into the room a moment later and saw Julie holding a hand to her bleeding nose and Ves passed out in Jake’s hands.

“What’s going on here?”  she asked in an alarmed tone.

At the sound of her voice, Ves stirred awake.

“Jake … Haylen?” he said in a whisper.

“Yes. Are you alright?” Jake asked.
 “My head …”  he groaned.

Jake stood up and carried Ves out of the room.

“Please take care of Julie, I’ll put Ves to bed,” he told Mardri.

Jake made Ves drink a glass of water before laying him on his bed and tucking him in.

“How does your head feel now? “Jake asked.
“… Better,” Ves whispered.

“Good, get some sleep you’ll feel a whole lot better in the morning.” Jake said, getting up from the bedside.

He was just leaving the room when he stopped and turned back to ask Ves:

“Why did you hit Julie with your truck?”
“… I did what?” Ves replied.
“You hit Julie in the face with your toy truck,”

Jake frowned.

“You don’t remember?” he asked.
“No …” Ves said.
“It happened just a few minutes ago. How could you forget it?”
“I …don't know”

Ves closed his eyes.

“I’m sorry … if I hit Julie,” Ves said. “It was a bad thing to do.

Jake stared at Ves for a while, a puzzled expression on his face. Soft snores told him that Ves had fallen asleep a short while later and he left the room.

*    *    *

The following day the Haylens had a friend of theirs, Jonathan, who was a medical doctor, examine Ves to determine the reason why he had fainted. Jonathan, couldn’t see anything wrong with Ves, he told them that Ves was perfectly fine but that they should let him lie in for a day and drink lots of water. He told them to call him if Ves fainted again and he would be at their home as soon as possible.

And so Ves spent the whole day in bed. He spent all this time scribbling in his sketchpad. Mardri who was the most concerned brought him breakfast, lunch and a glass of water at the turn of every hour and checked up on him often.

At 6 o’clock in the evening, the Haylens left the house to see a family movie that Julie had been frantically waiting to see for months. They left Ves in the care of an old woman named Joyce who was their neighbor’s mother. Ves was told to call for her if need he anything.

Ves went to sleep shortly after the Haylens left. He woke up an hour later and sat in near darkness, the only light there was came from a children’s night lamp plugged in the wall. Ves hated the thing; apart from the way it was made to look like a jester’s head, it was faulty, flickering on and off continuously sometimes.

Another hour went by and Ves started to feel hungry. He wondered if the old woman downstairs had been instructed to bring him some dinner. Would he have to go down and ask her for something to eat? No, he decided against that … he didn’t want to meet her, he couldn’t even remember her name anymore.

That night lamp started to flicker on and off again to Ves’ annoyance. He would have done his best to ignore it were it not for that buzzing sound it was making that day. No, it was more than annoying and he couldn’t stand it anymore. He got out of bed and went to unplug it from the wall. He placed his hands around it and pulled but the lamp seemed to be stuck. He pulled and pulled for a whole minute but stopped abruptly as sparks begun to issue from the lamp. He backed up slowly and picked up the baseball bat that was at his feet, and made a fatal mistake, swinging the bat at the lamp.

Joyce was watching an antiques show on TV when she smelled the smoke. She heard Ves running down the stairs coughing, the baseball bat still in his hands.

A second later, the fire alarm went off and the fire, which had come from Ves’ room, was making its way rapidly down the second floor hallway.

Joyce screamed, grabbed Ves and carried him out of the house.

A fire truck arrived 10 minutes later by which time the fire had consumed a half of the house. The Haylens arrived 5 minutes later … they were absolutely devastated.

*    *    *

Wender returned to Orem Church Orphanage after her two months suspension. Miss Twisty called her into her office and explained that the Haylens had returned Ves back to the orphanage.

“The Haylens have been kind enough not to press charges against the orphanage for withholding information concerning Ves’ spectrum disorder, which is what their lawyer advised them to do,” Miss Twisty told her. “The church will, of course, be compensating them for the damage done …. May the Lord bless their souls.”
“I … I’m so sorry,” Wender said on the verge on tears.
“Yes … I’m sure you are,” Miss Twisty said. “And I hope that you’ve learned your lesson.”
“Yes ma’am,” Wender nodded.
“Good. You may leave,” Miss Twisty said.

Wender stood up bowed to Miss twisty and left her office.

At lunchtime, she went to see Ves who she found seated alone on his bed in one of the boys’ dormitories, playing with two pieces of string.

