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  • Patrick Rizio

Chapter 9



Author Patrick Rizio, (at left), comparing notes with the curator of the Einstein Museum, Bern Germany.







The Einstein Museum is actually the apartment where he and Mileva lived from 1902 to 1905, and where he worked on the Theory of Special Relativity. An incredible place to visit!


Now, on to chapter 9.


The waitress brought one coffee and one tea. She put them on the table and asked again if the couple wanted anything else. When they said no, she quickly wrote out the check without any expression, and left it in front of the young man. She figured without meals there wouldn’t be much of a tip, and she had other tables to work.

The two just sat there, sipping their drinks for a minute without talking. Both feeling calmer, relieved that Sarah was all right. Smiling that goofy half smile of his Jason spoke first.

“Did you catch the look on that nurse’s face when we all started smiling? She must have thought we were bonkers.”

“Oh yea, complete nut cases,” Alison said smiling back. “Come to think of it, I seem to get that a lot when I hang around with you.”

Jason sat back in the booth, and put both hands out, palms up. “What can I say? Some people can paint.”

Alison rolled her eyes and took another sip of tea. Then she reached out, taking both of Jason’s hands in hers.

“I really want to thank you for getting to the hospital so fast. I was scared, and it felt good having you there. I know how much it meant to Sarah as well.”

Jason looked down at the table, then up into her eyes, squeezing her hands gently.

“Any time. Any time at all, I’ll be there.”

Alison squeezed Jason’s hands back. They sat there silent, for several moments, staring into each other’s eyes.

The waitress appeared out of nowhere, breaking the mood.

“You folks want more coffee? More hot water for your tea?”

“Oh, uh, no I’m good,” Jason answered. “Did you need more hot water?”

“No,” Alison said softly, as she continued to look into Jason’s eyes, ignoring the waitress. “I’m fine. I’ve got everything I need right now.”

*******

She was dressed in a black conservative business skirt, with matching blazer, white buttoned up blouse, and black two-inch heeled shoes. Her posture was perfect. She carried her briefcase in her left hand, and her right one only moved slightly when she walked. Her hair was cut short, to need little maintenance. She disliked her job, it was below her, but to admit so wouldn’t be professional. She was here to talk to Sarah. She was here to talk to the teacher in charge when the incident happened. She had already talked to the doctor.

The Department of Human Services needed to know why a seven-year old child under their charge had required hospitalization. Such things made for negative publicity, the last thing a cash strapped agency needed right now. A report would be turned in, and it would be meticulous. Her superiors would find no mistakes. If needed, blame would be assigned to those who were responsible.

“As I’ve already told you, she was being tested for pattern recognition and math skills,” Alison explained. “She has exhibited higher than normal aptitude in these areas. “We were just getting started when she fainted. The paramedics were called immediately.”

“And, how long before they arrived?”

“About ten minutes.”

“And they were unable to revive the child, is that correct?”

“Yes, that’s correct.”

The room seemed unusually quiet for the next thirty seconds. Alison remained seated with her hands folded in her lap.

“Miss Russo,” the woman asked as she shifted through her papers, “you teach art is that correct?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“How long have you been with the orphanage?”

“I started last summer. After volunteering with the kids during summer quarter, I decided to come back, just part time. I teach two classes per week. It’s really the only art program the school has.”

“Yes, very commendable I’m sure. How is it then you would be testing math? Wouldn’t that be left up to a mathematics teacher?”

“Teachers proctor students in all areas of study Miss Rankin, not in just the subjects they teach.”

“What about the other children, did any of them have any physical problems during the testing?”

“There were no other children being tested.”

“Is that the usual procedure?”

“No, it’s not. But Sarah is a most extraordinary child, which is why I recommended the testing in the first place.”

“Oh, so you recommended the testing,” the woman said, jotting down notes on her clipboard.

“Yes, I did, but of course you already knew that.”

The woman in black had no reaction. She just kept on writing. After a minute Alison spoke up,

“Look Miss Rankin, I know you have a job to do, and I can appreciate that you do it very efficiently. I’m not quite sure what it is you’re looking for, but I assure you that everything was handled in a most professional way.”

“I can see that it was, Miss Russo, and my report will state so. It will also include the full doctor’s report.”

“The doctor said Sarah was fine.”

“What the doctor said, was that he was unable to find anything wrong with her. The fact that the child just passed out doesn’t bode well for her.”

“What do you mean?” Alison asked.

“The girl not only has no parents, Miss Russo. She has no next of kin. She is a permanent ward of Family Court, under the jurisdiction of the Department of Family Services. As such, she is attended to with the goal being adoption. Being seven years old means her desirability has already narrowed. People want babies. Having an undiagnosed health problem on her record will not help.”

Alison was careful to hide her happiness at hearing this.

“Oh yes, I see what you mean,” she said looking down. A few moments passed. “If there isn’t anything else, I do have a class to teach?”

“Nothing else. I have all I need here. Thank you for your time.”

The woman in black made no effort to stand or shake hands. She just kept on writing. Alison felt as though she had just been dismissed.

She also felt terrific. It seemed everything was going her way lately.

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