Day 035: The Perils Of Boredom
Summary: Ruth is pointed in the direction of Dr. Sarah Deborah Kirschenfeld's office for a small, ad-hoc tête-à-tête. They discuss things like death, religion, and The Secret Garden over untouched mugs of mint tea.
Date: 02 07 2016
Related: None
Sarah Ruth 


Dr. Kirschenfeld's Office
Dr. Sarah Kirschenfeld's office is a small one, carved into the rock of the mountain on level three, right near the infirmary. For a literal hole in the ground, it manages to be quite homey, with cozy lighting any plush rugs on the floor. In one corner is an antique wooden desk with papers piled neatly on top, as well as a small collection of fountain pens. Next to the desk is a bookshelf, full of old medical and psychological texts. The main floor area of the room is dominated by a pair of comfortable couches and two matching leather armchairs.
02 07 2149

Dr. Sarah Kirschenfeld's office is a small one, carved into the rock of the mountain on level three, right near the infirmary. For a literal hole in the ground, it manages to be quite homey, with cozy lighting any plush rugs on the floor. In one corner is an antique wooden desk with papers piled neatly on top, as well as a small collection of fountain pens. Next to the desk is a bookshelf, full of old medical and psychological texts. The main floor area of the room is dominated by a pair of comfortable couches and two matching leather armchairs. Dr. Kirschenfeld sits at her desk, looking over some files.

Ruth looks quite different than she did entering the mountain a few days ago; rather than wearing her hair in a messy knot at the nape of her neck, she has taken the time to weave it about her head in a crown braid that makes her appear a touch older than her eighteen odd years. As it stands, doing her own hair is likely her only outlet for exercising use of her hands. Books don't cut it, and she's no artist or musician like others of her Ark family.

A small knock is given the door of the psychiatrist's office, but it's a courtesy that doesn't at all depend on Kirschenfeld's response, apparently. Ruth opens the door before any welcome can be extended. "Hello?" the tall girl greets rather uncertainly, eyes widened slightly as they pan about the room. She looks as though she might be of the mind to fidget with her hair… but unfortunately, it's braided. Alas. "I was told that this was Doctor Kirschenfeld's office?"

Sarah looks up, tucking a strand of her red hair behind her ear. "Hello, yes? I didn't think I had any appointments this afternoon…" She furrows her brow, flipping open her planner.

"No, no, you don't." Ruth steps in, taking Kirschenfeld's answer as an excuse to make herself welcome within the matchbox office. Outside the mountain, Ruth is known to be quite froward. Even though she's suppressing it quite well for the new audience's sake, old habits die hard. "I hope you don't mind. I need to speak to you about something that concerns me." A pause. "Deeply." The adverb is needed, because she can't quite communicate that concern in her tone.

Making sure she has her panic button within reach, Sarah looks the girl over. "You're not one of my patients. Are you one of the… the adolescents? From downstairs?"

"Yes," Ruth offers the woman a quiet sort of smile, tilting her head a fraction towards one of the empty seats. "May I sit down?"

She thinks about it for a moment, but Sarah eventually nods. "Make yourself comfortable. Would you like a cup of tea?" She rises from her desk, putting the files away neatly, and heads over to a cupboard with some mugs and a small electric kettle.

"Yes," Ruth answers with a certain brevity that can only come from preoccupation. Her gaze continues to wander about the room as if in search, but her bland frown suggests that even she doesn't know what she's looking for. "Please," she adds on as an afterthought. She's content to simply watch Sarah after this particular courtesy is offered.

Sarah checks to see if there is water in the kettle, then turns it on. With a small spoon, she fills two linen sachets with dried mint leaves, setting them in a pair of matching mugs. A waxed wooden dowel suspends the sachets in the cups, presumably for easy removal once steeping is finished. With everything set up and the water starting to heat, she looks back to Ruth. "Sit anywhere you'd like," she tells her, walking over and taking a seat in one of the leather armchairs.

