Perchance to Dream
Angelo had long ago set up this hideaway for himself. Raines was his puppet master; he could never totally disobey him. But Angelo was also an adult, and he needed time to be on his own to just think without having to respond to others emotions.
Here was the place hed hidden Timmy. Raines didnt know hed found the Timmy DSAs. He didnt know Angelo had read all of Timmys records. Access to the files and the Internet had allowed Angelo to find Timmys family. Raines thought he had been very clever to destroy all of Timmy that lived inside of Angelo. Here, in his private place, Angelo could visit with what remained of Timmy. Here, too, he could just be Angelo.
The DSAs began with the pain that turned Timmy into Angelo. The feelings of others became primary and blotted out everything else, even the ability to speak and to dream the way Jarod did. Angelo had spent time with Jarod, and later with Kyle. He knew what individual feelings were supposed to be. Hed also quietly mirrored the feelings of other people, normal people such as Sydney and the other doctors. As hed tried to discover who and what he was, Angelo had come to the conclusion hed never be fully normal again. He was dependent on the Centre in a way that Jarod never had been. As a child, hed tried to fool himself and hope he could get back home. Once he hit adulthood, that illusion didnt last. Raines and the others assumed he was stuck in childhood, just because he couldnt communicate. That was their illusion. It made them feel better to pretend he was retarded, just because theyd stolen his ability to communicate. Only Jarod had ever acknowledged that he wasnt a fool just because he was forced by science to act like one.
Later, Sydney had tried to help. Hed tried hard, with the drug that helped Angelo's mind to focus. The shots had been slowly remylinating his nervous system. Even though Sydney had failed, his treatment still managed to help. He hadnt lost the curse that made him Angelo, but he had regained part of Timmy.
Angelos hands moved among the files, seeking those DSAs. He watched himself on the screen slowly come to awareness. Sydney had kept DSAs of the treatments Angelo had undergone to restore his mind. Angelo found that if he watched himself regain control of his thoughts, he could actually recover some control even now. He smiled at the image on the screen. Miss Parker had been sarcastic as usual. She wanted to believe that Sydney was wasting his time. As Angelo recovered his senses, he had used the Angelo part of him to read her pain at the realization that Angelo hadnt always been the mute he appeared to be. So he hadnt been able to be angry at her, even with Timmy waking up inside him.
Revisiting his past through the DSAs was a technique hed adopted from Jarod. Hed found that it helped him to remember and to direct his focus. It also let him guess what might happen in the future better than he could have without this means of protecting himself. He guessed what the others might do and made sure he was in the right spot at the right time.
That was one way hed been able to help his friends and to help himself. As things changed in the Centre, it became even harder to know what to do, but Angelo allowed himself to move slowly so that he didnt draw too much attention to any one person.
Angelo had done another thing back then, when hed been poised between Timmy and Angelo: hed taken the equipment he needed and made a tape. Hed searched the Internet for Timmys parents. At first, he didnt know what hed do if he found them. It would give Timmy a place to go, a place to begin a new life. Angelo had hoped that would make everything better again.
When he found a trace of them, it was on a listserv for parents who were looking for lost children. Timmy had been their only son, stolen when he was four. Angelo had the files. The files gave him the data to tie everything together. He was glad he didnt have to ask Jarod for help. This part of him, the Timmy part, was something he didnt want to share even with his friend. Family was good. Family was private.
* * * * * * * * *
Our Lady of Refuge Convent
Emily walked down the familiar white corridors. Every time she came here she hoped things would be different. But, never before had she been willing to risk upsetting the status quo in order to get results. She knocked on a door.
Come in, the Mother Superior answered.
Hi. Im here to see my mom. I just wanted to see if there was any change I should know about before I go visit. Emily said, standing in the doorway.
Please come in and sit down. The Mother Superior sighed. Nothing has changed. Shes our star boarder and the only one who has stayed so long.
Sorry, Emily replied. You do know how grateful I am that youve been able to keep her here.
The Mother Superior nodded. As I said, shes no problem. Many of the people who pass through here are much more scarred than she is, on the inside and outside. But they have somewhere to go and people who can help them be safe in their new lives."
Thanks Emily replied. I really admire the work you do here, helping people who have been displaced."
I just wish we had it in our power to solve your problems.
Im going to try something a little different this time. I cant guarantee it will help, but its time I tried something new. Ill let you know if things change.
The busy administrator returned to her work as Emily shut the door and walked on down the hall. To manage a convent that dealt in refugees and others needing a place of temporary safety required tact, diplomacy, and the ability to let some problems take care of themselves. Margaret was one of the problems which stayed on the back burner precisely because she caused no trouble for any of the nuns or visitors. She was so quiet they hardly needed to remember she was there.
Emily exchanged greetings with the people she knew as she passed them in the hallway. She stopped to tell her mothers primary caregiver, a petite brunette named Mary, that she needed some private time with her mother. She explained that she had permission from the Mother Superior to try a new technique that might help. Mary was more than willing to give them time alone.
