Confusion filled Richard’s face. Confusion, and then suspicion. “What are you talking about?”
“I’m asking you, have you ever really observed him?”
“No, I haven’t observed him! He’s my brother, not my patient!”
Julia sniffed. “Well, in my own humble opinion, you seem to be treating him like something in-between.” Anger flashed across Richard’s eyes. Julia smiled and raised her hands in front of her, as if to ward him off. “Easy, easy. I’m not saying that you’re experimenting on him or anything. But you want to fix him. Do you understand? Yeah, you want him to get better, but you’re not telling him to see a therapist; you’re trying to come up with the solution yourself. ”
Richard sighed. It was hard to argue with her. She was, after all, right. “I don’t think that means I’m treating him like a patient.”
Julia smiled again and leaned forward, her voice dropping to a stage whisper. “Richard,” she said. “I don’t think you’re treating him like one enough.”
* * *
Julia’s words stuck with him, echoing through his head as he laid in bed at four in the morning listening to Louis whimpering in the other room. Maybe I should tell him he needs professional help.
Maybe I can do something to help him get better.
Maybe I should just put in some earplugs.
Damn it, he’s my brother!
I’ve got work in four hours. I can’t blow off it and class again. I can’t live like this.
He can’t live like this.
Richard sighed. There’d be no more sleep tonight, he knew, and in the room next door, his baby brother struggled in the bony grasp of the Thin Man.