ODYSSEY OF THE MIND
When Rose hadn't called 'later' as she had said, Ruth began to get worried. Finally, two days later, Ruth heard the telephone ring. She answered it eagerly, hoping it was Rose.
"Hello," answered Ruth.
"Hello, Ruth. It's Catherine." Ruth sensed the uneasiness in Catherine's voice.
"What's happened?" Ruth asked reluctantly.
"Rose has taken a turn for the worse," she explained. At that moment, Ruth could have sworn her heart stopped beating.
"How much worse? This isn't the same as before, is it?"
"Well, no, this is very different. I would say you could talk to Rose, but she is finally sleeping. She is so excitable right now. She barely can hold still, and when she does, she is sleeping. I know how you were looking forward to her coming, and I am so sorry this has happened. If you would like, tomorrow I can figure out how to help Rose be still long enough to speak to you. I promise."
"Thank you. Please, just watch over her for me, like you have been. Without you, I don't know where Rose would be."
"You're very welcome. Rose is calling me. I really have to go. Rose and I will call you tomorrow. Good-bye, Ruth."
"Good-bye, and thank you for calling, Catherine."
"You're welcome. Bye." Both women hung up the phone. Catherine only hoped she could keep Rose still for a while tomorrow.
"Rose..." Catherine was trying to get Rose's attention, but she was pacing around her bedroom again.
"Hmm?" Rose finally looked at her.
"Your mother would like--" Rose began to pace again and stopped listening to Catherine.
Catherine began to get frustrated with Rose, now. "Rose, hold still and listen! I mean it, now, this is important."
"What is it?"
"I was saying, your mother would like to talk to you. Please, just come say hello. She'll be comforted to hear your voice."
"Yes, I'll come just for a minute." Rose moved so fast, she was down the stairs almost before Catherine could start. Catherine rushed to the phone, wanting to prepare Ruth a bit more before putting Rose on the line.
"Ruth, it's Catherine again."
"Oh, hello...how is Rose today?"
"Pretty much the same, I fear."
"What exactly is wrong?" Ruth asked reluctantly.
"She thinks...she thinks that Mr. Hockley is going to come and get her," Catherine spoke softly.
"Oh my," Ruth gasped.
"I'll put her on now." Catherine held the phone out to Rose and she took it anxiously.
"Hello, Mother. How are you?" Ruth could tell Rose was slipping into old habits to try and please her.
"I'm fine, physically. But I'm worried about you. Catherine says you aren't doing so well."
"No, not really. But I'll be fine."
"Rose, you can talk to me. How do you really feel? Please, talk to me, darling."
"I'm fine...really." Ruth could tell that Rose was hiding something, but it was as plain as day Rose wasn't going to tell her.
"Well, maybe you'll tell me in time," she said sadly.
"I'm sorry, Mama. I have to go now. Love you, bye." Before Ruth could answer back, Rose had already handed the phone to Catherine and headed back upstairs.
"Catherine, what is wrong with that girl?"
"Well, apparently she saw something in the paper, and now she thinks Caledon is coming to get her...despite anything I tell her. All she does is pace up and down the halls. I can barely get her to sit long enough to eat."
"That, and she seems to see apparitions at times."
"Apparitions? Of what nature?"
"Well, thus far just of Jack, I assume you know who he is?"
"Yes, I know him." Ruth sighed. She could tell this might take some time to correct.
"I hate to do this Ruth, but I think I should keep an eye on Rose. I'm not really sure what she might do."
"I understand. Please...keep me updated. Good-bye."
"I will. Good-bye."
Both Catherine and Ruth hung up the phone. Catherine headed upstairs to watch Rose as she had planned.
Later that week, Catherine could sense Rose's condition getting worse. "Jack" had not appeared since that one time, and Rose grew more and more depressed. She wanted to be left alone most of the time, and she hardly ate. Sometimes, at night, Catherine would awake and hear Rose sobbing...for Jack.
Rose had finally decided she was going to eat dinner. So Catherine had made her roast beef and a baked potato with some corn on the side. Catherine knew it was a bit extravagant, but she thought Rose could use a special dinner.
Catherine went upstairs expecting to collect Rose's dinner dishes, with the food practically untouched. She was not prepared for what she saw when she opened the door. Rose was huddled in the corner, at the far side of the room, a desperate look on her face. It was then Catherine saw the fork in her hand, and that Rose was puncturing her skin with it. She was already bleeding. Not badly, but enough.
"Rose!" Catherine screamed out in desperation. She ran to Rose and quickly took the fork from her hand. She could not imagine what would drive Rose to such measures. As quickly as she could, she ran to the bathroom to get some tissues, making sure she took the fork with her. She tried dabbing the blood off of her arm, but Rose did not seem to want to allow Catherine to do so.
"Rose, I have to stop your bleeding now. I promise I'll be as gentle as I can. What is it that made you do this, Rose? You were fine when I left you. Please, talk to me, darling."
