Someone spoke her name. She rose, passed him the cane she’d been holding. She sighed when the command came, and bent over his table.
He had sounded bored, resigned, as if her humbling and her pain were utterly unimportant. As if he would find punishing her tedious. She knew he was acting.
But so in a sense was she. She had, to some extent, left the scene: her mind was elsewhere, or nowhere. All this was an enactment, a ritual. It was happening in a dream.