Delias Heart | Chapter 28 of 29

Author: V.C. Andrews | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 1558 Views | Add a Review

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19

Loss

When we reached the emergency room at the hospital, they took me to a room next to the one Adan was in, so I was able to hear them working frantically on him. Before anyone came in to examine me, I heard them wheel Adan off to radiology. The nurse at the desk came in to see me and ask questions about our identities and the accident. Finally, the emergency-room doctor came in to see me to treat the palms of my hands.

“Did you injure yourself in any other way?” he asked.

I shook my head. I think I was on the borderline of being hysterical, and he could see that in my face.

“Just relax,” he said, getting me to lie back. “Everything’s going to be all right.”

“Can you give us a phone number of someone to call for you?” the nurse asked me.

Can you call the beyond? I wanted to ask. Can you reach my parents or my grandmother?

There was no point in delaying it, I thought, and gave her mi tía Isabela’s home number.

“Will Adan be all right?” I asked quickly.

“We’ll know everything soon. Just try to rest. We’d rather not give you any medications right now, Delia. Will you be all right?”

I nodded.

“We’ll look in on you frequently. Just close your eyes and rest,” she said.

I did, and I was blessed with sleep and grateful for it, even though it was obviously a result of mental and physical exhaustion.

When I woke, I clearly heard Señor Bovio’s voice in the hallway. I trembled at the thought of seeing him. Moments later, he looked in on me. The nurse came in before him and checked my blood pressure. He stood staring at me until she nodded and left the room.

His face was grim, dark, his lips trembling. Then he held out his arms and looked as if he would break into tears.

“How did this happen to my son?” he asked.

I began to explain, taking deep breaths between sentences. My chest ached with my own sadness and agony. I know I was practically blubbering, rattling off insignificant details, mixing English and Spanish, but he picked up on my mention of the RPMs as Adan had described them.

“So he went to check the propellers?”

. And the boat was rocking so much and so hard, I was worried for him.”

He nodded. “And then?”

“Then I lost my balance,” I said, and he looked up quickly.

“What happened?”

“I was falling over, so I grabbed the wheel, and it turned, and that’s when Adan went flying into the side of the boat.”

“Into the gunnel? When you lost control?”

. I hurried down to him, but he was unconscious, and the boat was tossing so hard—”

“You let go of the wheel?”

“Just for a little while to see how he was.”

“No, I mean before, when you lost your balance.”

Sí, señor.”

He stared at me.

“How is he now?” I asked.

“They are looking at the results of his CT and his MRI,” he said abruptly. “Your aunt is on the way,” he added, turned, and left me.

It was almost another hour before Tía Isabela arrived with Sophia. Amazingly, she looked bored, even angry, about being dragged along. She was behaving as if I had arranged all of this in order to be the center of attention and take the spotlight off her. From the look on Tía Isabela’s face, I knew that things were very serious. I almost burst into tears. She looked at the bandages on my hands and then asked me to tell her exactly what had happened, too. Sophia stood off to the side, staring down at the floor, her arms folded across her breasts.

“I just don’t understand how things always turn out bad for you, Delia,” Tía Isabela said. That was to be the softest, most considerate thing she would say to me about all this. “I’m going up to the OR waiting room. They took Adan in for an emergency operation.”

“On his brain,” Sophia added. “Ugh.”

“Maybe you should stay down here with Delia, Sophia,” Tía Isabela told her.

“I’ll go into the lobby and read whatever magazines they have or watch television. I don’t know why you made me come,” she said.

Tía Isabela shook her head and left.

“I heard my mother talking with Mr. Bovio,” Sophia said as she turned to leave the room. She paused at the door. “I could tell he blames you. He didn’t want his son to be with you in the first place.”

Her words were as painful as a dagger driven into my heart. She left, and I fell back against the pillow and stared up at the ceiling. He doesn’t have to blame me, I thought. I blame myself, my clumsy, stupid self.

As I lay there, I could think of few things worse than being trapped in this limbo of tension. I was afraid to move a muscle or call to a nurse to ask a question. I couldn’t even cry. My well of tears was long dry. Sophia came back once to complain about how long it was all taking. I turned away from her rather than respond, and she left quickly, mumbling to herself. Minutes moved like snails on a bed of dry earth.

