Break Free Chapter 15

Posted on 7:07 PM | By Biki Honko | In

"Mr. Jenkins?  Dr. Fisher wants to speak to you before you see Soah.  His office is 415, 4th floor."

"Thank you."  'Why does Jerry Fisher want to see me before I visit with Soah?  Hum, something is up.  And it does not sound promising...'

"Hello Dr. Fisher.  You wanted to see me?"

"Yes, have a seat Sam.  This afternoon around 4 p.m., Soah shut down.  She has quit speaking and has withdrawn into herself.  I was concerned that this might happen, undergoing such a major change in her life as she has the past 48 hours.  When I arrived she was clutching her stuffed toys, totally detached from what was occurring around her.  I turned her head towards me and forced her to look at me.  For one brief moment we connected, and all I saw was sadness and grief, and then her gaze emptied out, and she was gone again.  Soah is completely overwhelmed by the changes in her life.  She is so far out of her comfort zone of safe behaviors it has caused her to come to a full stop.  Soah understood the cause and effect of her actions in her previous life.  She is simply put, a stranger in a strange land.  Not knowing the rules of what will cause her to be beaten, or what her role is.  Soah is consumed by fear by not understanding what we want from her."

"What we want from her!  We don't want anything from her except to be happy and safe.  We want her as a friend and as a daughter, as a part of our family.  I don't understand why that is so hard for her to comprehend."

Dr. Fisher let go of a sigh, and leaned forward in his chair.  Running his long tapered fingers thru his short gray hair, continuing down to rub his lightly tanned face, looking at Sam with his light blue eyes.  "Ok, you just admitted that you want Soah to be part of your family, to be your daughter, correct?"

"Admitted?  Yes, I, we want her to be a member of our family.  What is wrong with that?  You make it sound wrong, perverted or something."

"Please, no questions, just play along, ok?"

Sam heaved a huge breath in and out, and nodded yes.

"A member of your family, correct?  In what role?"

"Yes, as a daughter."

"Can you explain to me what sort of life your daughter has?  What her role in the family is?"  Seeing the confused look on Sam's face, he added, "Chores, expectations of behavior, etc."

"Oh, let's see.  Yes, she has chores, nothing to complain about, but you know how teenagers are.  She has to keep her room picked up.  Load and unload the dishwasher, help with the vacuuming and dusting, the usual light house work parents give their children to do.  She is expected to work hard in school, and get good grades.  Be polite and respectful to others and to us.  As to what her life is like?  Well, she has school of course, has a great many friends.  We don't allow her to date yet, and do we hear complaints about it!  But is allowed mixed gatherings that are well chaperoned.  Ah, as a family we play games, watch movies, eat out, the usual things a family does."

"Bingo!  Did you just say the usual things a family does?"

"Ah, yes.  Why?"

"Do you think that your family life resembles Soah's life with her parents?"

Sam sat there, looking at Jerry, a stunned look on his face.  Emotions swept across his face, ranging from sadness, anger, despair, and for a brief moment flickering on intense hatred.  "Oh, that poor child!  She has no idea of what a normal family life is like."  Sam sat looking down at his shoes, deep in thought.  Looking up at Jerry he asked, "Is that why she wanted to know if we wanted her for housework and cooking?  Oh lord, how do we change her mindset?"

"We can not change her mindset.  We are going to have to teach by example, the term is modeling.  If heaven and earth have to be shifted to not break a promise to Soah, so be it.  She needs to learn how to trust, being consistent with our words and actions will allow her to trust us.  There will always be mental scars that will heal over, but never be healed. Soah will make a good life for herself, but there will be parts of her that will hold her back, will hinder her actions.  Once she has placed trust in someone, it will be almost unbreakable, but if they do break trust with her, it will be a much harder blow to her than others."  Jerry watched Sam to see how he would take the news of Soah's future.  Dr. Fisher knew that like most people, Sam believed that love and time would fix everything for Soah.

"Will she, ah, can she.......love?  Will she come to love us?"  Sam hated the thought of Soah living without love in her heart.