"Thank you," Ruth replies easily, taking a seat in the chair nearest the spot she was previously standing. She crosses her right ankle over her left knee, leaning to rest forward on this perch. It effectively makes her a bit less looming height-wise. "I…" She can't seem to find words. The shade of a smile replaces her thoughtful frown - an unspoken apology. "I'm concerned for someone I know."

Sarah sits forward, clasping her hands together over her knees. "And why is that?" she asks, gently.

"His boyfriend is dead," Ruth states. No patience for sugar-coating this is to be had, it seems. "He still has hope." She indicates herself with her fingertips, brows furrowed slightly. "Me, though? The Grou— Outsiders were better equipped for war. We had a trick, but that's all it was." She thumbs at the side of her nose, her expression sheepish as all get out. "War games. I'm glad I never really participated. I wouldn't want that kind of blood on my hands…"

"Back up the train here. You're talking about a lot of different things. First of all, what's your name?" Sarah picks up a small notebook and fountain pen from a side table next to her chair.

"Ruth Mercer," Ruth answers with a surprised part of her mouth, her posture straightening slightly. That curious smile widens. "I've been spoiled. I'm used to everyone I meet knowing my name. The Ark isn't all that big, you understand. It's a pleasure to meet you, doctor."

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Ruth," the psychiatrist replies with a genuine smile. "Most people call me Dr. K, because my name is long and annoying." She opens up her notebook and jots a few things down. "Now… why are you concerned about your friend? You said his boyfriend is dead?"

"Yes. The Grounders killed him and he hasn't gotten past it." Ruth chews on the inside of her cheek, considering the woman and her notebook with the smallest of squints. "What are you writing?"

"Just some notes so I can remember what you're telling me and address the important bits. You can look, if you'd like," Dr. K says, holding out the notebook for Ruth to examine.

Ruth's smile is immediate. She gives a swift shake of her head, hand held out to keep Dr. K from handing over the notebook. "No, it's fine. I didn't mean it in any… you know. I'm just curious." She folds her hands in her lap, leaning back in her seat. "I don't think he'll be very productive here if he's grieving."

"When did his boyfriend die?" Dr. K asks, tone warm and level.

"A few days ago, give or take." Ruth raps out without delay. "Five days, I think."

The kettle whistles and the doctor gets up to pour it into the mugs. "Sugar?" she asks.

Ruth hesitates. "One," she concedes, shifting to the side to watch the woman finish preparing the tea.

The tea is prepared, and Dr. K brings the mugs over, the scent of mint wafting. She hands one mug to Ruth before sitting back down. "Now, Ruth… your friend suffered a huge loss, very recently. It's still fresh and painful. He needs to work through things in his own time," she says gently. "And tell him that if he ever needs to talk to someone, he can make an appointment with me." She sets her mug down, letting it steep and cool before she drinks it. "Now, what do you think are some things you can do to help him?"

Ruth blinks a few times, processing this on her own time. She accepts the mug with a murmured word of appreciation, her nostrils flaring briefly at the scent. "What is this?" she wonders idly, but barrels on as a thought occurs to her to say, "I'm helping him by speaking to you, aren't I? I think being productive will help him. He's painting, but that's only one outlet."

"Were you close with your friend's boyfriend?" Dr K. asks, crossing her legs and picking up the notebook again. Her blue eyes meet Ruth's directly, but not unkindly.

"No," Ruth answers evenly, her fingers tapping along the side of the mug. "We learned together, and we spoke sometimes, but we weren't necessarily close." A guarded frown slowly creeps to replace her gormless half-smile. A sip of tea does well to keep her broadcasted thoughts from sight.

"I know all of you lost friends out there," the doctor says softly. "How has that been affecting you?"

"Of course I'm sad, but I'm not… /that/ upset. I didn't lose anyone like a boyfriend or anything like that." Ruth is generally not one known for her honesty. For any aware of this, though, the matter-of-fact way she makes this claim is not the way a good liar would conceal their thoughts. If this isn't the truth, she's either fake-lying to make the doctor probe deeper - a call for help, if you will - or genuinely trying to conceal something and doing a piss-poor job of it.