Finally, Tía Isabela returned. It had been nearly four hours. She stood there just inside the doorway and looked at me when I sat up.

“Get yourself together,” she said. “We’re leaving.”

“How is Adan?”

“Adan died twenty minutes ago,” she said. “I’ve been holding Señor Bovio, keeping him from tearing himself to pieces.”

“Why?” I said, now replenished with tears streaming down my face. I thought my own heart had stopped. “Why did he die?”

She shook her head.

Sophia came up beside her, now looking shocked herself, looking more like a helpless little girl than ever.

“I listened to the doctor explaining it to Señor Bovio,” she said in a tired and defeated tone of voice. “There is no room in the brain for extra blood. The skull does not expand, so the blood presses on brain tissue, which is delicate, and with large amounts of bleeding, the pressure can make critical areas of the brain stop working. He had what they called a contracoup injury. His brain had microscopic tears. They went in to see if they could stop the bleeding, but…it was too late. Let’s go,” she concluded. “I’ll wait in the lobby.”

Sophia looked at me with less accusation than pity. Apparently, finally, there was some part of her that had reached the bottom of the pit, the end of the envy and belligerence. I was too pathetic to be worthy of any more of her anger. In her eyes, and truthfully, in my own as well, I was gone, diminished to the point of bare existence, as empty as a shadow, dark and enslaved to follow my skeleton about like a chained prisoner who lived only to die.

It was reflected in the way I moved—stunned, my legs following some reflexive orders because my brain had shut down. The nurses and the ER doctor looked my way with funeral faces, their eyes shrouded with sympathy. Did everyone blame me? Was I wearing some mark of Cain on my forehead? Señor Garman was waiting for us with the limousine doors open. To me, he now looked like an undertaker, and the limousine looked like a hearse. I was already buried in my own body, not quite awake but not quite asleep, trapped like a hopeless vampire eagerly waiting for a wooden stake to put me out of my misery.

Sophia snapped out of her moments of shock, moments when, for a little while at least, she had connected with someone else and had empathized, felt sorrow and pain, and was somewhat sympathetic. But as if that realization hit her, she slapped on her earphones and listened to her own rock music, trying to drown out the shreds of humanity that had bubbled to the surface. Tía Isabela was silent, staring out the window at the hospital. When we pulled away, however, she sighed and said, “That poor man.”

I shrank into myself, embraced myself, and hovered as close to the corner of the seat as I could. Tía Isabela did not look at me or talk to me until we were nearly home. Then she spoke in a voice that sounded like the voice of some judge sitting above the clouds and looking down at me.

“I want you out of that room now,” she began. “Take your things, and move into the old help’s quarters, to the room you had when you first arrived, the room I should have kept you in and not been persuaded otherwise by my gullible son. Perhaps none of this would have happened. Do your chores, and finish your school year. Then go back to Mexico, or do whatever you want, only leave.

“You make me believe in the ojo malvado, the evil eye,” she said, and I turned sharply toward her. “Yes, those stupid, old, backward ideas I have ridiculed all my life seem to have validity when it comes to you. I don’t want you bringing any more bad luck to my home, to my family, to my world.”

I had no fight left in me and no words to contradict her. I had come to believe these things about myself. I turned away again, and when we arrived, I got out, went up to my room, and gathered my things together as she had commanded. Even though it was late, Sophia charged up ahead of me to get on her phone and report everything as if she were some foreign correspondent with breaking world news. In a matter of hours, if not minutes, everyone who knew of Adan and of me would know what had happened. And she would feel important.

Tía Isabela told Señora Rosario and Inez what had occurred and what she wanted done with me. They were waiting to help move my things when I came down. They looked sorry for me, but I could see they were also afraid to say anything that might be critical of mi tía Isabela. I imagined how angry and terrifying she had looked to them when she described the events and what were her new orders. I moved silently, truly believing I had become that shadow of myself. I didn’t mind the cold, dark, dusty room and the uncomfortable bed. I didn’t mind the insects and the poor lighting. Señora Rosario left me cleaning liquids, a mop, and washcloths. The palms of my hands still burned with pain, but I worked anyway, welcomed the pain, welcomed anything that resembled punishment I thought I deserved. When I was finally too exhausted even to cry, I went to bed. At the moment, I felt even too unworthy to say a prayer. I battled back sleep, because I was afraid of the nightmares that would surely come thundering through my mind, but eventually, I could not stay awake.

