|Chapter 12: Revelstone|
"So they pack him off to the leprosarium again. But after getting on the plane--they didn't have planes in his home country, either--he goes into the bathroom as if he had been disinherited without anyone ever telling him why and slits his wrists."
He gaped wide-eyed at his own narration. He would have been willing, eager, to weep for the man if he had been able to do so without sacrificing his own defenses. But he could not weep. Instead, he swallowed thickly, and let his momentum carry him on again.
"And I'll tell you something else about culture shock. Every world has its own ways of committing suicide, and it is a lot easier to kill yourself using methods that you're not accustomed to. I could never slit my wrists. I've read too much about it--talked about it too much. It's too vivid. I would throw up. But I could go to that man's world and sip belladonna tea without nausea. Because I don't know enough about it. There's something vague about it, something obscure--something not quite fatal.
"So that poor man in the bathroom sat there for over an hour, just letting his lifeblood run into the sink. He didn't try to get help until all of a sudden, finally, he realized that he was going to die just as dead as if he had sipped belladonna tea. Then he tried to open the door--but he was too weak. And he didn't know how to push the button to get help. They eventually found him in this grotesque position on the floor with his fingers broken, as if he--as if he had tried to crawl under the door. He--."
He could not go on. Grief choked him into silence, and he sat still for a time while water lamented dimly past the prow. He felt sick, desperate for survival; he could not submit to these seductions. Then Foamfollower's voice reached him. Softly, the Giant said, "Is this why you abandoned the telling of stories?"