C2 Chapter 2
" You have to understand these things take time, Mrs. Rewis. " - Doc Matthew
The doctor's voice was gentle but resolute. Doctor Matthew Brynthe knew the powerful Rewis matriarch could have him fired for mere impertinence, but he didn't give a damn. His patient was his first priority and no one else. Kristina Rewis gaze swung back to the adjoining room, its two-way wall allowing her to study her 12 year old grandchild.
" Just tell me my grandchild will get better, " - Kristina said tightly
" Is that too much to ask? " - Kristina
Doctor Matthew shook his head irritably.
" I know you are used to getting your way, but if you truly care about your grandchild. " - Doc Mathew
" Of course, I care!, " - Kristina snapped.
" Then don't force me to give you a diagnosis we both know I'm unable to provide, " - Doc Matthew snapped back.
" If I can give you more reassurance, I would. But I can't. " - Doc Matthew added.
Kristina's face became stiff at the doctor's word, but her voice shook when she spoke.
" It's my fault, can't you see? I forced my daughter to give her baby up, and now I'm paying the price. " - Kristina
Her voice broke as she imagined the unspeakable horror her arrogance had forced her own flesh and blood to live through.
" I have all money in the world, " - Kristina said in bitterly
" and it does nothing for my grandchild. "- Kristina
The matriarch's grief was more than palpable, and the doctor was unable to remain completely indifferent at the sight of the older woman's suffering.
" Not everything's lost. " - Doc Matthew, making an effort to soften his voice.
" Your grandchild's exceptionally intelligent, her IQ score off the chart. " - Doc Matthew
" I'm not asking you if my grandchild is smart. " - Kristina
" I know that, " - Doc Matthew growled impatiently.
" But I'm telling you this because I want you to be thankful for it! You're grandchild's formative years were spent under the care of an abusive woman. Your grandchild was beaten regularly and nearby starved to death. Most children would have grown up insane or twisted and evil because of it, but your grandchild became neither. That's a miracle and that's ..." - Doc Matthew drew a deep breath.
" What I'm about to say is against my professional training, but I will say it because I want my patient to heal almost as much as you do. " -Doc Matthew
He weary gaze settled back on his patient. Her eyes were glued to the wall mounted TV, which was configured to play downloaded episodes of food shows. After several months of theraphy, Doc Matthew had discovered that food was the only thing guaranteed to draw the twelve year old out of her shell. Prior to it, the child had refuse to even acknowledge being called by her name.
" I am it. " - Kathryn Ice, had muttered almost defiantly.
" I don't have a name because Madame Antonia says I'm not good. " - Kathryn Ice, added.
They had been the only words the child spoke of Madame Antonia, but for Doc Matthew is enough. He had seen enough victims of child abuse to read between the lines. Madame Antonia or whoever the bitch was, had used starvation as a way of reinforcing her beliefs on Kristina Rewis grandchild. Food had become a measurement of love and the child had learned to voluntarily starved herself until Madame Antonia considered her " good ." The memory had the doctor feeling murderous. The taking of human lives went against his very nature, but for the so-called Madame Antonia, Doc Matthew was more than willing to make an exception.
" Doctor Matthew? "- Kristina strained voice.
She snapped him out of his thoughts, and the Doctor found the older woman standing next to the two way window, Kristina's eyes filled with despair while gazing at her grandchild. Doc Matthew came to stand next to Kristina.
" You're grandchild will never be completely normal. " - Doc Matthew
The matriarch cry of pain but the Doctor ignored it, instead he asked in a hard voice.
" Knowing that, are you still certain you're able to care to her? " - Doc Matthew
" I love her! " - Kristina voice was both ravaged and absolute.
" I will do everything for her. " - Kristina added.
" I hope you mean that. " - Doc Matthew face Kristina then.
" Because I wasn't lying. The trauma she's suffering from is so severe, Madame Antonia's conditioning to deep and ingrained. I'm not sure we'll ever completely get rid of it. " - Doc Matthew, added.
Kristina Rewis head lowered, defeat destroying the glamour that wealth and power bought and reducing her into an old woman burdened with the weight of the world on her shoulders.
" The only thing you can do is to be patient with her. If you never tire showing her love, she will get better. Eventually she may learn to trust you. She may believe that she's worthy of being loved. But never forget that she can suffer from a relapsed anytime, and anything can trigger it. " - Doc Matthew, eyes bored into Kristina.
" Everything, but most especially Lying. " - Doc Matthew, added.
" I understand. " - Kristina nodded stiffly.
She held her tears back ruthlessly as she spoke. If her young grandchild could suffer this long without breaking down, so would she. When Kristina was about to leave, Doc Matthew wrestled with his conscience and his professional duty. The former won, he went after the matriarch.
" Wait, Mrs. Rewis. " - Doc Matthew
In the act of joining her granddaughter in the car, Kristina paused, and turning back, she saw the younger man running down the hospital steps. She waited for the doctor to reached her.
