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  • Patrick Rizio

ANSWERS

Our particular species of primate has always been "askers of questions", and throughout our history we've come up with several different ways of answering them. Some good, some not so good. The better answers have advanced the human condition. The not so good answers have either not helped, or slowed, or even reversed our advancement. The thing to remember is that magic has always been among the worst of answers.


Now, on to chapter 21


When the receptionist raised her eyebrows, they just ignored her. “The Doctor will see you now,” she said. They quickly walked past her into one of the examination rooms. She turned from her desk and spoke to the nurse at the filing cabinet.

“Honestly, some people.”

“I’m sorry?”

“These people have no idea how backed up the Doctor is. I mean really. They called this morning, insisting on an appointment today. Said it was an emergency, that they had to see the Doctor. Then they come in and, I mean, you saw them just now. Did it look like they had an emergency to you? I mean really. Some people.”

The nurse returned her attention to the filing cabinet. With her face turned away from the receptionist, she looked towards the ceiling. “Yea, some people,” she said under her breath.

Twenty-two minutes later, Doctor Franklin Prabhu Singh, was at his front desk, ordering brain scan tests for his young patient. “I want these scheduled as soon as possible.”

“Yes Doctor. Um, that’s for the Wilson girl?”

“Yes Miss Clemons, Jenny Wilson,” he said loudly, obviously a bit flustered.

*******

Jason took a sip of coffee and put the cup down on the end table. Alison had not touched hers. He moved closer to her on the couch and spoke softly.

“Sarah has grown, mentally, more than we, more than I, expected. Not more, that’s not the right word. What it is, is, that she has grown, evolved, in a different direction than I expected...No, that isn’t quite right either.”

He was uncharacteristically stumbling through his words. Alison had never seen him do this before. It was not helping her nervousness.

He continued.

“What’s happening, is that Sarah is growing in all the ways I always expected she would, but she is also branching out. Evolving in ways I never anticipated. I should have seen this coming. When she started helping you with Mozart, I really should have seen it.”

Jason stood up and started pacing as he talked.

“I am so thick headed sometimes. I can’t believe I didn’t see this!” 

Alison patted the couch next to where she was sitting.

“Come here and sit down. We can’t talk with you jogging all over the room you know.”

“Right. Sorry,” he said as he sat down.

“Jason, when Sarah first elevated my intellect, so that I could understand Mozart, you said there is nothing more benevolent than love, and that me being relaxed allowed Sarah to lift my mind. Like one car battery charging another.”

“Yes, I did, and that is exactly correct.”

“OK. But what I don’t understand is, how does that apply to the girl in the cafeteria. She was hardly relaxed at the time. And there couldn’t have been anything like love between her and Sarah. I mean, she had never even met the girl.”

“I know. That’s what I was talking about when I said Sarah was branching out, that she is evolving in several directions.” Now he was staring at the floor and waving his hands again. “I just can’t believe I didn’t see this in her before.”

“Stick to the subject at hand,” Alison said. “There will be plenty of time for you to beat up on yourself later.”

Jason unwrinkled his brow. Alison was right of course. Enough self indulgence, back to what was important, Sarah. He took a deep breath, exhaled slowly, and continued.

“Sarah was fascinated by this girl when you two sat down. They are about the same age, and she has parents who love her. Sarah could sense that. So, part of her identified with this girl right off. Yes, by the way, that is how she sees herself now. Anyway, because of this, she became totally engrossed in watching her.” Jason paused. “When Sarah focuses that strongly on something, well, we both know how formidable that can be.”

Alison thought about that for a moment.

“But she’s been exposed to other kids her age in school. Some of whom have very loving parents. Why did this girl affect her so strongly?”

Jason smiled.

“Think about it.”

“You mean because she’s epileptic?”

“Sarah goes to a math and science academy for gifted children. The only kids she spends time with are gifted students. Anyone, especially a girl her age, behaving in way she did, was bound to get her attention. It’s just how her mind works.”

Alison thought back to how engrossed Sarah had been with the whole scene involving the other little girl.

“She really was totally absorbed. I started to get embarrassed. I mean, this girl’s poor parents were trying to deal with their daughter’s seizure in the middle of the cafeteria, and Sarah wouldn’t stop staring. But Jason, what about how she calmed the girl down? How could she connect with someone that out of control?”

Jason poured himself another coffee and continued without drinking it.

“OK. Sarah identified with this other little girl the moment she felt her parents love for her. She was fascinatedby the girl’s condition. Also, Sarah simply wanted to help this girl when she sensed her predicament.”

“OK. But…”

“The reason Sarah could help her was the epilepsy.”

Alison’s eyebrows moved closer together.

“I really don’t know where you’re going here.”

Jason stood up. He started slowly walking back and forth. Not nervous, just energetic.

“What happened, was that once Sarah connected with this other little girl, because of her condition, she gave it her total concentration, 100 per cent. Normal humans don’t have that ability. Anyway, that was all it took.”

They both sat silent for a few moments.

“But, first Sarah elevates my intellect because of love,” Alison reflected. “Now she elevates another little girl’s intellect, because of her interest, and this girl’s special condition. What’s next? I mean, will she, does she...have the ability to do this for everyone?”

Jason responded quietly.

“I believe that as Sarah grows, because of the amount of interaction her brain is capable of, that her intellect may very well experience an emergence.”

“An emergence?” Alison asked.

Jason slowly took both of Alison’s hands in his, holding her gaze intensely.

“The human brain has billions of neurons, each with thousands of connections. This kind of interaction is the most complex thing that we know of in the universe. It is because of this level of complexity that sentience emerges. I believe, because Sarah’s brain is such a quantum leap in complexity, that she will eventually experience a new emergence in intellect.

It took Alison about a half-second to understand.

Jason and Alison hugged her very, very tightly, both aware of the implications.

*******

Dr. Singh looked at the test results spread out on his desk. He was a skilled neurologist, with a very successful practice, and not used to being at a loss for a diagnosis.

The Wilson’s had been most insistent. They were quite sure they were not mistaken about their daughter’s behavior that day in the Planetarium. Dr. Singh had known them professionally for several years now, and they always conducted themselves as intelligent, and loving parents. He found it hard to doubt their word. However, spontaneous remission of an epileptic seizure was something that he found very hard to accept.

Every new test indicated no change in Jenny’s condition. They matched her previous tests exactly. She was in the same condition as when he had last seen her. There was simply no explanation for what Paul and Cathy Wilson had told him.

They would be entering his office in a few minutes, and he had nothing to tell them. This would prove unacceptable to the Wilsons. Jenny’s epilepsy, along with her debilitating shyness, had caused her to become incredibly withdrawn. They had experienced, even if for just a moment, real communion with their daughter. They loved their little girl so much. Their hearts felt broken. And they desperately wanted her back.

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