Jamie Hertz jumps off the school bus one recent afternoon, runs into her house, whisks by Danny, her 11-year-old brother, and heads to the refrigerator. "Where's the soda?" she asks her mother. A can of soda and a bag of candy in hand, Jamie runs upstairs. She is agitated. Her shoulder-length brown swings in the air as she shakes her head.
A bribe of more sweets entices Jamie downstairs. A hug calms her. Arms around her mother, Jamie sits on a couch in the living room of their Rye Brook home.
Ruth Magied sits down at the piano in her Midwood apartment and dives into Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.” Her fingers lightly, fluently, dance over the keys.
The music stops after a few minutes and Magied stands up. She turns from the piano, the instrument that filled her childhood, to the topic that occupied her adolescence — pain.
“Pain,” she says, “can destroy your brain. It’s like having four root canals that never go away. It’s like having someone hitting you over your head with a frying pan.”