“Good afternoon, Ves,” Wender greeted him.
“Hello,” he replied dully.
“It’s a bright sunny day outside, wouldn’t you like to go out and play with the other kids?” Wender asked Ves.
“No … I’m busy,” Ves replied.
“Really? What are you doing?” Wender asked.
Ves didn’t answer her. A minute later, he noticed that she was still watching him and said:
“I’m … teaching myself … how to tie my shoe laces.”

Wender smiled.

“And how’s that coming along?” she asked.
“Good,” Ves said.

He tried to ignore her hoping that she would go away eventually but she stayed and watched as he put the pieces of string aside and bent down to tie the first crude knot on his right shoe. He smiled, apparently proud of himself.

He looked up at Wender and said:

“George the caretaker showed me lots of times how to tie this knot but I always forget. But I’ve … I’ve been leaving myself … clues so I can remember this,”
“Clues?” Wender said

Ves now attempted to tie his other shoe’s laces.

“Tell me more about these clues,” Wender said, carefully.

She half expected him not to answer her but he did.

“The clues …” Ves said, “help me … help me keep track of a lot of things that I forget not just how to tie my shoes,”
“And what are these clues?” Wender asked.

Ves didn’t answer. He had an expression on his face that told Wender that he was contemplating on whether to tell her or not. Then very slowly, he pulled up the left sleeve of his jersey to reveal several red cuts on his arm. Wender gasped in shock.

“Each ... each cut that I make … helps me remember certain things. The pain triggers glimpses … fla – flashes of things I forgot … that help me remember. I figured it out while I was staying at the Haylens.” Ves said.

Wender was in too much shock to speak, breathing hard and fast.

“This one here … is for remembering my last name … this one here is for your name … these are for finding rooms like the bathroom, the playground, the dining hall and … I think these are for remembering breakfast, lunch and dinner … I sort of forgot about all those places while I was staying with the Haylens,” Ves continued.

Wender suddenly grabbed Ves’ hand and hurriedly walked him out of the dorms and took him down the hall towards the infirmary.

“…The cuts are only good for several days … because they heal, but if the cuts are deeper the memories last a little longer. So I decided to make bigger cuts for important memories,” Ves continued with an odd fascination for his own discoveries in his voice tone.

Wender suddenly stopped, turned to Ves and slapped him hard across the face…. She put a hand over her mouth, realizing what she’d just done. She’d never hit any of the orphans before … nor anyone in her whole life.

“I’m sorry … so sorry,” she said. “But - don’t ever purposefully hurt yourself like that again, do you hear me?”

Ves didn’t say anything but momentarily he nodded. Wender took him inside the infirmary and bandaged his cuts.

*    *    *

Wender slept restlessly that night. It was of all the guilt she felt that kept her awake. The guilt of disobeying Miss Twisty and putting Ves up for adoption, the guilt of leaving out the documents detailing Ves’ spectrum disorder from the file she gave the Haylens and the guilt of hitting Ves that afternoon when he’d showed her the cuts on his arm.

All she had wanted to do was help Ves. How could things turn out the way they had?

She gave up on sleep and sat up in her bed and turned on the lamp at her beside table, picked up Ves’ file and read and re-read it all through the rest of the night even though she’d practically memorised it; she had gone through his file more than any other caretaker in the orphanage, looking for any small detail that would help her reach Ves.

She knew that children with autism spectrum disorder where very dysfunctional, but she’d always felt differently about Ves. In her heart she’d always suspected, even though proof was evident, that spectrum disorder wasn’t the problem.  That there was something about him that she and the other caretakers were missing, something elusive and yet so obvious.

She’d often called the church doctor who’d been assigned to the orphanage to help with more extensive details about Ves’ condition but he never told anything more than what was stated in the file. She always got the feeling that this doctor was hiding something; he was always so nervous when Wender asked certain questions, and he would not give her any information on the psychologist who’d diagnosed Ves, claiming that this information was classified.

There was just this mystery about Ves that went beyond his spectrum disorder and she knew that Miss Twisty was the ‘keeper of keys’ of this mystery; no one else was more protective of Ves. But she would never talk, it would be pointless for Wender to even ask her.

Wender pulled the photo of Ves from his file, held it close to her face stared at it for a while …

She sighed, closed her eyes and shook her head.

No, she was not giving up that easily. And as he lay down to sleep, she decided that the first thing she would do the next morning was to find her own psychological doctor, the best that money could get, to help her fully understand Ves’ condition.  She just had to know who Ves Asirin really was …

To be continued ...