Part 13 – Two in the Morning

I had been walking around aimlessly for two hours when I realized I was on my way to David’s place. I didn’t stop. I continued.

It was very dark; there were clouds in the air and no moon, and no street lamps by the gravel road that lead up to Sinclair Manor. I stepped into a puddle. I swore. I was cold enough already. Why did Easter always bring such bad weather?

I didn’t go to the door, but the left side of the house. I stopped by the first window, put my hand in a knocking position, and stopped.

Should I be doing this? Shouldn’t I just go home? No, I couldn’t, and I couldn’t just keep walking around all night. I was freezing, and I had to sleep somewhere. My hand moved decisively, and knocked.

The curtains moved a little, and then a hand came through them and opened the window. David’s face appeared, his eyes half closed, his hair in the air.

“Nikki?” he asked confused, trying to see me with those tired eyes.

“I’m sorry to wake you,” I said. As soon as I said it I realised my voice had the obvious tone of someone who had been crying. I tried to make it sound more normal. “I had a fight with my aunt, and I couldn’t stay there. I would have gone to Charlotte’s house, but …”

“Come in,” he said before I could finish, opening the window fully and giving me his hand. He helped me climb inside and closed the window. Then he put a thick blanket around me. I kicked off my shoes and huddled myself on the end of his bed where I had sat on Easter, my back against the wall. He turned on his lamp and put on a t-shirt. He had only been wearing pyjama pants. He sat opposite me, smiling kindly.

“You OK?” he asked. “You look very cold. Do you want me to make you some tea, or hot chocolate?”

My teeth were glaring, but I shook my head. It would probably have done me some good, but the thought of putting anything into my stomach made me nauseous.

“Thank you, I’m fine,” I said, drying a tear I hadn’t noticed was still on my cheek. “This is good.”

I huddled myself a little bit more together. David put his feet under the covers.

We were silent for a while, he looking at me, a little concerned, me looking into space, thinking about the evening.

“I went to see my mom today,” I said, my voice still sounding a little like someone who had been crying. David smiled.

“How is she?” he asked.

“She’s better,” I said. “I talked to her doctor. He thinks it would be good for her to come home for a few days, perhaps a week. See how it goes. He says she’s so much better, she can soon come home altogether, and just come see him two or three times a week. She would have to take some antidepressants, but the ones she is taking now have been very good for her. She told me so herself, they don’t make her sick like the ones she was taking before did. She’s even laughing a little.”

David had probably realized why my aunt and I had fought by now, but I told him anyway.

“The thing is, for that to happen a legally independent individual will have to stay with us, at least at first, and my aunt is the only one who could possibly do it. Of course she won’t.”

I was getting warmer, and talking about this made me feel better, so I just kept talking.

“I really like her doctor,” I said. “I went to see him before I started to convince her to sign herself in. She had stopped laughing and eating like she used to and started staring into space more than two months before that. Then she threw some sort of a tantrum at work, accusing a few of her colleges of killing the world. She was forced to take a leaf of absence. Then she stopped eating on her own. I had to make her do it. And she just stared. She didn’t talk to me anymore. The doctor told me he had heard about her tantrum. He knew about her past, and he thinks that, although she did a lot of good when she was working with doctors without borders, she probably saw a lot of bad things too, and for someone who is so passionate about helping the world, things like that must have eaten at her. So he thinks she must have blocked the memories out, or at least one memory of something really horrible, and something reminded her of it. He told me a lot of people went a little crazy after remembering things they had blocked out. It’s not good for anybody to do something like that, but sometimes our mind just takes over to protect us from the pain. He also told me some people never recover from something like that, and that mom might be staying with them for a long time.”

“You still convinced her to sign herself in?” David asked. “What if they had never wanted to let her out again?”

“As I said, I liked her doctor, and he promised me that he would try to help her as long as he was still a psychiatrist. Besides, I knew what depression could do to people, and I was afraid she would hurt herself … or even kill herself.”

I was getting warm now, but it wasn’t just because of the blanket. My eyes were burning, and then I started crying again. I hid my face in my hands, trying not to let David see. I felt it enough of an intrusion to knock on his window at two in the morning, but to start crying my eyes out was too much.

Apparently I wasn’t very good at hiding my tears. I felt David sit beside me, and then he put his arms around me in comfort. It felt nice. He was warm. He rubbed my back.

“Sometimes I’m afraid my aunt will never let me get her out of there,” I said through the tears.

“You turn 16 one day,” David said reassuringly. “She can’t stop you then.”

I looked at him. For the second time in my life I froze, staring in his eyes. Then I kissed him. Three seconds passed, and then he kissed me back. He put his hand under the back of my head and kissed me warmly. Then my eyes broke and I started crying again. I bowed my head, ashamed of how I was acting.

“I’m sorry, I …”

He put his hand on my cheek for a moment.

“Shhh, don’t,” he said softly. “Lie down, come on.”

I lied down on my side. He lied down beside me, facing me. He put the covers over us and put his arms around me. He held me very tight. I felt his warm body and embrace, and I felt safe. There’s something indescribably comforting about another person’s body close to you, holding you. I let all my sorrow out, and cried myself to sleep.

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