Story #7 Friendship and Celebration
Friendship and Celebration
Estelle had no sense of time passing during her times of deep sleep. She always woke up feeling as if she had just closed her eyes. What seemed like moments, were hours if not days. Usually she would come to briefly, when someone was trying to nourish her with hot tea or broth. Today when she fluttered open her eyes, her sister Margie was trying to get her to take in her nourishment. Feeling thirsty, she latched on to the cup that was put to her mouth and opened her eyes and tried to focus. Margie had noticed she was really waking up this time and went to go grab their mother.
Her mother ushered into the room with a swiftness that told Estelle she had a lot her plate that day. Behind her, a lady about ten years older than her mother also walked in. Estelle's mother had her sit up and then she and the lady helped Estelle get into the chair so they could help her change her clothes and the bedding.
"I do hope you are finally coming out of your sleep, Estelle," her mother said while examining her eyes closely. "But until you do, we have to keep an extra eye on you so you don't slip away from us."
Then the lady who was standing next to her mother offered, "And that is why I am here. I'll be the one to keep an eye on you while your mom and your sisters are busy." Leaning in, she smiled at Estelle and touched her arm softly, "My name is Elizabeth, but everyone calls me Betsy." Estelle smiled, she had no idea how her parents were affording this nurse lady, but she was glad someone would be around when the others couldn't be.
Estelle took some more of the broth from the cup Margie had brought her, but as sometimes happens when one is weak, her hand started trembling. Betsy, put her hand to the bottom of the cup to help her steady it and her mother turned around and said, "See now, that's better, you drink your broth and we'll get you cleaned up and back in a clean bed.” Estelle was grateful for her mother and for this new lady that came to sit her.
It seemed that for the next week, she was pulling longer stretches of being awake but she still needed to take frequent naps. Betsy was a source of comfort to Estelle. She kept Estelle aware of everything going on with her parents and her sisters, and even filled her in on the neighbor gossip. It seemed that Betsy never tired of talking to Estelle and Estelle was just grateful somebody was there to keep her company.
Betsy had told Estelle it was Saturday and that her father would be home early this evening. Estelle had lost a lot of weight and was very unsteady on her feet, and therefore still took her meals in her room. At first, it was very necessary but now Estelle just wanted to be at the table with the family when she ate. Betsy was a wonderful person, but Estelle was missing her family.
That evening her father knocked on the door, "Estelle?" he called as he walked in. Betsy got up to give Estelle's father a place to sit down, and she left the room to take a break while her father was in with her.
Estelle beamed at the sight of her father. She rarely saw him these days, as Estelle had been sick and her father was working as many extra shifts at the Mill.
"How are you?" He asked.
Estelle just nodded her head as if to say "yes, I'm better."
"Today is your birthday, Estelle. You are 10 years old. And your mother, well, she's made a wonderful carrot cake for you. Do you think you feel up to coming out and having a slice?"
Estelle loved her mother's carrot cake and was thrilled when her father carried her out to the table. Her parents sat next to each other across from Estelle and her sisters sat on either side of her. Betsy seemed to be standing back, watching letting Estelle just enjoy this time with her family.
They sang her a happy birthday and her mother sliced the cake, giving Estelle the first piece. Estelle was so delighted until she seen the boy standing between the two chairs where her parents sat. Estelle was immediately alarmed and she looked to Betsy who just gave her this great big smile as if to say everything was okay. Still, Estelle wanted to know, who was this boy and what did he want?
She realized that he was a figure like the man in the mirror, only this boy wasn't scary and dark. And he was younger than the boy with the apple, but not near as creepy. He appeared peaceful and held a beautiful smile. He was happy, and he seemed to fit right in.
For the first time, Estelle noticed glances shared between her parents and she figured out why the boy was standing there. She was totally excited and she blurted out, “It’s a boy!” Everyone, including Estelle was shocked by her words because they hadn't heard her voice in weeks.
Her parents looked at her rather confused, so she repeated it again, “It’s a boy!” with just as enthusiasm as the first time. They were still completely puzzled and this amused Estelle.
She began to laugh, almost uncontrollably, repeating once again, "It's a boy!" Her younger sisters also laughed with her, although they had no idea why they were laughing. Margie looked terrified, which made Estelle laugh even harder. Her parents were simply not amused. They sent a look of disapproval toward Estelle, and she calmed down a bit. Then she attempted to explain, “Mother, you and Daddy are having a boy!"
Her revelation seemed to shock them even further, and Estelle wanted them to understand, "He’s here with us right now. He’s right there between you two. You’re finally going to have a boy!”
Estelle was quickly carried back to her room. Perhaps they thought she was losing it mentally. Perhaps they were upset because feeding mouths during the depression was hard enough without the added burden of another child to worry about, or perhaps they had heard enough. Estelle knew given some time, they'd be okay with this whole idea. She was so happy that her parents were finally getting the boy they always wanted.
A few moments later, Betsy came into the room and sat in the chair. “I do believe you divulged the information to them too soon,” she offered in a matter of fact tone.
There was a long silence.
“Betsy, you aren’t real either are you?” Estelle inquired.
Betsy looked at her rather puzzled, “Why do you think I am not real?”
“Because mother didn't offer the boy any cake and that told me right away that he wasn't real. Then I realized she never offered you any cake. This means you aren't real either. You're just like the others.”
“That is where you are wrong, Estelle.” She cleared her throat and said, “While it is true that very few people can see our energies that does not make us any less real. We are definitely real; you just have to learn to trust your senses.”
Estelle felt dizzy at the affirmation, if one could call her vision speaking back to her an affirmation. She had questions, like why were most of what she saw dark beings or creatures? And did this make her a dark being as well? Was Betsy dark too or was she actually something good? And what about the boy? Why could she see him? Would he turn out to be good or dark like the others?
Estelle looked to Betsy wanting answers, but not sure she was ready to hear them. She looked toward the window and remembered that man in the window had found her here, just before she had taken ill. She questioned Betsy as if she already knew the answer, “You chased that bad man away, didn’t you?” as she nodded her head toward the window.
“No I did not; you did that on your own.” Betsy slowly admitted. “But he’s not far off, so I’m here to see that you get well enough to deal with him.”
Estelle was worried now, “Can’t you just make him go away?”
“Ah child, I really don’t want for you to worry, for he is at a distance for now,” she replied. “But, I’m not strong enough to keep him away, should he come back. No, that will be something you will have to handle once you are feeling better,” then she hesitated for a moment and murmured, “If you are still able .”
Estelle heard that last part a little too clearly, and she didn’t like it one bit.