(2530-08-17) Simka Speaks
Summary: A mute child talks and a blind vicar sees
RL Date: 17 Aug 2020
Related: Link to Logs with triple-brackets around log:full-log-title, and put a space after each link including the last. Don't use pipes in the link. If you have no related logs, say None rather than leaving this blank.
michael finnegan 

<Eavesdown Clinic>
At this small hospital, the medical staff is trying their best to help people with very limited means. There's a reception/triage desk for those hoping to see a doctor and a waiting area littered with plastic chairs. Posters on the wall remind people to get their regular check-ups and vaccinations.

Through a set of swinging double doors is the main, open room of the clinic. The charge desk at the center creates a gathering point for staff, where they discuss cases with each other or work on one of the two cortex terminals available. Three full exam rooms line one wall, equipped for emergency medical situations. Opposite those are a few specialized rooms: one for the part-time dentist, and another small room with equipment for ear and eye exams. There is a break room for the clinic staff, and various storage spaces. A walk-in closet with a securely locked door holds the clinic's supplies of drugs and expensive equipment. A hallway leads off to the patient ward.

It is a summer day. The weather is hot and drizzling.


So, whatever Finnegan was doing in Exam One takes a while. Meanwhile, a pale, gaunt lady whose hair is falling out comes in, attached to a small child. Suzie greets them, "Louisa. They're ready for you in the back. Simka. You're going to play with Jude today, but until he gets done with all the chores Nurse Wu gave him, you can just stay here with me and Father Michael, okay?" This is an interesting mix; the man who can't see and the child who doesn't talk. Can they communicate? Little emaciated blonde Simka shakes her three-year-old head.

Michael doesn't actually mine standing still in one place for a little bit. It's cool in here, and it's hot out there. Michael listens as new people come in, head tilted in the general direction he can hear them from. Suzie's greeting and comments to the pair has him turning further in their direction. "Simka," he murmurs. "'tis a beautiful name, that." His voice is softer than before, gentle.

Simka is the type of child who, having been raised by a poor, single mother, has been passed from person to person for childcare, so has no sense of reserve when it comes to strangers. As her mother tells her to be good for Suzie and Jude, then walks off down the hall to the radiology room, the tiny thing attempts to slip her hand into Father Michael's, looking up at him curiously. Suzie stands up and starts to come around the desk, "Oh, let's not bother Father Michael. I think I have a puzzle somewhere you can put together. Would you like that?"

Michael lets that hand slip into his with no problems at all. He had, at some point, folded up his white cane stick thing, so that gets set atop the counter. He places his hand there and uses the solidity of the counter to help guide himself to crouch beside Simka. "'tis alright, Suzie," he says. His hand is warm and big and knows just how to be a proper reassuring hold. "Simka, my name is Marcus. I know, everyone calls me Michael. 'tis because me father and I share the same name." His voice remains that quiet, almost reassuring sort of sound. "Only me family and very best o' friends call me Marcus. So Simka? 'twould be me very greatest honor if ye would do so as well."

Suzie stage whispers, "Simka doesn't talk, Father Michael. Nobody knows why," in that way people have of talking in front of children as if they can't hear or comprehend. Simka, for her part, just holds onto his hand like a little lady bug who's landed, with no real inclination of flying off again.

Michael tilts his head toward Suzie. He considers her for a moment, and then shakes his head. "Simka talks," he says, squeezing the child's hand. "'tis simply not in words. 'tis okay, though. I can talk aloud enough for the both o' us." He has dropped his hand from the counter now, the free hand, that is, and lowers it to the floor to ease his way of going all the way down, so he can sit beside Simka. Crouching for very long tends to make the legs go numb and that can lead to all kinds of undignified things! He winds up sitting cross legged with his back against the desk, and starts simply… talking. A story. "Once upon a time there were three bears who lived in a house in the forest. There was a great big father bear, a middle-sized mother bear and a tiny baby bear."

Simka lets her hand fall from Father Michael's so she can use it to make the man's go flat, palm up. With her other hand, she draws a circle in his palm. Right about that time, Finnegan comes out of Exam One and is told that Louisa is in Radiology, waiting for her. "Where's Simka? she asks, unable to see them behind the desk.

