Sister Zoe put the latest entry on Melanie's condition into the manila folder and pushed closed the cabinet drawer, which made a doleful "clunk." Not much to write. Melanie had relapsed. Little more to do. The scream she had screamed struck reverberating chords, in Sister Zoe's mind, of doubt. All her patience, all her care in helping the girl rebuild a lost identity seemed swept away—a sandcastle smoothed by one resurgent wave. Professionally, she had made a mistake. It happened—had and would, and though never pleasant, mistakes were ways by which to learn.

But failure, in this instance, could be charged to an intuitive error, and this was why the nun was so aggrieved. Instinct was what had prompted her to make the revelation. The time, she had felt, was right. Yet look at the result. Her patient had drifted back into that no-man's-land from whence she had come—eyes glazed over, attention gone, functioning, but somnambulistically. The regression distressed her deeply. Had she only waited. Had she only realized that the truth was still too fresh a wound for Melanie to acknowledge.

She shook herself. The deed was done. Regretting it would not erase the blame. Perhaps the girl had already improved. She got her coat and scarf, and, bundling up, went out on her morning rounds.


What Sister Zoe...

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