Chapter 4: The Talk
Gods, why is there commotion so close to me? I open my eyes and realize that I am laying on the couch. Jeez, how much time has passed?
“No, you can’t talk with her. You have corrupted her enough!” My dad yells at Samantha. I can’t see her, but I know he wouldn’t say that to anyone else.
Thump. Thump. My heart skips a beat. She’s here. For me.
“She needs help. Can you not see that?” Samantha pleads in her Romanian accent. I’ve missed hearing her speak.
Wait…I don’t need help.
“She’s doing just fine. She’s actually been doing better this week than she has been in the last month, no thanks to you.” He spits back.
“It’s not my fault she’s like this. She left on her own.” Samantha says.
How can it not be her fault?
"If she left on her own I’m sure she wouldn’t be like this.” My dad says.
“She’s not doing better. My god! Open your eyes. She is starving in front of you! She is like the living dead. She is in a euphoria of starvation. I’m sure she seems better because she has stopped caring about everything.”
“Don’t you dare use the Lord’s name in vain like that in my house.” Mom shouts from behind my father.
What is she saying? Why is Samantha saying those things?
Don’t listen to it. She doesn’t know what is going on. No one does. You are perfect. You don’t need anyone else. I can keep you safe from all further pain.
“She is not starving. She may be a little thin, but she’s still going strong and doing okay.” My dad defends me.
I am strong and okay. I am good. I am in control.
“Open your eyes before it’s too late. You’re going to lose her. If you don’t do anything to help her, I will. I think I’m the only one who truly cares for her!” Samantha shouts back at my dad.
“How dare you say that to us. Leave now before I call the police on you. If you ever step foot on our property again, you’ll be spending the night in jail!” He shouts and slams the door in her face.
I hear his footsteps and pretend to still be sleeping.
“Good, she’s sleeping.” My dad kisses my forehead and walks away.
She cares about me still. She said that. I do want Samantha back.
But you can’t be hurt again. You won’t be hurt again. You’re the only one who can keep yourself safe. Stay in control.
I drift off again with the ongoing battle in my head.
A week has gone by and there has been no sign further of Samantha.
I’m relieved because I battled with myself for a couple days, but now I’m back to normal again.
My routine is like clockwork. It’s time for me to finish up feeding the animals and head into dinner.
I reach the barn and I’m hit with a surge of weakness. Man, I must be overdoing it today.
I sit on the stool just inside the door. Man, I’m really exhausted. A little nap before dinner should help.
I close my eyes and enjoy the darkness.
“Ily….” A male voice keeps calling for me. Why are they so far away?
I try to speak but my mouth won’t move.
“Come on honey….”
I try to motion my arm to signal that I can hear. However, my body has refused to listen to any command I give it.
I succumb to the blissful blackness again.
“How long has she been out?” A familiar voice speaks.
“Just over a day. The doctors say she should wake up anytime now. Her levels have been stable for 24 hours now.”
Jack. He’s here. Talking to. Who is he talking to? Dad. It’s dad.
I try twitching my finger. It worked…I think.
“Ily, Ily, can you hear me?” Jack says.
“Her finger twitched again.” She shouts with excitement.
“Please wake up honey. I’m sorry I didn’t catch that you were this bad sooner.” My dad pleads.
“Open your eyes Ily.” Jack encourages.
I attempt to move my eyes.
I fail and succumb to the darkness again.
‘It’s okay Ileana. You can be happy with me.’ Samantha says. She’s wearing a white wedding dress, standing in the middle of a dandelion field.
‘I know I can.’ I respond back.
‘Come be happy with me, My Pet. We can live out our days in happiness together.’
‘Yes, My Queen. Anything for you.’ I grin ear to ear and take a step towards her.
‘Marry me, My Pet.’ Samantha softly demands.
‘Yes, My Queen.’
‘Take my hand. We’ll go just over this hill.’
We spin in a circle and a hill appears to the right of us.
‘This hill. Come quick. It’s almost time.’ She beckons.
I follow her to the base of the hill.
‘Wait a second…this isn’t real. You left me. You’re not real.’
‘Of course I’m real. If I wasn’t, could I do this?’ Samantha kisses me. I forgot how great she tasted. the pressure of our lips together causes my heart to beat faster.
‘It’s time to go now.’ Samantha reminds me.
‘As long as you’re with me, I’ll be okay.’
I follow her up the hill.
“Honey, can you hear me?”
I wake up to the sound of mom’s voice.
I open my eyes and immediately shut them. Gods, who turned on the interrogation lights.
“She’s up! She’s up!”
“I don’t want to be.” I groan. For the first time, my voice and mouth listened to my commands. Please put me back to sleep. Give me back to My Queen.
There is no going back. She is not your queen any longer. You are the only one who can save yourself from further pain. You are strong. You are in control.
“Honey, I’m so glad you’re okay. We’re going to get you help. You’ll be okay from now on!” My mom says and hugs me.
I don’t need help. I’m okay. I will be okay.
“Hey, Ily. Please reach out to me if you need help.” Jack comes into view.
“I’m fine guys. I’d just like some water though.” I respond to all of the attention.
“We should get the doctor.” Her dad suggests, leaving the room in search of him.
Please go back to sleep. That was the first good dream I’ve had in forever.