Michael falls quiet for a moment as his hand is moved. There's no resistance, but when the circle is drawn there, he smiles. "See? I knew ye talk," he says in a gentle tone. He continues to hold his hand flat with the palm up if the child wants to draw anything else there. Though he can't see Finnegan when she comes back, he can hear her. "Simka is here." Trying to tell him something, clearly, but he's got no idea what it might be, yet.

Finnegan comes around the edge of the desk, "What are you doing on the floor? You didn't lose consciousness, did you?" Simka brings two little fists side to side, the rolls them apart. "Broken? What's broken?" Simka points to Michael and does that same sign. "Father Michael's broken? Ooooh. His eyes are broken." Simka touches one of her eyes with a finger, poking a little harder than she meant to, and makes the sign for broken again.

Michael looks fully awake and aware, but looks can be deceiving! He shakes his head. "No, I'm fine. Simka took my hand, so I brought it closer to her." He listens curiously, and then smiles. "Aye, me eyes are broken." He tilts his head toward Finnegan. "What does a circle mean? On me palm?" Maybe she knows! He's certainly clueless at this point. Still willing to listen, though, and maybe, hopefully, learn to understand.

Finnegan says, "I don't know. Simka, do you know what it means?" The solemn child nods. "What does it mean?" The solemn child thinks. Suzie returns to her desk because, while this is fascinating, her phone thing is ringing. There are a few motions by the child and then Finnegan says, "I see. Well, what did you say to him?" At this, Simka does an enthusiastic sign and hops, once, so pleased with herself. Finn can't help but chuckle as she explains, "I think… she made it up. She says she has to talk with her hands so you have to see with your hands, so she was talking to you. She says it means, 'hello.'" Because, in a 'verse where the adults who speak the same language can't figure out how to communicate, a mute child can, in seconds, come up with a whole language to share with a blind man.

Michael sits quiet now, listening. To Suzie go pick up the phone, Finnegan talk, and Simka hop. That last makes him smile. Hopping is usually a good sign! He nods to what is explained. "Aye, she's right." He turns his head toward Simka, though of course his eyes don't exactly look at her. "Hello ta ye too, Simka. I'm very pleased ta meet ye," he says. He tilts his head toward Finnegan, curiosity in his expression. "Does she use names, when she's talkin' with her hands?" His hand is still palm up, but it has come to rest on his knee now. It's hard to hold an arm up for an extended period of time. "If she does, I said she should call me Marcus. 'tis what me very best friends call me."

"I don't really know. She's just learning. She has a sign for her mother, and one for me. I think I saw her doing one for Jude last time she was here. I think she was calling him white, because of his bleached hair. Is that right, Simka?" The child nods. "Name signs are typically made up. Simka, Father Michael wants to know what you will call him? What's his name?" Oh, the intense look on the child's face as she studies Michael. She looks down at her hands, trying to remember the sign she wants. She brings each forefinger to touch the thumb of the same hand, making ok signs. Tucking the two "circles" together, she's left with three fingers standing on each hand. It almost looks like she's trying to make a shadow-puppet deer, but then she separates the hands. Finnegan has to dig deep to remember what that one is, "My sign is not very strong, but I'm pretty sure that means stick."

Learning is good, so Michael nods. "Ah, that makes sense. The signs bein' made up, I mean." He can't see the signs being made, so he simply waits and listens. And at the end, smiles again. "'twould make sense," he says. "For me stick." He unfolds his legs and then gets them under him so he can stand up. It's a relatively easy process, but he stands there with his hand on the edge of the table for a moment until the stiffness of sitting still like that eases a bit. "Simka, 'tis a pleasure ta meet ye," he says, offering his hand toward where he last remembers hearing the child, with the hopping. "I'll remember the circle means hello. Doctor Hill, I'll call first thing tomorrow ta check in. Suzie, 'twas good hearin' yer voice again. Good day ta ye all." He gathers up his stick and finds the handle, then drops the rest beside him, to his right. It unfolds with the soft sounds of plastic on plastic and settles into the stick shape when it's done. Then he makes his way out.

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