"Love?  Of course she can and will love.  Trust will come first, then love.  She trusts you a great deal.  I can tell by how she talked about you today.  You have made promises to her, and then carried them out."

"Promises, to Soah?  I don't remember making any promises to her."

"You told her you would stay with her, and you did.  That you would be there when she woke up from her procedure, and you were.  When she was sad and crying you held her until she calmed down and could drift off, and told her to sleep you would be there all night watching over her, and you were.  These were all very important promises to Soah, but to us, these promises were less than nothing, but to her, the world. What can you tell me about her book?"

"Oh, well, first of all it is not just a book to her, it is a friend, and it's name is Book.  And much past that, nothing.  Dave read some of Book, and from what Cecile said, was very protective of it when the police wanted it for evidence.  Dave really did not want anyone to read it. He felt that they had enough information to convict her parents, and did not need to know her inner most, highly personal thoughts. It was only when they assured him that every piece of evidence against them would add another nail to her parents coffin would he allow them to take it. Why?"

"I need to read Book, it would help me to get a clearer picture of who Soah is. In effect, it will make it much easier to help her deal with both her past and her future.  She is reluctant to allow me to read it, and I totally understand where she is coming from.  I want you to help me convince her to allow me to read it."  Dr. Fisher saw the look on Sam's face and knew he had hit a wall.  The man was just not going to help him.

"About Book, I have no idea what she has written in it, but when she thought I had read some of it, she came apart at the seams.  Said I wouldn't, couldn't want her anymore if I had read it.  To me, if Book has that much darkness written inside that she does not want us to know, she will never share it. If that wound is not lanced and drained, it will just fester, and poison her.  I will do everything I can, to convince her to allow you to read Book."

"From the look on your face earlier, I was sure that you would not help me read Book.  I like being surprised by patience's and their families, thanks!  Now let's get down to work, and map out a plan to help Soah."

A wave of delicious food aroma followed Dave down the halls, into and out of elevators, causing flutters of embarrassment in his chest.  Turning the last corner of his journey, Dave entered Soah's room, and came to a quick stop.  Soah was huddled in the covers tears running down her face, she hadn't even reacted to the door thudding shut.  Quick as a wink, Dave was across the room, had his shoes kicked off, and was on the bed carefully pulling Soah into his arms.  Rocking her, crooning a lullaby into her ear, rubbing the top of her head with his cheek, he was rewarded with sobs until finally with hiccups and shudders her tears ran down.  Dave kept rocking and singing to her, dropping small kisses on the top of her head, when he felt her let go of her tension, and she just sagged into him.

"Talk to me Soah, tell me what is wrong.  Talk to me, maybe I can find a way to make it better.  Come on, give it a try, talking can't make it worse."  Dave kept rocking and rubbing the top of Soah's head, never slowing, never speeding up, just a calm steady motion.

".....it will make it worse, it will!"

"Hey, how is talking to me going to make it worse?  Huh?  It always makes me feel so much better just to get that weight off my chest.  Give it a try then Soah."

"You will hate me if you see inside!  I just know it!"

"What?  Are you magic now?  A mind reader?  Ooh, I can see it now.  Come one, come all!  Step right up and see the Amazing Soah!  She can read your deepest darkest thoughts!  I wonder how much Kev and I can charge for something like this?  We can live like kings, kings I tell you!"  Dave heard a tiny little giggle, and he smiled.  "Talk to me, please?"

"Why....why.......why do you still like me?  You read some of Book.  How can you even want to be in the same room with me?"

"Yes I read a bit of Book.  Why would reading some of Book make me not like you anymore?  You were just telling a friend what you were thinking and feeling.  Feelings are never wrong Soah.  You needed a friend and Book became your friend.  But, I hope now that you will think of us as friends.  Friends you can tell your thoughts and feelings to.  Let us try to make you feel better.  I am a good listener.  Kev, oh, he has the best hugs!  He doesn't just hug with his arms, he hugs with his heart.  Morgan is loyal and kind, and generous to a fault.  And when he loves you, it is wholeheartedly, he holds nothing back."

"Are you sure?  You really want to be my friend?  Why?"