“Glad to see my patient is up and well.” The doctor states, entering the room.
“I’m kind of thirsty. Can I have some water?”
“I’ll do you one better, how about some juice and toast.”
No, I don’t want that. I can’t refuse though. So many people are watching me intently.
“Okay.” I say.
“Thank god. We will work on a quick recovery. Especially if she’s eating already.” Mom is ecstatic, I see the joy written all over her face.
“It will be anything but a quick recovery. Ileana, how are you feeling?” The doctor hands a few pamphlets to my parents.
“I’ve heard you went through a tough break-up. How are you feeling about that?” He asks softly.
I think back to when I felt the effects of the break-up regularly. “Hurt and probably depressed.”
“From what I gather, you have been eating, but not nearly enough. I’m going to send you home with an antidepressant called Prozac. I also recommend you see a psychologist to help you overcome obstacles. Since your levels have been stable for a few days now, I’ll be comfortable releasing you tomorrow. Remember to take care of number one here.” He smiles and points at me.
“I will. Thank you.” That was pretty painless. What am I going to do now? I just want to go home. I’ll be better out of the spotlight. You can do this. It’s only a day.
“Thank you so much doctor. I won’t let her out of my sight. She’ll continue to get better every day.” My mom takes charge of the room as the doctor leaves.
God mom. I do not need a babysitter. I was fine before, I’ll be fine again.
The juice and toast arrive. Everyone is impatiently watching me to see if I eat.
I struggle to open the jelly pack. Why is the open tab so tiny? I’ll just have plain toast. If they see me eat, they will leave me alone. Then, I can work on myself again.
“I got it, honey.” Dad opens the jelly and spreads it on the toast for me.
You got this. It’s just 2 pieces of toast and a juice. You don’t even have to keep it in you for that long.
I grab the toast and see everyone holding their breath. As I bite down I see them all exhale in unison.
It takes me almost an hour to finish. The whole time everyone was trying to make small talk. No one knows me. They don’t know.
“I need to go to the bathroom.”
Mom rushes to my side, “I’ll help you.” She gathers my IV and helps me to the bathroom.
“Can I have privacy?” I ask her to leave.
“Sure honey.” She turns around and waits.
I guess she’s not going to leave.
I quickly pee and get back to my room.
“I’m going to sleep now.” I say, not wanting to engage with anyone anymore.
“Okay honey, we love you.” Mom and dad tuck me into the cold hospital bed and turn the light out.
Just do what they say, so you can leave. I have to get back on track.
I close my eyes and try to sleep.
The hunger is no longer there to distract my mind from wandering to Samantha.
What was she saying to my dad. I can’t believe she’d come to my house after how they treated us. What was it? She cared...how could she care for me. Her actions don’t justify what she did to me.
I dive deeper into my mind.
I didn’t actually see them kiss though. I turned away. What if I misinterpreted the whole thing? No...I couldn’t have. That doesn’t account for why she was so happy. She was happy with him. I could see that clear as day.
I rerun that night over and over until I drift off.
I’m awoken by metal wheels screeching on the floor. The nurse was preparing my dinner. I have to be careful when I return. I will have to eat a little more, not much though. I don’t want to return back to the hospital. I have no options when I’m here.
“Are you sure I can’t go home tonight?” I ask the nurse.
“I’ll have to ask the doctor. You should work on your food and I’ll be back shortly.”
Maybe if I eat most of this by the time she returns, I will be able to go home sooner.
I reluctantly eat the bland hospital food. There is a hard roll that I had to dunk in the bowl of some cream based soup.
I slowly eat and hope to leave.
By the time the nurse and doctor arrive, there are only a couple bites of soup left.
“Your appetite is promising. I’m sure you will be able to leave. I’ll have to speak with your parents about care first.”
Why does he need to talk with them? I’m an adult. I could just leave and they can’t do anything to stop me.
The doctor finishes talking with them, then turns to me, “I think you will be okay to return home.”
Thank the gods.
“This is so wonderful. My baby is all better and ready to come home!”
Mom and dad pack everything up. I couldn’t get out of there soon enough. As we make our way through the corridor, I see Samantha in the general waiting room.
What is she doing here? Wait...is that Jack next to her? Why is Jack next to her? Did he betray me also? This can’t be happening.
Jack runs over to us. “I’m so glad you’re well enough to get out.”
“What are you doing with her?” I question angrily.
“Ily, there was a big miscommunication between you two. You need to hear her out. I know you’ll be ecstatic when you do.”
You don’t need anyone but yourself. You don’t need either of them. Who cares if it was a miscommunication? You can be happy again and never have to worry about hurting.
“No. I’m going home.”
“I’m so proud of you Ileana. I knew you’d see the error of your ways.” Mom says.
What is she talking about? Samantha wasn’t an error. It was real, but it ended. But I don’t have to feel that pain ever again.
I choose to ignore my mom again. She doesn’t understand anything about me. Mom and dad happily escort me home.
I return to my previous ways before the hospital. Now I have more control and I won’t ever end back up there.
I no longer have to work on the farm, mom helps dad by going to the market some days. The days she is home with me, I make sure to eat just enough to not be suspicious and then take laxatives to clear it out of me quickly.
I shut my phone off permanently. There is no one I need to talk to besides myself. I’m doing great.