Dr. Burt was clearly puzzled when the only word that seemed to register with Adeline was “yacht.” Nothing about memories or storms or injuries or even a man’s clothing gave her pause.
There was no “hmm,” or “what are you talking about?” He hoped that he had triggered something but he didn’t want to push her. He waited for questions or comments but none came. She seemed almost robotically uninterested.
“Okay,” he said. “I’ll be back later and we’ll talk some more.”
Adeline turned her back, walked over to the window and casually dismissed him as she said “I’m sure you will.”
Dr. Burt ordered a full body x-ray before he readied the usual daily report for Roy. He expected everything to be unremarkable but thought should it show anything remarkable, it might be useful to coax Adeline’s memory if it revealed something such as a previous broken arm or leg.
While the x-rays were being read, Dr. Burt went back to visit Adeline.
He tried an old psychiatrist’s trick when he casually asked “what shall I call you?”
Many times, the mind will instantly react and the memories will suddenly come back as if a light switch had just been turned back on.
It didn’t work with Adeline. She looked at him and said “what do you mean, what shall you call me? How the hell am I supposed to know what you should call me? Haven’t we danced this dance before?
I don’t know what you should call me. I don’t know what I should call myself. How about ‘the woman with no name’? Or ‘nobody’? Or ‘the foundling’? Or ‘whatever the hell you want to call me’?
A knock on the door put a halt to her rant. Sam, the radiologist peeped in and told Dr. Burt “you need to see this.”
Dr. Burt waved him off but Sam was insistent. It annoyed Dr. Burt but he excused himself and walked over to the door. Holding the x-rays to the light, his only response was “my God. What happened to this woman?”
He told Sam to hold on to it. “Tell the King that I will be delivering the report personally.”
He knew he worked for a drug lord but he had never forsaken his duty to act nor had he abandoned his empathy.
He had never been commanded or even asked to kill. He had made it clear from the beginning that he would turn a blind eye to the “business” but his medical skills were for healing, not ending lives.
Something terrible had happened to this woman. He had already suspected that at some point in her life she had undergone plastic surgery. Only a discerning eye could see the tiny tell-tale traces of scarring in the right places but the injuries shown in the x-rays were the result of something horrendous and he felt overwhelming compassion for her.
Back in the room, Dr. Burt starting seeing Adeline in a somewhat different light. Whoever she was and wherever she came from, this woman had been to Hell and back.
What’s wrong?” Adeline asked, reading his face.
“I was just wondering…about your name. How about for now, I call you Sela,” he said.
“Sela?” she asked. “Yes,” he said. “You look like a warrior to me.”
She smirked and said “you think I look like a warrior?”
Dr. Burt said “yes and let me tell you why I chose that name.”
“This woman named Sela, was a fifth century warrior princess who was the sister of Koller, the King of Norway. She fought with him against King Horwendil and made her mark as one of the bravest warriors in history.”
Adeline said “are you a historian as well as a doctor?”
Dr. Burt smiled and said “I enjoy history as well as medicine. I particularly enjoy tales of feudalism.”
“Hmm. So you want to call me Sela?” Adeline asked.
She repeated it. “Sela. Sela. Okay. I don’t really care for the princess part but I do like the idea of a strong female warrior.”
In that moment, Holly, who had become Adeline, had now become Sela.
To be continued_______________