While the man was in coma for six weeks, the girl used to visit him regularily. She never forgot to look first through the glas window, through which every patient of the intensice care station could be seen already from the corridor. Only when there were no signs of other visitors did she quickly slipped in and kissed him on his forehead. His respiratory mask kept her away from trying to kiss other parts of his face. He look a bit wild, it was obvious that the clinic nurses did not had enough time to shave the patients every day or comb their hair. She used to carry some refreshing towels with her and at least could wipe away the grit from his eyes and the sweat, that despite the air-conditioned atmosphere always collected on his forhead. Of the refreshing-towels she had a large stock, collected on a flight home to Stockholm, for which he had erroneously booked her a regular SAS-flight instead of the Ryan-Air she used to buy. Because he then refused to accept money from her for this overprized flight, she decided to steal as many items from the SAS-company as possible, among them were hundreds of refreshing towels. Now, more than 2 month after this flight, they could finally serve for a good purpose, although their smell was cheap and she always had to splash a fair amount of an aftershave on it, that she had bought for him the day right after the accident.
Having finished this bit of cosmetics, she took his hands and talked to him about the progress of her project. She had refused to accept any other supervisor after his accident, and told everybody in the university that she discussed with him all issues of gene mapping in outcrossed mice and of the thyroid-hormon regulation long before the accident and that the thesis were in principle ready. In reality, however, she still had many questions to ask him, and this she did while visiting him in the clinic. The personel of the intensive-care unit was happy about any visitor seeing a patient. They had modified the strickt german rule for visiting-times in hospitals a long time ago, when a young neurologist had explained them that without exposure to the diurnal cycle, as it is clearly the case in coma-patients, a person adopts its own circadian rhythm that runs out-of-phase relative to the normal day-and-night cycle. It lags per day about 11 min relative to the normal day-and-night cycle, and this would cause the patient after several weeks to run its internal sleep-and-wake-rhythm completely asynchronous to the external time. The doctors were initially sceptical about this apparently very theoretical assumption. But they agreed to give it a trial and allowed visitors to see the coma-patients round the clock. Only when they recognised that the patients clearly benefitted from visitors coming day and night, they decided to drop the old law.
Therefore, the girl used to come to the clinic whenever she had a problem during her scientific work. While she sat next to him, grabbing his hand and explaining what she wanted to know, she frequently observed that behind his closed eye-lids a rapid movement started. She once had prepared for her MSc course a scientific talk about this so called REM-sleep, during which sleep goes through a shallow phase and vivid dreams happen. She remembered that neurological studies concluded that these short phases of REM-sleep were essential for processing the empirical memory into long-term fixed experience. It serves to build an integral image in our brain of the world around us.
And every night while we sleep, the observations and experiences from the last day are checked and evaluated and trimmed during the REM-phase to fit them into the already existing integral conception of the world. In one of the review articles the author used as an allegory for what is happening during REM-phase sleep the computer-game thetris, in which single bricks of various irregular shape fall down onto a pre-existing odly shaped wall, and where the player has quickly to decide how to turn around and shift the falling bricks to the left or to the right in order to find a matching place for each of them on the wall. Once the new brick has been fixed on top of the wall, it is now part of the entire building and itself determines how the next falling bricks have to be twisted and shifted to integrate them, too. What she did not know, it was merely the sound of her dark voice that caused the intense mental activity in his brain, the sound of her voice activated a much stronger and complex neuronal processes than the simple scientific questions. In his integral concept of life and world, incorporating 49 years of personal experience, the dark sound of the girl voice together with her full curly hair and her blue-eyes were a rather new experience, in terms of the tetris game they came very late on an almost finished wall of thousands of earlier memories. Albeit the late occurrence of the impression she made on him, which started just 5 month before the accident, they shook up his entire pre-existing system of judgements, values, and goals. And this struggle of the fresh and vivid pictures of her - his memory recalled them immediately after hearing her voice - with the very established system of fixed intellectual values resulting from more than 4 decades of experience, was clearly visible by very intense REM-activity.
The girl, however, thought that in his mind he was arguing about issues of her scientific project, and that he might have severe objections about her interpretation of the genetic experiments. The more she was relieved when she came home after the visit and found on her e-mail account a message from an unknown sender, called "firstname.lastname@example.org", who in every detail discussed to her the questions she had asked the man in the coma-station an hour ago. These letters by e-mail arrived now almost daily. They always started with "Dear Mrs. F." and finished "Take Care, yours radius of the persian cat". Who was the person writing them remains unclear till now. Was somebody from the clinic personel listening to her talking to him, and now made a joke to her ? But where from should this person got her mail-address ? How could it be that the messages always arrived in her mail-box not later than one hour after she left the hospital, does not matter whether it was 9 o"clock in the morning when she visited him before work or 11 o"clock at night, when she could not sleep and felt the desire to talk to him. Although the emergency-station was always open for her, the nurses and doctors seemed to change a lot. There was hardly anybody among the personel whom she saw more than two or three times, let alone anybody who was there every day and night over a period of 6 weeks. Some details of the messages let her assume, that a person with a minimal knowledge of their relationship must have been the sender.
Her persian family name F. was known at least in the institute, and he once threatened her for fun to call her always Mrs.F, unless she ceases to call him Dr. R. He mentioned that although it would be against the rules in the institute to call each other by last name, he liked the idea to refer to highly adored person as Mrs. F. The second detail of the messages were the strange senders identity, radius of the persian-cat. Persian cat would clearly refer to her background, but there were not many people knowing this. He asked her already very soon after they met the first time on the glacier of the Zugspitze, where he gave lectures to her course during a four-days retreat in the Schneeferner-Haus. There he said that she does not look very swedisch and asked if she would accept three guesses. After the first two guesses were wrong (later he agreed that she had neither the sharp face contoures of greek woman nore the full lips of the jewish), he was finally right in trying "Persia". It was also up there on the glacier where she recognised a scarf along his left wrist, and was told that this stems from a skying-accident two years ago, during which he broke his the radius bone. Of course, "radius of the persian cat" could have a lot of alternative meanings, could be that a cat draws a circle around her belly using her tail as a brush, or it could have a zoological meaning refering to the territory that a single persian cat occupies. Or it could describe the distance, over which a person nick-named Persian Cat attracts men.
Who ever was the sender of these e-mails, the parts refering to her science project were always so clearly written that some of them she just copy-and-pasted into her thesis. To satisfy the rules of scientifc honesty, she mentioned help from "radius of the persian cat" on the top of the acknowledgements. The thesis were given a grade of distinction by the board of reviewers.