"I am very sure that I want to be your friend.  As to why, who can explain the reasons behind being drawn to one person and not another?  I don't understand it, and it really doesn't matter."

"Oh."

"Soah, whatcha thinking?"

"Sam."

"What about Sam?"

"Does he um, want me... just for cleaning and cooking?  If I, if I make a mistake, what will happen to me?"

"No, he doesn't want you for housework.  They will most likely want you to keep your room clean.  Do little things, like empty the dish washer, take out the trash, things like that.  But, they do not want you to be a maid.  Sam loves you."

" What about Cecile?"

"Honest time here, it seems to us that you are afraid of her.  Are you?"

"Yeah, kinda.  I don't know what she wants."

"Ah, ok.  You are worried if you do something wrong she will hurt you, right?"

".............................. yeah................ I don't think..............I can.......... do........that again......."

"Cecile will never, ever hurt you, ever!  She asked the policemen if she could see the photos they took.  Do you want to hear what she said?"

"........................................................yeah."

"Soah is going to be our daughter, I need to know everything about her, so that we can help her.  When she saw the photos, well she was enraged at what your par"  Soah's hand flew up to Dave's mouth and covered it quickly to stop the rest of his words.

"Never call them parents!  Never!  Parents wouldn't do that to their child, they just wouldn't.  That is why I call them evil beings.  There is no way they can be parents!"  Loud sobs shook Soah, and Dave never stopped cuddling her.  Coming to the end of her tears, Dave reached for the box of tissues and wiped her face.  Soah took a few to blow her nose.

"Feel better?"

"Yeah."

"Good!  Would you like something to eat?  My mom who is the world's best cook made us dinner.  She made all of my favorites, I hope you will like them too."

"Food!  Do I smell your mom's cooking?"  Kevin walked into the room, with a big grin, and a computer bag.

"Yup!  She made enough for all 3 of us.  Soah, I will have to portion the food out, or endless stomach here will eat it all!"

"Hollow leg Gardner at your service ma'am!  Just don't sit there boyfriend, get with the food!  He is a nice guy and all Soah, but when it comes to food, he is sooo slow."  A big fake sigh, which caused Dave to giggle.  "Come here and sit with me Soah, while ol' one gear gets the food ready."  Kevin carefully pulled Soah into his arms settling her in the space between his legs.

"Well shit!  Mom forgot to pack a fork for Soah.  Would you mind me feeding you?"

"Um, do you have a spoon?"

"No, and it is almost impossible to eat Chinese food with a spoon.  You really need a fork or chopsticks."

"Sure, I guess."

"Hey!  If you feed Soah, you have to feed me too!  Right Soah?"  Kev was in a major teasing mode.

"Sure!  We will take turns getting bites.  Maybe that way we can actually get our fair share, huh Soah?"  Dave grinned at Soah, and stuck his tongue out at Kev.

"Hey!  Thanks for the offer there Dave, but I am hungry.  Eat first, sex second.  Whoa!  Did I just say that?  One, sorry about being all crude there Soah. And two, does that make me old?  Wanting food instead of sex?  Well, I will be 20 on my birthday, ah youth, it passes so quickly!"  Kevin threw his wrist to his forehead, and made a tragic face.  At this Dave and Soah were laughing so hard, Soah had to hold her ribs to try to keep them from hurting.

Dave pushed the bed table over closer, and started opening the containers of food, releasing a wealth of delicious aromas.  Carefully pouring soup into three bowls, dividing the rest of the food onto two plates,  looking at Kevin he asked, "You don't really want me to feed you do you?"

"No!  I want to eat while it is still hot. Your mom is the best cook in the entire world, and I want to eat now!"  Growling like a bear he bent down and pretended to eat Soah's neck, making everyone laugh.

"Soup first!"  Dave handed each of them a bowl of soup.

 Soah took a careful sip, not sure what it would taste like.  "Yum!  This is fantastic!"  In the blink of an eye, Soah's portion of soup was gone.

"I told you Mrs. Li's is the worlds best cook!  Next!  What else is there?"

"Open up!  Try this Soah."  Dave had a chopstick full of nothing Soah recognized, but she opened her mouth and Dave dropped a bite in.  Chewing carefully at first, then faster and faster as the flavor flooded her mouth.  Dave had popped a bite in his mouth while Soah chewed.

