A Sisters' Tale/C5 A Bit of Apprehension
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A Sisters' Tale/C5 A Bit of Apprehension
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C5 A Bit of Apprehension

Just a few months shy of turning eight; Patty was past the age of being jealous of the expected arrival of their new family member. In fact; ever since first hearing that her mom was pregnant … and; that she'd finally be getting a younger sibling … Patty was thrilled; and, couldn't wait to greet her new baby brother or sister. She would exuberantly claim to everyone she ran across that would listen to her...

“I'm gonna be a big sister!”

Unfortunately, about seven months into the pregnancy; that happy mood of the approaching birth had significantly altered … except for Patty; who was allowed to remain blissfully ignorant, for the time being … and, became one of worried anxiousness. The results of the amniocentesis showed signs indicating that the baby may possibly have Down's syndrome.

When Katie was born, she was immediately tested; and … thankfully … found not to have that condition. Her birth once again became a happy occasion … one to be reveled in and celebrated.

But … unfortunately … that happiness was short-lived; and, that worried anxiousness had once again returned. Katie was diagnosed with having severe autism. And, even though Patty had no concept or understanding about Katie's infliction, at that time; she could tell that there was definitely something wrong with her baby sister.

Katie was way more listless than any other infant Patty had encountered; and, hardly ever responded to any stimuli … whether it be sound or touch. No matter how much cooing or caressing Patty showered her with; Katie never showed any reaction to it. It was as if her new baby sister was nothing more than a baby doll that just remains motionless until its owner moves it about.

And, as the months … then years … passed; the situation had never really improved much, either. Although Katie started moving about by herself; she was still listless most of the time. She still had very little reaction to stimuli; appearing to be in an almost trance-like state, most of the time. And; Katie had never uttered a word during her entire life, thus far.

Basically; in a nutshell … due to her autism … Katie, for the most part, remains unresponsive and unable to properly interact with people; making her appear detached and void of emotion towards everyone around her. And; herein lies the main cause of the growing rift between these two estranged sisters.

Patty had always dearly loved her sister … she still does to this day; despite the seemingly unavoidable distance between them … but, because of Katie's non-reciprocal sisterly attachment; Patty constantly felt frustrated and hurt by the heart-disconcertingly, painful dejection … albeit unintentional and unavoidable. And, when Katie was inevitably admitted into the institute a little over two years ago; Patty kind of gave up trying to bond with her sister … mostly due to the fact that she had no idea how to reach out and communicate with Katie … so; Patty rarely visited Katie at the hospital.

But, today … Katie will be returning home.


Throughout the entire school day … in truth; ever since learning that Katie was coming home … that shameful guilt, which had been repressed deep down within her heart, has been gradually re-emerging; and, gnawing away at Patty's conscience. She's experiencing rising trepidation and apprehension about having to go home and face Katie; whom, in Patty's mind, she had essentially … and wrongfully … 'abandoned' these past two years.

Patty appears to be lost in her thoughts … heavily contemplating; while slowly ambling along on some sort of auto-pilot guidance system … as Kelly and Samantha accompany her home. Patty had been silent during most of the way back … unlike her besties; who were incessantly chattering all along.

They're heading down Patty's block; when Patty suddenly stops, and blankly stares ahead. Both Kelly and Samantha look to see what's caught her attention.

Parked on her home's driveway; there's a minivan bearing a sign which reads … WILSHIRE CHILDREN'S INSTITUTE FOR BEHAVIORAL & DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS.

Patty's displaying a stoical expression; as she remains blankly staring at the minivan. Kelly attempts to draw her attention...

“Looks like Katie's home.”

Patty aloofly responds, “Yeah.” … while continuing to blankly stare at the minivan.

Kelly and Samantha briefly look to each other … then; Kelly attempts to carry on a conversation with their seemingly detached friend...

“So … are you okay? You want Sam and me to go in with you for some moral support?”

Samantha interjects, “Yeah … just think of us as your own personal cheering squad.”

With her eyes still fixated on the minivan; Patty languidly replies...

“No … that's alright.”

Then; seeming to have a little more 'life' return back into her, Patty faces them...

“You guys go on, and get your pizza...”

Patty pulls out the infamous reading list from one of the books she's in her arms; then, slightly smiles...

“While you still have some free time.”

Kelly and Samantha look down at the sheet of paper in Patty's hand; then, look back up at her face to deliver a quick grin. Patty glances back over at the minivan; then, looks back at them...

“It's okay … I'm good. Thanks, anyway.”

Kelly can tell that Patty's already made up her mind to brave it alone...

“Alright … as long as you're sure.”

“I'm sure.”

“Okay, then … later.”


“Later, Pats.”

“Later, Sam.”

Kelly and Samantha leave … and, that stoical expression once again returns to Patty's countenance; as she takes another moment to blankly stare at minivan. After that; she slowly walks towards her house.

A few moments later...

Patty finally works up the nerve to enter the house. She sees her parents speaking with Dr. Regala, on the couch in the living room. Shortly; Patty's mother notices her quietly standing … motionless as a statue … over in the foyer area.

“Oh, Patty; good … you're home. You remember Dr. Regala; right?”

“Sure. … Hi.”

“Hello, Patricia … it's been a while. I haven't seen you at the hospital since … come to think of it; I can't even remember the last time you came to visit your sister.”

This remark instantly strikes discord in Patty's heart; and … with a shameful expression overtaking her countenance … Patty quickly averts her eyes down towards the floor, to avoid direct eye contact with Dr. Regala...

“Yeah … well … I've been kind of busy … with high school, and all. There's a lot more homework and studying that I...” She briefly looks off to the side. “I just really haven't had the time to...”

Patty suddenly becomes sullenly silent; and, Dr. Regala observes the repentant expression etching itself upon Patty's visage. She displays a gentle, affable smile to Patty...

“I suppose high school can be somewhat time consuming … I remember being fairly busy myself, back then … with school, and all...”

Dr. Regala isn't ready to let Patty fully off the hook, just yet; as she subtly digs...

“Then, again … if my memory serves me correctly … I don't recall being all that busy during winter, spring, and summer breaks.”

Again … Patty quickly averts her eyes downwards; as that shameful expression re-emerges upon her countenance. And, Dr. Regala briefly pauses; before finally tactfully driving her point across to Patty...

“But; now that Katie's home … I'm sure it wouldn't be a problem finding a little bit of time to spend with her. … Right?”

Patty softly replies, “No … it shouldn't”


Patty takes a moment to try to recompose herself … even if only just a little … creating a brief lull in the conversation before inevitably asking...

“So … where's Katie?”

Her mother informs her, “Upstairs; in her room. Why don't you go on up now, and see her.”

Patty slowly turns towards the staircase, and looks upwards; then, meekly responds...

“Yeah … okay.”

Patty idly meanders towards the staircase; then, apprehensively begins to climb the steps.

After hearing her responses during their conversation; while observing her facial expressions and gestures … Dr. Regala has come to the conclusion that even though Patty has been avoiding Katie these past couple of years; it's most likely a case of her feeling uncomfortable and confused about how to deal with Katie's condition … and; not an issue of her disliking Katie. After all; it's clearly evident to her that Patty's definitely feeling remorseful over having avoiding her sister.

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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