I didn’t dream. Maybe I was too tired even for that, but when the morning light streamed into the little room and nudged my eyes, I was happy to see I had slept. I rose, washed and dressed, and, moving like a robot, went to the main house to begin my morning chores and help with the breakfast. Both Tía Isabela and Sophia slept late. Señora Rosario risked some expressions of sympathy and comfort, and Inez even cried a little for me. I smiled and thanked them and went about my work.

I wasn’t sure Tía Isabela would want me to serve the late breakfast, but I accompanied Inez as usual, and mi tía said nothing. Sophia came bouncing down the stairway, declaring she was starving, and immediately demanded more of this and more of that. Then, while I was still in the dining room, she turned to Tía Isabela and said, “Everyone thinks this is going to be one of the biggest funerals here ever.”

“I imagine it will be,” Tía Isabela said. She sipped her coffee and stared at the empty chair her husband had once filled.

Sophia, not satisfied with that, turned her attention to me. “Guess who wishes she had never met you and never made you her friend. Just guess,” she pursued.

I didn’t respond, but I glanced at Tía Isabela. She looked pleased at how Sophia was trying to torment me.

“Fani,” she volunteered. “Fani Cordova, who was once your savior. So I wouldn’t bother calling her for help. Ever.”

I cleared the dirty dishes and went into the kitchen. I tried to block out their words, but I could feel myself cringing and finally doubled up at the sink. Señora Rosario saw me and quickly came to my side.

“Go. Take a rest, Delia. Go,” she told me. I started to shake my head, but she literally pushed me toward the rear door. “Rest,” she ordered, and I left.

Inez and Señora Rosario covered for me, and I spent the rest of the day in my room. Inez brought me something to eat, but I barely touched it. I returned to help with dinner, but Tía Isabela had gone to Señor Bovio’s home, and Sophia had gone with some of her friends to gossip, especially now that she was seen as someone with privileged information about it all. I ate a little and returned to my dark, lonely room to pray.

I returned to school the next day. Many had heard about Adan, but not that many knew I had anything to do with him. For most, he was like some celebrity. It held their interest for only a little while. The newspapers I saw showed Señor Bovio in postures of mourning. There was great sympathy for him, but from what I heard and read, few thought it would have any positive effect on his campaign. In fact, they talked about his simply clinging on to save face, but they described his effort as empty and futile.

What amazed me, but for which I was grateful, was the fact that my name had somehow been kept out of the news stories. It was almost as if he had been alone on the boat. There were no follow-up stories, either. However, there was no doubt that the students at the private school and the families knew all of the details, including my involvement.

In fact, Tía Isabela called me into her office to tell me she had decided that under the circumstances, I should not attend Adan’s funeral.

“It would be too painful for his father,” she said. “And it would only attract more unnecessary mean gossip, something neither he nor I need at the moment.”

I didn’t have much choice about it. Sophia and her friends went. Edward came back from college with Jesse, and they attended as well. I kept anticipating them coming to see me, but Tía Isabela must have issued some new threat. They went directly to the church and cemetery and then returned to college.

Sophia was so excited about everything that she had to come to my room in the old help’s quarters to tell me about the funeral. I was sitting on my bed trying to read one of my English assignments when she appeared in the doorway.

“It stinks in here,” she complained. I just looked at her. “The church was so packed that people were standing outside. There were lots of politicians, too. Mr. Bovio was practically being held up and carried by two of his close friends. He looked like he was the one who died.

“And there were just as many people at the cemetery. Of course, everyone was asking about you. My mother should have let you come. It looks worse because you didn’t come.

“What a waste. He was like a movie star. Are you going back to Mexico right after your graduation?” she followed almost in the same breath.

“I don’t know.”

“You should. That’s where you belong. You’re never going to meet or find someone like Adan again. What can you do but become someone’s maid or watch someone else’s kids? You’ll get fat and ugly like most of them and marry some toothless gardener.

