When Alicia paused, not knowing how to answer Dorothy's question, she jumped in. "He's what, Alicia?
"I don't know how to describe it. It's like he's not even there. All he does is sleep or sit in the living room and stare of into space with this really weird blank look on his face. He hasn't showered, shaved or changed his clothes. He doesn't leave the house to go to his shop, which is really weird given how much he loves his woodworking. He doesn't respond to any of us.
"We're starting to get worried. Lost doesn't even begin to cover what I'm seeing. I don't know what to do to help him. I want my brother back." She started crying so hard she got the hiccups.
"Alicia, please try to calm down. I understand that you're probably feeling pretty helpless right now. I'd probably feel the same way if I were in your position. However, by calling me and letting me know what's happening with your brother is helping him. You simply don't realize it. Do you think he might talk to me?" Dorothy asked.
Alicia said, "I don't know. You can try. Let me see if he'll take the phone from me." She walked over to his chair and knelt at his feet. "Ethan," she began softly, "Dorothy's on the phone. Would you like to talk to her?"
He slowly looked down at his sister with vacant eyes, his face void of expression. After a couple of seconds he lifted his head and resumed staring at nothing. That was the only reaction she was able to get from her.
"He wouldn't take the phone. He just looked at me for a couple of seconds then returned to staring at the walls." She informed Dorothy, who was silent for a couple of minutes.
"Would you like me to come over and see if he'll talk to me?"
"I don't know if he will, but we would definitely appreciate any help you can give us. He's just...just..." Alicia struggled to find the right way to express what she was trying to say. Eventually she simply said, "Ethan."
"I understand. I'm completely booked up today, but how about 2 tomorrow?"
"Great. We'll see you then. Bye bye." Alicia disconnected the call and went out into the kitchen where Chris and Troy were having lunch. "I just got off the phone with Ethan's therapist. She tried talking to him over the phone, but he wouldn't say a word." She collapsed into the nearest chair. "She's going to come over tomorrow and try to get him to talk with her in person. I hope it works."
"We do too." Chris answered for both him and Troy.
A little before 2 the doorbell rang. Chris opened the door. "Hi. You must be Ms Daniels(?)." Chris greeting Dorothy warmly, extending his hand, which she grasped. "I'm Chris. Please come in." He backed away from the door to allow Dorothy to enter. "May I offer you something to drink?" He asked as he led her into the living room where Ethan sat in his usual spot staring at nothing and smelling like a silo full of manure.
"I'd love some tea, if it's not too much trouble." She said, wrinkling her nose and the funk rolling off Ethan. "When Alicia told me of his condition, I didn't think it was this bad." She told Chris as he went and got her the tea. "Has there been any change in his behavior at all?"
Chris responded with a look of sadness in his eyes, "no, none at all. I just wish there was something I could do to snap him out of it."
"I'm going to try my best, but since he's obviously unable to take care of himself, we may have to admit him to a hospital."
Chris was startled when he heard this. He never considered the possibility of having Ethan committed. "You mean a psychiatric hospital? I don't think I could handle him being there." He said with a shudder.
"No. I don't think at this point that's necessary. Other than not taking care of himself, I don't feel he's a danger to himself or anyone else. I'm talking about a regular hospital where they'll make sure he gets food and fluids. I'm sure he's dehydrated from what Alicia told me. I'm equally sure he's malnourished.
"I'll still be able to work with him, and if necessary I can get help from the hospital psychologist. He needs help dealing with what appears to be a psychological trauma and I feel that a mental hospital is the last place he needs to be. He needs to be in a place where he can be surrounded by family and friends. Let me try and talk to him."
"I hope you can help him because we sure can't."
"Whether you realize it or not, you are helping him just by being near him."
"He's my baby brother and I love him. I've always looked out for him. Hell, we all have. How can we abandon him now when he needs us?"
"Let my see what I can do." She walked over to where Ethan was sitting and sat on a dining room chair that Chris was kind enough to provide for her, ignoring his ripeness. "Hi, Ethan. It's me, Dorothy. Feel like talking?" He slowly turned his head and looked at her. There was a spark of recognition in his eyes before he turned his head back to where it was previously.
For the next 15 minutes she tried everything she could to get a response from him, but no luck. Finally she gave up, rose and walked into the kitchen where Chris was sitting at the table, is right leg jiggling rapidly. "Any luck?"
Dorothy sighed sadly. "I'm afraid not. I did everything I could think of, short of slapping him in the face, but nothing worked. I'm so sorry."
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