With her free hand, Catherine caressed Rose's cheek, hoping to communicate without words that she wasn't angry. Just worried. Terribly worried.
Still Rose would not talk. This was not like her. She didn't even seem to WANT to talk. And that scared Catherine. Last time she had wanted to talk so much, but she could not find her voice. This time she knew that Rose could speak, she was just not willing to.
Catherine knew that at that moment, Rose's silence was unacceptable. She HAD to get her to explain. Threats were not typically Catherine's way, but she knew presenting one to Rose now would make her talk. Somehow she just knew. She said, "Rose, if you don't tell me why you've done this, I'm going to send you off to a hospital. Alone. Is that what you want?" Catherine was not really going to do that, of course, but Rose had to believe she would.
Rose looked at her sharply. Would Catherine really do that to her? "I don't want to live without him," was all she said. Catherine assumed 'him' was Jack. Rose was getting snappy with her, and that was not like the Rose that she had grown to know.
"Sit down, dear," Catherine pleaded nicely. She knew that forcefulness was not going to get her very far. Rose sat on her bed and let Catherine dab at her arm. She did not feel the pain that most people would have. She was going through far too much emotional pain to notice.
"Rose, I know you miss Jack, very much. But think now, wouldn't he be ashamed of you if you did this? And when your mother comes here to find you, how can I explain if you've just given up and...died, by then?"
Rose looked up at Catherine. She was right. She needed to be strong, but she didn't know how anymore. She felt like all her strength was gone, diminished forever. She thought about what she had just tried to do. "Catherine, what's wrong with me?" She placed her head on Catherine's shoulder and began crying.
"You're lonely, Rose, and grieving. There is nothing 'wrong' with you, in that sense. You feel what you feel. But you have to understand, even though you are lonely, you're not alone. I'm right here. And I will be, for as long as you need. Because I love you."
Rose just sobbed and held on tighter to Catherine. Even though she WAS there with her, Rose felt alone. So terribly alone. She felt as if no one could possibly understand the amount of pain she was in. She had lost everything. She lost her entire way of life. What if she never really recovered?
"I want my mother," Rose whispered through her sobs.
"Yes, I know. You've been calling her in your sleep for months, dear. But right now, I think you need to lie down. You look as if you've had a fitful night of rest last night, am I right?" Rose nodded her head. "That's what I thought. Now lie down, child."
Rose was glad for the chance to get more rest, but before she closed her eyes, she had to say something. "I know what I did just now must have frightened you, and I...I'm sorry. How you put up with everything I do, I really don't know, Catherine."
"No apologies, dear. Just get some rest. Perhaps you will feel better in the morning." How much Catherine wanted to believe those words. But things hadn't gotten any better thus far. Cal didn't seem to be an issue anymore. That was for sure. It had evolved into Rose not wanting to live without Jack anymore.
Catherine wanted time outside this little room, but found she didn't feel comfortable taking it. She never knew what Rose might do, or especially, what her sleep may be like. And so she stayed. A short while later, Catherine was very glad she did. This night was to hold the worst dreams Rose had had thus far.
Rose's dreams were peaceful at first, then they turned dark and haunting. She was with Jack; they were happy and peaceful. But then Rose looked up and it was not Jack. It was Cal. He took Rose into his arms and kissed her. Rose pulled away and tried to run, but Cal kept chasing her.
Catherine watched as Rose called out in her sleep for someone, Rose didn't say who, to stay away from her. She tossed and turned violently, but did not wake up. At least at first. When she finally did, she was screaming at the top of her voice, and drenched in sweat.
"Rose, Rose, it's all right. You're here in my house, nothing can hurt you here." Catherine cradled Rose, but she still did not seem aware of where she really was. "It's all right, honey. Shh, he can't get you here." Catherine still didn't know who 'he' was, but she had a pretty good idea.
Rose finally seemed to snap to attention. She looked at Catherine and held on tightly. "Oh Catherine. It was so horrible. I...I tried to run, but he...he was faster than me." Rose cried uncontrollably and there was nothing that Catherine could say to make her stop.
At last, Rose just exhausted herself and fell back to sleep. Catherine decided she was going to remain there all night, wide-awake. Luckily, Rose did not fidget in her sleep the rest of the night. Either she had good dreams for once, or no dreams at all.
When the morning came, Rose did not wake around the time she usually did...which was when the light began to shine in the bedroom. Catherine thought it would be best to let Rose have the extra sleep. She got so little as it was.
Catherine, figuring Rose would awaken soon, decided to go downstairs and fix some breakfast. She knew eggs were a favorite of Rose's, so she decided to make them in hopes it would make Rose feel better.
Catherine ventured down the stairs and into her tiny kitchen. She had already put the pan on the stove, and was just about to crack the eggs, when she heard Rose call her name from upstairs. It was not a terrified call, more one of concern. Still, Catherine was so used to having to respond immediately to whatever Rose wanted or needed, she went straight upstairs.