“God,” she said, shaking her head as she looked at me. “Remember when you were so damn high and mighty, threatening me with Fani’s pictures and everything?”

I looked at my book.

“You can pretend you don’t care, Delia, but you don’t fool me.” She laughed. “Forget about that idea of becoming a nurse, too.”

I looked up sharply. How did she know that? She saw the surprise in my face and laughed.

“You told the guidance counselor at the public school, and he mentioned it to my mother. You know what she said? She said with your luck, every patient you touch will drop dead. This room really smells,” she concluded. “I think the sewer is backing up or something. Ugh.”

She turned and left.

I waited until I heard the outside door close behind her, and then I stood up and screamed in silence, the sound echoing inside me and traveling down into the very bottom of my soul.

And then everything went black, and I seemed to take hours crumbling and sinking, my body folding cell by cell, until I poured onto the cold cement floor and drifted through a dark tunnel in which memories flashed on walls, faces, places, laughter, and screams.

I had no idea how long I was unconscious, but that was the way Inez found me. Señora Rosario came quickly, and the two of them got me into my bed. Señora Rosario hurried back to tell mi tía Isabela. She came to see me, but I remember when I opened my eyes, she looked as if she was standing very far away, and everything and everyone else was quite out of focus. I could barely hear them speaking, too. Their muffled voices ran into each other.

I closed my eyes again and turned away.

Apparently, mi tía Isabela’s first reaction was to leave me alone.

“It’s just a hysterical, self-serving cry for pity. Let her sleep it off. She’ll get up and come out when she’s hungry enough, believe me,” she told them.

Everyone was ordered to leave me alone.

Later, I was told that for nearly twelve hours, I didn’t move, didn’t turn, didn’t open my eyes. Tía Isabela was brought back to look at me. What convinced her to do something else was the sight of my having messed myself.

“Ridiculous!” she cried, and left.

She called her personal physician, Dr. Bayer, who, after examining me, told her I was in what he believed was a hysterical coma, especially after he reviewed the past events.

“Well, can’t you give her a shot or something?”

“We’ll give her a mild tranquilizer,” he told her, “but this is more of a psychological problem.”

“It’s just an attempt to get people to feel sorry for her,” mi tía Isabela insisted, but her doctor shook his head.

“No, Isabela, she’s not faking it.”

Apparently disgusted, but unable to ignore me now, she agreed to have me taken to the psychological ward at the hospital. She even agreed to an ambulance. I was unaware of any of it, but later, I learned it all from Inez, who found time to visit me and describe the scene.

Actually, mi tía Isabela found this all to be quite convenient. With her money and power, she had me transferred to a nearby clinic for continued treatment and psychological counseling. I became responsive a day after I was placed in the clinic, and out of shame, she came to see me. She acted concerned, especially when she spoke with the doctors and nurses.

When we were finally alone, the motherly demeanor left her, and the Tía Isabela I knew so well instantly returned.

“Well,” she said, “you outdid us all when it comes to drama. Even Sophia couldn’t achieve such a performance.”

I said nothing. She looked around my room.

“You have a nice private room here, Delia. I’ll see to it that you are kept comfortable. It’s the ideal place for you right now. No one can get to you, and you can think about your future in Mexico, because that’s where you should go now. Go back to the pathetic village. I’ll stake you to some money, and you’ll return like a heroine.”

I didn’t reply, but I could see that for her, her so-called guardianship would be ended, and her conscience, if she had any left, would be soothed.

“Sometimes solutions find themselves,” she continued. “You obviously have no future here. If anything, you should be grateful and thank me for all this.” She lifted her arms to indicate the clinic. “All I ask is that you keep up your performance so no one badgers me about taking you home. Comprende, Delia Yebarra?”

I looked away.

I heard her laugh before she rose. She stood there for a few moments to see if I would respond, and then I heard the whispering sound of her skirt as she left my room. For a long moment, I just stared at the wall. When I saw that she was truly gone, I closed my eyes again and fell asleep.

Days went by very slowly. I did have a very nice psychiatrist, Dr. Jensen, who happened to be fluent in Spanish. He was in his mid-fifties and very kind and caring. He kept me on some mild medications. He told me it wasn’t a bad thing for my aunt to be able to afford to keep me in his care.

