3.30pm, Tuesday, nineteen hours in
Diana woke looking and feeling like she had just played a full quarter of competitive basketball – salty lips, burny eyes, and sweat-soaked pj’s clinging like dead skin. Something terribly wrong prompted a trip to the bathroom, there washing and rinsing her face and eyes.
From the doorway Ivy, “Is there anything I can do?” As she spoke a paroxysm of cramps seized Diana’s digits curling them like bird claws, her curling toes raising her feet off the floor, unbalancing and near toppling her. Ivy threw both arms around Diana’s shoulders and lugged her to the bedroom, dragging mannequin feet behind.
On the bed, cramps spread throughout her body and Diana, on her side, fetal, moaned. Ivy joined her on the bed, kneeling over her to shiatsu Diana’s back – a feeble attempt to calm a body in full revolt from heroin deprivation.
“Try lying on your back,” Ivy, pulling on Diana’s shoulder, rolling her back and forth over her spine like a gnocchi, while Diana’s whimpering ratcheted to cries of “Aaahh! Aaahh!”
For full five minutes Diana lay groaning while Ivy administered the massage, twice interrupting to pat Diana’s sweated face with a damp face cloth.
A reprieve. Diana lay spent, her rapid shallow breathing helping to center her. Gone in a half minute, after which Diana suffered a second all-over violent cramping, returning her to an inanimate fetal knot, just her darting eyes attesting to a functioning human being. Final release came three minutes later.
Diana lay still for a ten-count before raising and lowering her left forefinger once, twice, and a third time, repeating the three-bobbing with her right forefinger, sequentially tapping every digit in her hands and flexing all of her toes together. All okay encouraged her to rotate her ankles and wrists, followed by slow motion snow angels. Good to go.
Diana slowly raised her prostrate self to all fours, paused, and slid her left knee off the edge of the mattress, the leg following, one foot on the floor. She gingerly shifted some of her weight to her standing leg, sliding her other leg to the floor. Standing now, Diana reached for Ivy’s right arm with her own left, nodded to the bathroom, and stepped tenuously, gaining additional support from the walls and furnishings along the way. By the time they reached the bathroom, she’d gained enough balance, strength, and confidence to leave Ivy and close the door. After a slow shower and a change of pajamas, she returned to bed, subdued but unharmed.
She sat propped against her pillows, closed and opened her eyes, giving Ivy a wan smile. Ivy sat on the mattress edge. “Can I get you anything?” Diana shook her head one time.
“Your parents brought this earlier today when they dropped off enough of your clothes for a summer in France,” smiling understanding. “Do you remember it?” Ivy handed over a folded sheet of paper. Diana took the note and read aloud. “‘Dear Mom and Dad, I’ve gone away for a short while. Don’t fret or worry. I’ll be back soon enough. Love, Diana.’” She set her note-holding hand on her thigh looking at Ivy as she spoke.
“I left this when I went back in time to face that monster, the trip back to be a simple one-trick pony. So I thought. How long ago that? My time.”
“Six weeks? From Christmas Eve until now.”
“Tuesday, January 31, 2017. It’s three-thirty.”
“I didn't expect anyone would actually see that note. I would do what I had to do, return home in an hour or two, tear up the note – absence unnoticed.” She looked to the windows. “Best laid plans…”
“Well, the note did provide some consolation for them – they at least knew you left the house voluntarily.”
“What did you say when they dropped off my clothes?”
“I repeated that you had been kidnapped and forcibly injected with substantial doses of heroin, otherwise unharmed. That, although safe now, you need a few quiet days for recovery. That you are attended around the clock by professionals under the direction of a doctor. And that given who you are, you will be home very soon, although in need of rehabilitation.”
Diana’s mouth turned down, “And they?”
“They asked if you were up to seeing them, but they didn’t belabor the point. They asked if there was anything they could do, but didn’t push.”
“How long did they stay?”
“They didn’t. I didn’t give them a chance. I met them in the driveway. Opened the back door of the car and pulled out the large suitcase. Simpler. I did direct them to the Bun for a break before heading home.”
“Nice. Yeah. Just right. I’ll call them soon. They’re sweet, aren’t they, Ivy?” Diana’s voice only breaking once.
“They most certainly are, my dear.”