And then, invariably, he would comply.
RESEARCHER: How long have you had trouble remembering things?
But Milner continues riding the night train down to Hartford, spending days at a time with Henry. Her initial focus is on probing the depths of his memory dysfunction, the way experiences seem to slip away from him, leaving no trace. Then she begins investigating whether there are any experiences at all that he can remember.
R: Well, do you think it's days, or weeks, months, years?
One afternoon she sits Henry down at a desk and puts a piece of paper in front of him. The paper has a large drawing of a five-pointed star on it. There is a mirror angled at the star and a curtain over the paper so that Henry can no longer see the star directly but can only see its reflection in the mirror. She asks him to trace the star. It's a hard task for anyone, with any sort of brain, though after a while, with practice, people with normal brains tend to improve their results, mastering the necessary counterintuitive muscle movements. The first time Henry tries it, he performs poorly. But the funny thing is, the next time he tries, he does it a little better. And the next time better still. With each new attempt, he never remembers ever having attempted it before, but soon he's completing the task as well as anyone. Even Henry recognizes the strangeness of this.