C6 A Very Brief Reunion of the Sisters
Patty slowly ascends the staircase … her trepidation rises slightly with each step taken. And, once she reaches the second floor; Patty hears the sound of squeaking box springs emanating down the hallway. The origin of the noise is coming from a room which has coming from a room which has been vacant for a little over two years … the room which Patty has passed countless of times; and, even taking a moment to stop in front of dozens of times … but, has never been able to muster up the courage to enter; not even once.
Right now, Patty's going to be heading towards that room with the sole intent on going into … and to finally see Katie for the first time in a couple of years, no less. She hesitantly approaches.
Patty comes up upon the slightly ajar door, and begins to gradually push it open, while peeking into the room as she does this. And, after the door is about three-quarters of the way open; Patty takes a small step forward and leans against the door frame … and gazes upon her little sister; whom … shamefully … she barely recognizes. She sullenly utters under her breath...
“I know it's been two years … but, still … she looks so different, from what I remember.”
A few tears begin to trickle out of the corners of her eyes as she's instantly inundated by a deluge of a range of emotions. Her heart painfully aches as the guilt from not visiting Katie all these years that she had managed to keep locked away deep down in it comes bursting out. Patty thinks to herself … How could I have possibly allowed so much time to pass by without seeing Katie. Seriously, what kind of sister am I?
Then … a lump forms in her throat; as she's overtaken by that nostalgic feeling of fondness and deep sisterly love for Katie. And, not long after that … a melancholic feeling suddenly overwhelms Patty; as she recalls the sadness and frustration that she would feel whenever she would earnestly attempt … and fail at miserably, every time … to communicate with Katie.
Meanwhile … all this time … Katie remains seemingly oblivious to her sister's presence; sitting upright in bed with her arms folded across her lap, as she rhythmically rocks back and forth. Her eyes are intensely focused upon the transported mobile, which has once again been strategically hung from the ceiling, directly over her bed.
Patty's still leaning against the door frame, gazing upon Katie, when Dr. Regala comes up behind her...
“So … have you said hello to her, yet?”
Patty looks back to Dr. Regala and conveys a subtle … yet distinct … apprehensive expression. Dr. Regala smiles; then, wraps her arm under Patty's.
“Come on.” She leads Patty over to beside Katie's bed; then unwraps their arms. “Katie; look who's here to see you … it's your sister, Patricia. … Patricia; say hello to Katie.”
Patty sharply looks to Dr. Regala, displaying a perplexed expression; then, slowly turns her head back to Katie, and meekly utters...
“Patricia's been busy with school … that's why she wasn't able to come visit you at the hospital. But now that you're back home; you'll be able to see her every day.” She looks to Patty. “Right; Patricia?”
Once again, Patty utters in a soft, meek fashion, “Right.”
Dr. Regala starts gently stroking Katie's hair...
“Yeah … you'll like that; won't you? Of course, you will.”
Having what she believes to be an understanding of Katie's condition … and, supposed limitations … Patty finds herself a bit befuddled...
“She … she doesn't understand you're saying … does she? I mean … I thought that the autism keeps her from comprehending what we're saying, or, realizing what's going on around her … doesn't it?”
“Katie's perfectly capable of understanding what's going on; Patricia.” Dr. Regala explains, “Yes; the autism does keep her somewhat withdrawn … but I like to think that deep down; Katie's totally aware of what's happening around her. And I also truly believe that she wants so badly to reach out to us … but; she doesn't know how to.
As for us … we just haven't figured out an effective way to communicate with her; yet. But we will … someday.” Dr. Regala addresses Katie, “Right; little one? … Anyhow … I have to go for now; but I'll be visiting you from time to time to see how you're doing.”
Dr. Regala stops stroking Katie's hair, and gently wraps her arms around Katie in order to cease the rocking long enough to deliver a tender kiss to the top of her head. And, once released from the doctor's hold; Katie resumes rocking … and Dr. Regala starts to leave...
“I'll be on my way, now.” She looks to Patty. “I'll give you two some privacy. … Give you some time to catch up, and get to know each other a little better, again.”
Patty watches as Dr. Regala leaves the room; then, goes back to gazing upon Katie. And, after a few silent minutes of watching Katie perform her ritualistic behavior of steadily rocking back and forth, while keeping her eyes fixated on the mobile; Patty languidly walks over to the door, then turns around for one last look.
Patty leaves Katie's room … while Katie leaves to her alternate world.