"So are you worried that you're not being productive enough?" Dr. K asks her, tilting her head slightly. Her tone isn't condescending, but the question does seem somewhat rhetorical.

"Yes, that sounds right," Ruth admits with a twist of her mouth, her fingers entwined some in her lap. "I like to keep busy. I'd…" Here is where she starts to regain her easy smile. She's back on track. "I want to make sure I can be as good to your people as you've been to mine."

"You're bored," Dr. K suggests with a small smile of her own.

That smile twitches a bit. "Is it that easy to tell?" she wonders, tone wry. She blinks at the doctor's chest, her eyes narrowing a bit. "You are religious."

"I was a teenager myself once, you know," Dr. K replies, her smile widening a bit. Her hand goes to the pendant around her neck. "I am, yes. Are you?"

"Religious?" Ruth doesn't outright scoff at the idea, but she does lean in closer to get a better view of the star. "No… that's silly. We didn't have religion on the Ark. We're the descendants of some of the best scientists of the twenty-first century." She's likely not trying to be condescending. She fails a bit.

"There are plenty of religious scientists," Dr. K points out. "Religion and science don't always have to be at odds. What are your beliefs? Are you an atheist, or do you think there's something out there?"

"The only 'out there' I didn't know on the Ark was…" Ruth indicates the general direction of everywhere with a quick sweep of her hand about the room. "Here. The ground. It was all we believed in, and we knew it was real." She scoffs very slightly. "Eden. Which one is it, then? Islam?"

"Eden? The Garden of Eden?" Dr. K asks, curiously. "In Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, there is a belief — not usually a literal belief, mind you — that in the very beginning, there was a place called Eden where the first humans lived."

Ruth blinks twice. If she's shocked by this little detail, she doesn't immediately let on. "Ah," she exhales, her fingertips rubbing at her jawline. "Interesting. We did have a tree…" She seems, now, a bit hesitant to mention it. She continues anyway. "The Eden Tree. I wasn't one of the people who, you know, watered it… but, um, it was basically this group of people who congregated and expressed their belief that someday we'd make it down here."

"So the hope of Earth was your religion. Interesting. I'd like to learn more about it," the doctor says, making a note in her book. She glances at her wristwatch. "I'm so sorry, Ruth, but I have a meeting in a few minutes. I'd love to talk with you more at some point, if you'd like that." She gets up, completely neglecting her untouched cup of tea. She walks over to her bookshelf and browses for a moment, before taking down a well-loved paperback. "If you're looking for something to keep you entertained in the meantime, maybe you'd like to borrow this? It's called The Secret Garden, and it's one of my favourites." She holds the book out to Ruth.

Ruth rises abruptly from her seat when the doctor does, dipping her head in a nod that only belatedly accompanies her bland answering smile. "Thank you." She accepts it with only a cursory glance down at the frayed volume. "Thank you for your time, doctor. If there's anything I can do to help Cameron, please let me know. I'm not as good with people as you are." She offers the woman a winning smile. "I'll treat the book like it's my own."

"Be his friend and follow his lead," Dr. K suggests. "And try taking care of yourself first, okay?" She gives her a motherly look. "When you come back next time, let's try talking more about Ruth."

Ruth looks down on Dr. K. Honestly, it's not like she can help it; she has a good six inches on her. "Of course," she expresses with an almost cheeky crinkle of her nose. "I'd also like to learn more about your religion, too. This was fun." It was probably not meant to be fun. "Have a great evening."

Sarah walks over to stand by the door to usher Ruth out. "You have a good evening as well. Make an appointment with one of the nurses and I will see you soon."

Ruth hums her understanding and dips out of the room, leaving a mostly full mug of tea behind on a small table beside the chair she recently vacated.

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