Typing Test


Oberon shouted at him, but by the time Titania entered the room, warned by Radish that Oberon was about to beat the changeling, Oberon had joined him in the game, putting a toy shovel in his teeth. Titania laughed, and it seemed to her in that moment that she had two hearts in her, each pouring out an equivalent feeling toward the prancing figures, and she thought, My men. They were not allowed to go home. It was hardly time for that, Dr. Blork told them. The boy was barely better at all. This was going to be a three year journey, and they were not even a week into it. They would have to learn patience if they were going to get through this. They would have to learn to take things one day at a time. "I like to take the long view of things," Titania said in response, and that had been true as a rule all through her long, long life. But lately her long view had contracted. Even without looking ahead into the uncertain future, she always found something to worry about. Oberon suggested she look to the boy, and model her behavior after his, which was what he was doing, to which she replied that a child in crisis needed parents, not playmates, to which he said that that wasn't what he meant at all, and they proceeded to quarrel about it, very softly, since the boy was sleeping. Still, she gave it a try, proceeding with the boy on one of his daily migrations through the ward. Ever since he had been feeling better, he went for multiple promenades, sometimes on foot and sometimes in a little red buggy that he drove by making skibbling motions against the floor. He had to wear a mask, and his I.V. pole usually accompanied him, but these seemed not to bother him at all, so Titania tried not to let them bother her, either, though she was pushing the pole, and had to stoop now and then to adjust his mask when it slid over his chin. The ward was almost the ugliest place she had ever seen, and certainly the ugliest place she had ever lived. Someone had tried, some time ago, to make it pretty, so there were big photographs in the hall of children at various sorts of play, and some of these were diverting, she supposed. But the pictures were few. In other places on the wall, someone had thought to put up bas relief cartoon faces, about the size of a child's face, but the faces looked deformed to her eye goblin faces and they seemed uniformly to be in pain. The boy was not allowed to wander beyond the filtered confines of the ward, so they went around and around, passing the posse of doctors on their rounds, and the nurses at their station, and the other parents and children making their own circumnavigations. The boy called out hello and beeped his horn at everyone they met. They called back, "Hello, Brad!" or "Hello, Brian!" or "Hello, Billy!," since he answered to all those names. People all heard something different when they asked his name and Titania replied, "Boy." She walked, step by step, not thinking of anything but the ugliness of the hall, or the homeliness of Dr. Blork, or the coarseness of Dr. Beadle's hair, or the redness of the buggy. There is no past and no future, she told herself. We have been here forever and we will be here forever. These thoughts were not exactly a comfort. She considered the other parents, staring at them as she passed, remembering to smile at them when they smiled at her. It seemed a marvel to her that any mortal should suffer for lack of love, and yet she had never known a mortal who didn't feel unloved. There was enough love just in this ugly hallway, she thought, that no one should ever feel the lack of it again. She peered at the parents, imagining their hearts like machines, manufacturing surfeit upon surfeit of love for their children, and then wondered how something could be so awesome and so utterly powerless. A feeling like that ought to be able to move mountains, she thought, and then she wondered how