" What is it? "- Kristina, deliberately didn't speak in Greek to prevent her grandchild from understanding. In blunt english, the doctor said.
" I know you worry about the time when she has to live alone and you're not there to guide her. " - Doc Matthew
" I don't plan on dying anytime soon. " - Kristina, inhaled sharply.
" I know that, but we both know death is unpredictable thing. " - Doc Matthew, interrupted quietly.
Behind Kristina, his patient stared back at him with guileless eyes that knew too little and too much at the same time.
" I want her to get well too, Mrs. Rewis, and that's why I'm advising this. " - Doc Matthew, didn't wait for an answer saying grimly.
" Buy her a husband. Someone honorable. Someone who understand that she's emotionally crippled but not insane. And most importantly, someone who will not abandon your grandchild to the wolves when your gone." - Doc Matthew
TWO YEARS LATER ...
Kristina's daily routine had not changed despite learning that she had Stage 4 cancer. She still woke up early, when to work six days a week, and still flew all over the world attending business meetings. Her doctor's didn't approved, of course.
" Your already limited days on earth will be even more limited if you keep up what you're doing. " - Doc Fiona, warned.
Idiots. Kristina thought, fuming. None of them had realized she didn't have a choice. She had to present a strong front for as long as her granddaughter needed her.
A knock sounded on her bedroom door just as Kristina finished her bath, something that used to take minutes but now took her almost an hour and caused immeasurable pain.
" Come in. "- Kristina said wearily.
To her shock, it was her granddaughter, and she sat up abruptly.
" What is it, Kathryn Ice? " - Kristina
6 months ago, Kristina had finally succeeded in manipulating the child into accepting her name or nickname for that matter. Seeing how the girl abhorred causing anyone pain, Kristina resorted to emotional blackmail, crying copious tears as she told the child that she would die of loneliness if Kathryn Ice didn't stop thinking of herself as 'it'.
" And you promise not to die of loneliness If I do what you want, Grandmama? " - Kathryn Ice
" Yes. " - Kristina, had sniffed for effect.
Her 14 year old granddaughter gazed at her for a long time, her uncanny violet eyes so bright it was almost like having a light shinning all the way to her soul. But Kristina had refused to feel guilty, telling herself that she wasn't speaking any untruth.
" Alright. " - Kathryn Ice
Kristina's head had snapped up.
" What do you mean, alright? " - Kristina, whispered.
" I am no longer it. " - Kathryn Ice
A heartbreakingly shy smile broke over her granddaughter's lips, and her voice was graved when she said.
" If you think I am deserving of having a name... " - Kathryn Ice, paused as if she was waiting for Kristina to change her mind.
" It would mean so much, " - Kristina, didn't of course (in her mind). She said shakily.
" If you let me call you by your name. " - Kristina, added.
Another eternity passed befor her granddaughter finally nodded.
" Then from this day, I am Kathryn Ice Rewis. " - Kathryn Ice
And that had been the last time they talked, Kristina thought painfully. Kathryn Ice had become distant and watchful again after that, and Kristina had been at a lost on how to reach out to her granddaughter again. She had even begun to feel maudlin, wondering if she had imagined it all until now. In front of her, Kathryn Ice remained by the door, her serenely beautiful face yielding nothing.
" What is it, Kathryn Ice? " - Kristina, asked gently.
" You haven't eaten breakfast. " - Kathryn Ice. It was a statement not than a question, spoken in an equally monotonic voice. Not knowing what to make of it.
" No, I haven't. " - Kristina, said slowly.
Another watchful, calculating glance, and then Kathryn Ice said almost defiantly.
" I have prepared breakfast for you. " - Kathryn Ice
" Y-you did? " - Kristina's heart race at the words when she said.
Kathryn Ice nodded.
" F-for me? " - Kristina's asked for the second time.
Kathryn Ice nodded again.
" I w-would love to eat it. " - Kristina swallowed in an effort to control her emotions.
Kristina started to stand up, only to have her granddaughter shaking her head at Kristina.
" Stay there. " - Kathryn Ice
Kristina had started to smile at the commanding note in Kathryn Ice voice when the door opened and her granddaughter pushed a trolley in, with a covered tray on top. The urge to smile dissappeard, replace by an intense desire to weep.
' Oh! Kathryn ' - Kristina, said in her mind.
The girl broke her heart everyday, with how strong and good she was, and Kristina could never thank God enough for it.
' Lord, don't take me away until I know Kathryn Ice's strong enough to survive without me. I beg you, Lord. ' - Kristina prayed in her mind. In front of her, Kathryn Ice lifted the tray, and Kristina's breath caught.
" It's beautiful, Kathryn Ice. " Kristina
She had never described food as beautiful, but there was no better word for it now. On the black rectangle box was white saffron rice on one side, and on top of it was egg white dyed pink and cut in the shape of cherry blossoms, with strips of nori seaweed making up its thin and almost intracately arranged branches. On the side was a mixed of fresh broccoli, cubed beef teriyaki, and carrots shaped like hearts. Swallowing back a sob, Kristina asked tremulously.