Her fingers were always poking at something unseen. Lots of mental patients have ticks. It helps make sense of things, Mickey’s doctor once told me. They count the tiles on the ceiling, how many times their eyes blink each minute. They count their toes over and over again just to be sure all ten are still there. My girl, her tick compelled her to tap invisible objects in the air with forlorn grace, as though she were orchestrating some bitterly sorrowful waltz on a transparent piano. Her eyes, which might have once shone a glassy blue, were small stones of slate gray fixed on one invisible spot nailed above that flying piano. Her mouth was drawn into a severe line as she jabbed away at the air.
What does she see in front of her?
As though she were part of the conversation, Mickey turned her stony eyes sharply toward me. “In case you’re wondering,” she said smartly, “even though it’s none of your business…I’m writing a story.”
Mickey’s eyes turned back to her composition.
“You’re not in it.”