Wednesday, September 5, 2018

the last book I ever read (Columbine by Dave Cullen, excerpt twelve)

from Columbine by Dave Cullen:

Patrick Ireland was trying to learn to talk again. So frustrating. The first couple of days he couldn’t manage much of anything. He struggled to spit out a single sentence, word by word, and when he had finished, it often made no sense. In his best moments, Patrick spoke like the victim of a severe stroke: slow, labored attempts would produce a single guttural syllable, then a sudden burst of sound. He could form the words in his words in his head, but few made the passage to his mouth. Where did all the rest go? Any chance distraction could hijack the thought as it made its way to his vocal chords. Random phrases often slipped in to replace the ideas. His mom would ask how he was feeling, and he’d answer in Spanish, or recite the capitals of South American countries. His brain was never aware of the mix-up. He was sure he had just described his mood or asked for a straw, and was confused by her confusion.

Patrick’s brain tended to spit out whatever was in short-term memory. He had been studying the capitals just before the shooting, and recently returned from Spain. Often the memories were more immediate. Hospital intercom announcements were constantly echoing out of Patrick’s mouth, in response to unrelated questions. He had no idea he had even heard the voices in the background. Other times it was complete nonsense. “Picture-perfect marsupials” kept popping out. No one knows where that came from.

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