From then on, this same sound was often repeated. On some occasions, it would carry to my ears for five or six minutes, while on other occasions it would break off after lasting but half so long. However, the opportunity to ascertain the nature of this sound never presented itself. The patient next door was a quiet fellow. From time to time he would call out softly in the night for the nurse. The nurse, admirably fulfilling her duty, when called once or twice would rouse herself and respond back in a gentle and comforting voice. She would then attend to the patient.
One day, as the doctor's rounds brought him to the next room, he seemed to remain longer than usual. After some time, a hushed conversation began. There were two or three voices, and their talk seemed somehow weighted and slow. Finally, the doctor spoke with words that carried clearly. "You just have to give it time. A quick recovery's not in the cards." Several days later, there were furtive comings and goings in said patient's room. They seemed to be taking great care in deference to the patient. Then the patient himself, like a shadow, was suddenly gone. Only one day later, a new name tag, scribed in customary white characters on a black background, adorned the door post. The patient had left the hospital, and that curious sound remained a mystery. By and by, I too left the hospital. My curiosity, with regard to that sound, faded away with the passage of time.