"Yes, Rose, what is it?"
"Oh, I'm fine. I just wondered where you were."
"I'm making your favorite breakfast, dear. Just wait a few more minutes, and I'll be back."
"You're not just making it for me, are you? I'm sure Jack must be hungry, too."
"Yes?" She looked at Catherine.
"Are you feeling all right, darling?"
"Oh, yes. I'm wonderful, now. Jack is going to make sure that Cal won't hurt me. Won't you, Jack?" Rose looked next to her bedside.
Catherine had to think quickly. If she just played along with Rose, this situation could be highly explosive. But if she told Rose that Jack was not there, there was a good chance Rose was going to turn very defensive.
With quick thinking, Catherine thoughtfully spoke. "That's nice, dear, but I can't hear him."
Rose looked at Catherine puzzled. "What are you talking about? He's sitting right here. How can you not hear him?"
"Where?" asked Catherine. "I don't see anyone but you and me."
"Don't be silly. Of course Jack is here."
"That may be, Rose, but I don't see him...or hear him, or even sense him."
Rose looked at Catherine disappointedly. What was she saying? Jack was sitting right next to her, smiling ever so sweetly...or was he?
"Catherine?" Rose asked slowly. "Is there something wrong with me?"
"Yes, dear, I imagine so. But," she added, sensing Rose's fear, "it's not your fault. You didn't do anything wrong." Rose's expression was still worrisome, but it showed not as much fear. "It's going to be all right. You'll see."
"Well, what's wrong with me?" Rose's eyes were near tears now.
"I think you just can't imagine the thought of living without Jack. So...your mind has created him for you."
"So, he's not here?"
Catherine paused for a moment. She had to put this delicately. "For you, he's here. But in reality, he isn't, no."
"Catherine, how are you going to help me? I mean no disrespect, but you aren't a doctor..."
"A doctor cannot help you, Rose."
"What do you mean?"
Catherine thought with great concern. "They would put you in one of those...hospitals. They couldn't help you there."
Rose put full trust in her and simply replied, "Okay."
"Catherine, this is wearing me down. I'm quite tired and I think I'll go back to sleep now." Rose's face was almost pouty. She pulled the sheet up to her neck and tried to slow her mind down. Eventually, she was able to fall asleep.
Rose smiled slightly in her sleep. Catherine thought that for a moment perhaps she would leave Rose to rest alone, but something deep inside of her said no.
An hour later, she got her answer as to why she had stayed.
Rose began to thrash almost violently in her dreams. In her mind, she saw Cal chasing she and Jack down the Grand Staircase. There was something different about it this time, though. Rose couldn't figure it out.
With a loud bang, Rose saw Jack fall over in pain. Rose screamed as loud as she could, while Cal stood at the top of the stairs...laughing.
Rose only looked at him for a moment. Then, she fixed her eyes on Jack again. And she realized what was wrong. This time, Cal hadn't missed. Jack had been shot. She could see his blood seeping out between his fingers as he lay on the floor, curled up in pain. But they couldn't stay here. They had to get away.
Rose started comprehending the situation in her mind. This was absurd. 'Get a grip Rose...this is a dream. A dream!'
"Jack, get up...you're all right. Get up," she said. "This is NOT happening. It can't be."
Barely audible, Jack softly said, "I love you, Rose."
Rose stood completely still. She had never heard these words from him before, and didn't expect them.
Jack stood up, then, perfectly fine, and Cal was gone. There was no one in the world at that moment except them.
"He can't really hurt me, Rose. Because I'm already dead. You're only dreaming this. I know you know that. I just had to tell you I loved you, somehow. Now, please wake up, Rose. Wake up."
"Wake up...wake up." It echoed in her head until she realized that it was Catherine's voice speaking to her. But she wanted to stay there with Jack. Her Jack. No one else's.
Rose shook her head. She didn't want to wake up. Jack was speaking to her, but she couldn't make out the words. 'No, come with me, Jack. I need you.' Rose started to cry, just as she woke up.
"Thank goodness," Catherine whispered. "I thought you would never wake up, little one. Now, would you like to tell me what happened in that dream of yours?"
Rose looked up at Catherine in shock. "He's dead," she whispered solemnly. "He's dead and he's not coming back, is he?" It was a question, but it was also a statement.
"No, dear," Catherine said sadly. Rose simply nodded her head. She was just too shocked to have any kind of an emotional reaction.
"I'd like to be alone, now." Rose was already engulfed in her own mind. She hardly thought about her words as she spoke.
"Of course, dear. You know where I'll be if you need me." Catherine left slowly and unsurely. Rose just apparently needed time to grieve alone...but Catherine still was worried about what Rose might do.
"Promise me that you'll survive...no matter how hopeless..." Rose thought about those words. She had promised Jack that she would live, but what did she do? She had tried to kill herself. Rose felt so ashamed...and so alone. It was at that point that she decided finally, once and for all, she was going to get better. Not just for herself, but for Jack, too.