September 13, 2016

In Which Rina Fulfills the Genuine Answer

May 1, 1202

"Thank you for all your help this whole time." Adonis began about half a minute after Rina sat down. She'd been at the bank all morning, but she'd opted to use her lunch break to check in on Dora and her family. Dora's husband must have thought that to be a larger gesture than it actually was. "You and Severin and Thetis."

"It wasn't a problem. Friends do that." A lesson she'd learned later in life than one ought to have, which was perhaps why it stuck so fervently. She also knew what it was to be ill and bedridden, and how little help it was when the best of the people around resorted to avoidance. "Thetis said she was breathing better?"

"Yes. She's still asleep, but it's a peaceful, healthy sort of sleep. Your husband says she'll be well when she wakes, at least in body." Dora's own husband sighed at the incompleteness of that assessment. "I worry about what he might mean by that, though."

"Well... there's still the memory issue, isn't there? That, and I don't think it's unusual to be stressed and agitated after recovering from an illness; there's a feeling of needing to catch up with life after essentially rejoining it."

"Hmm. I suppose that makes sense." But Adonis just drummed his fingers against his leg, enlightened but not reassured. "I just... God. I just want her to be well, you know? Healthy, and happy. I'd pull the stars from the sky if that would make her better, and I hate knowing that there's nothing I can do to help and probably a thousand ways to make her feel worse."

A thousand ways to make her feel worse. Rina knew how that felt. But, she also knew that many of those ways were more about intent than anything else. "Just be there for her, Adonis. She knows that you care about her; as long as you give her no reason to doubt that, you'll help her more than you know. I know that loving isn't always enough, but sometimes it is."

"I should hope so. Sometimes it's all we have, isn't it? Like now." A scuff of his boot against the floor took that bitterly. "Do you think she'll be all right, in the end? More than in body, I mean?"

'Think' wasn't always the best word at times like these. It wasn't a question for the mind, or at least not for their minds. How would they even know, necessarily? If Dora cared to, she could hide her misery beneath a mask of content for fifty years yet, and no one would know the difference.

A genuine answer required a different verb. "I hope so."


1 comment:

Van said...

Next on the agenda: sleeping. Lots and lots of sleeping.