“We have to address this deep-seated guilt you feel, Delia,” he said. “You have taken on far too much blame and responsibility for people and events you really could not control. You did not hurt anyone deliberately. In time, I hope you will realize this.

“As for this evil eye you speak of,” he added, smiling, “it’s really more like an excuse, a way to blame something else for your misfortune, rather than coincidence or events caused by someone else.” He laughed. “Don’t worry. I’m not going to attempt to wash away centuries of superstitions. I’m not that arrogant.”

I really did like him, and he helped me to feel better about myself much faster than I thought possible.

I did some reading and some arts and crafts, watched a little television, gradually developed more and more of an appetite, and started to do exercise.

It was well into my third week before Inez came to visit me and describe what had occurred. She told me things were quite back to normal, which meant Sophia was her usual obnoxious self and Tía Isabela was once again absorbed with her social life.

“No one is permitted to speak about you,” she said. “Señora Dallas didn’t come right out and say it, but it’s very clear.”

“And Edward?”

“He hasn’t been home. I don’t know, but I don’t think he calls much.”

“Maybe you shouldn’t have come here, Inez,” I said. “It’s liable to get back to my aunt.”

“I’m not afraid.” She leaned closer. “I have another employment opportunity which will pay as much. I just have to wait another two weeks.” She sat back, smiling.

“That’s good. Señora Rosario will be upset, I’m sure.”

“She’s talking more and more about retirement. It won’t be much longer for her, either.”

“Who would think looking at la hacienda de mi tía that it was a place where people would not want to work?”

Inez laughed. “We would!” she cried.

We hugged before she left, and we promised not to forget each other.

Two more weeks flew by, because I was doing more and keeping myself quite busy. I really did think I was recuperating and getting stronger, until I woke up one morning sick to my stomach. At first, I, and my nurse, thought the medication might be responsible. Then she looked at me askance and asked me about my period. I wasn’t that overdue, but her next question and my answer raised her eyebrows.

“Are your breasts tender?”

I had felt that and nodded.

“Do you notice yourself urinating more, Delia?”

Again, I nodded.

She stepped back, as if I had slapped her across her face. “I’ll be right back,” she said.

When she returned, she had Dr. Jensen with her. He looked at her, and she left us alone.

“Delia,” he asked me directly, “could you be pregnant?”

For a long moment, I wondered why such a realization would come as a complete surprise to me as well as to him.

And then I thought about how all of the events of the immediate past were like some chain of dreams, distant, vague, and deliberately repressed. There was so much I didn’t want to remember. It was more comfortable to think of it as all in my imagination, part of some childlike pretending. I was more comfortable now living only in the present. I didn’t want to think of the past or the future, only the very moment I was in.

But Dr. Jensen’s question revived my wonderful lovemaking with Adan on the boat. The images came up like bubbles in water, bursting around me.

My answer came in the tears streaming down my cheeks.

He put his hand on my shoulder. “It’s all right,” he said. “Don’t worry. I’ll speak with your aunt, and—”

“No!” I screamed.

He lifted his hand away as if my shoulder had turned into the top of a hot stove.

“Please!” I moaned.

“Okay, Delia. Calm down. What is it you want?” he asked.

I shook my head.

I only knew that I didn’t want mi tía Isabela involved with any other decision or event in my life.

“She will make me have an abortion,” I told him.

“You want to have a baby?”

I didn’t answer, but I could see the same future he saw—another young, unmarried woman, a Mexican woman, returning to a life inches above poverty, to a world where she would not have respect or any man eager to take her as his wife and be a father to her child.

But I would do it, I thought, perhaps with foolish determination. I would cross that border again.

Dr. Jensen shook his head. “Okay, let’s just stay calm,” he repeated. “Everything will be fine.”

He left me sitting there, stunned.

The tears that had started and stopped started again.

I felt them moving down my cheeks, but I didn’t wipe them away.

They dropped onto the backs of my hands like drops of salty rain, like drops of the sea upon which Adan and I had conceived the child forming inside me.

What was the greater sin?

Letting a baby come into this world under these circumstances?

Or sending the baby back to the peacefulness of the third death, forgotten before he or she could be remembered?

I sat there waiting for the answer.

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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