Entering her mothers room, she picked up a hairbrush and began to gently brush her mothers hair. She sang, very softly, the childrens nursery rhyme her mother had taught her. Cree craw toads foot, geese walk barefoot.
Catherine, is that you? Margaret asked. The first time shed answered like this, it had startled Emily. But like all the other scary and improbable things that had happened, it had soon lost its power to disconcert her.
No, Mom. Its me, Emily. She walked around in front of her and sat down. Margaret focused on her, trying to reconcile the memory of the infant with that of her grown daughter. After a few minutes, she smiled and put her hand on her daughters hand.
Do you remember when Catherine and I wrote the story? The story in which we used that rhyme?
I remember what you told me, Emily answered softly. You made up a fairy tale, to be told to your firstborn children. The song is a part of the story.
Margaret nodded. And he probably doesnt even remember it. Its been so long since Ive seen my baby. My firstborn baby.
Mom, Ive got some stuff to tell you today. Special stuff. Stuff about Jarod.
Jarod. Is he OK? Margaret repeated. It was as though part of her couldnt quite believe what she was hearing and another part of her wanted to hear even more.
Ive spoken with him. Visited with him. Id like you to get stronger before he sees you. It would hurt him so much to see you hurting like this.
Id like to see Jarod, Margaret agreed. Her hands were clenched tightly and the rest of her body was held stiffly. She couldnt believe in this good fortune. It couldnt be real.
Would you like to see Dad? Emily asked. Mom sounded better. Maybe she wouldnt need to do anything different.
I see him. Every week he comes to visit, Margaret answered quietly.
Thats not Dad, Mom. Its Uncle Max. Emily kept eye contact, and let her hand be stroked.
Yes, thats right, Max. Hes the only father youve got. Margaret often spoke of Max as Emilys father, because Max had served in that role all throughout Emilys teenage years. Margaret had hoped that Charles would contact Max, but that hope had been dashed when the Centre had gotten too close. All three of them had gone even deeper under cover, leaving Charles no way to find them.
No, Mom. Ive got another father, Charles. Jarods father. Try to focus on him. Emily kept her voice calm.
Jarods father is dead. The Centre killed him. They stole my boys and killed my husband. Youre all I have left. This, Emily knew, was normal. Margaret often got confused about what had actually happened and what she feared had happened. She had often refused to believe Emily in the past. Too much had happened that was painful. Margaret had deliberately shut herself off from as much of the pain as she could. Emily accepted that this would happen and remained patient.
Over and over Emily covered the same points. It was going to be like every other time. Margaret wasnt ready to come out of hiding. Emily had one more card to play this time. One more chance to reach her mother.
This was the hard part. Emily didnt want to use Jordan, but he was the only chance of getting Margaret to respond. She pulled from her wallet a picture of the Major and Jordan, taken while skiing. It wasnt the best picture, but it was the one that might reach Margaret. It had a date and time stamp.
Emily placed the picture in front of her mother. Mom, look. Look at this picture for me, please.
Obligingly, Margaret looked down. And gasped. Tears flowed. Its not possible. Theyre dead, both of them.
No, Mom. Dads alive. Truly. Emily kept her tone reassuring.
But thats Jarod. Catherine got me a picture, even when she couldnt get me anything else. That is Jarod or it could be. Couldnt it? Margaret looked so unsure it tore Emily in two.
Its Jarods son, Jordan.
Jarod has a son? My baby boy? Margarets hands shook.
Yes. Jordan is a pretty special kid. Id like him to know his grandmother.
Id like that, she said hesitantly.
Would you see Dad, if he came, too?
Your father? Charles?
Yes. Mom, please. I want all my family to be together. Jarod wants that, too.
Youve seen Jarod, Margaret stated flatly. Her lips moved, mouthing the words not possible. She wanted to believe, yet she didnt dare risk it.
Yes. But youve been ill and I didnt want to hurt him. Seeing his mother in pain would hurt a lot. Emily felt that her mother deserved the truth, even if it hurt. Perhaps that would be enough motivation to keep her connected to reality.
Im sorry. I never meant to hurt you. Margaret cried softly, twin tears running down her cheeks.
I know. But you need to get stronger, so you can see Jordan and Dad and Jarod. You need to be strong so that they dont hurt when they think of you. Emily handed her mother a tissue.
Margaret nodded. Can I keep this?
Yes. Just try Mom. Please?
Ill try. Ill pray. Ill try.
Over the next week Emily revisited Margaret. The improvement wasnt dramatic, but it was more than had been shown in previous years. Margaret recognized Emily. She asked about Jordan and Charles. She managed to focus on the fact that Jarod was alive and well. This was a help.
As Margaret healed, Emily called on Uncle Max to come and help out. Max got Margaret involved in the work of the convent, helping those who could not help themselves. That gave Emily time to slip away and work on the next phase of Margarets treatment. For that, she needed something more than just herself and Max.
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