"What ever that is, can I please have another bite, please!  Ooh that is yummy."  

"I told you Mrs. Li is the world's best cook, ever!"

Dave was popping food into Soah's mouth faster and faster.  He was having trouble keeping up.

"Can I use a pair of chopsticks?  Is it hard to learn?  Kevin, you are so right, he is sooo slow when it comes to food."

"If you want to eat Mrs. Li's food, then let Dave feed you.  Now if you have a mind to decorate those pretty pjs with food, go right ahead.  And I told you he was slow with food."

"Not everyone is a fumble fingered as you.  But, just in case, let me get a towel to cover your pjs."  Dave jumped from the bed, got a towel from the cupboard, carefully covering all of Soah's pj shirt.  He handed her a bowl and a pair of chopsticks.  Molding her hand into the right shape, showed her how to work them.  Soah struggled and dropped most of what she tried to pick up.  All of them would laugh each and every time Soah would drop a chopstick full of food.  Most of it landing back in the bowl.  Finally in exasperation she just started eating with her fingers.  Dave pushed her fingers away, and started feeding her again. "Don't worry there Soah, you will pick it up."  Dave smiled at Soah, and fed her another bite.

Sam had his hand on the door to push it open, when he heard voices and laughter coming from Soah's room.  Sam and Dr. Fisher exchanged large smiles, and quietly pushed the door open. They stood in the open doorway watching and listening to the kids eat and laugh and tease.  They quietly shut the door and walked away from Soah's room.

"Those boys are the best medicine for her.  I am thinking this might be easier than we had thought.  Sam?  You look completely lost in thought.  What are you thinking on?"

"What kind of dessert goes best with Chinese food.  Ice cream is always tasty, but it would melt before it could get to them. Cake!  That fancy pastry shop over on 3rd.  Would you like to go with?"

"Sam, why in the hell are you thinking of dessert?  Aren't you worried about Soah?"

"Shi-oot!  Of course I am worried about Soah.  But, did you see her face?  She was totally relaxed and happy.  We should celebrate with dessert.  I bet that she has eaten very little dessert in her life.  What better way to cap off a happy evening than with something she rarely if ever had a chance to enjoy.  Come on with me to the pastry shop."  Jerry followed Sam to his car, the ride to the pastry shop was buoyed with visions of Soah's smiling face.  Standing in front of the case displaying all of the beautiful desserts, pointing and discussing the merits of various cakes, and deciding at long last, on a sampler plate, they became friends.  Chatting about random topics on the way back to the hospital, found that they had much in common.  They both separately felt working together for Soah would be a delight and not a noisome task.

"Sam, I won't be coming with you to Soah's room.  I need to keep a professional distance from her.  If Soah was to begin to feel as if we are friends, and not doctor and patient, she might feel awkward about opening up to me.  Your inner most thoughts are fine to share with a doctor, but not a friend.  Opening your heart and mind is hard enough without adding any extra burden to the mix.  See you tomorrow."  Jerry shook Sam's hand and walked further into the parking lot.

"Hello Soah!  Howdy Kevin, Dave!  Look I come bearing cake!"

"Hi Sam!  Dave's mom made us dinner!  It is so delicious!"  Soah looked at the empty containers, and giggled.  "Well, it WAS delicious!  Mrs. Li said she would show me how to cook like that.  We called her up to tell her thank you."  Sam leaned down and gave Soah a hug and a smooch on her forehead.

Sam hefted a huge fake sigh, "I guess everyone is just to full for dessert.  I'll go and give it to the nurses, they will probably want this."  As he turned to leave the room, he sneaked a glance at the kids on the bed, they were all wearing shocked looks on their faces.

Before Sam had gotten two steps, Kevin vaulted off the bed saying, "Whoa there Sam, just hold your horses!  Just because we had a fabulous dinner, doesn't mean we can't fit in a bite or two of dessert."  Before Sam could react, Kevin had the bag in his hand and was back on the bed.  Opening the bag, pulling out the cake box, Kevin gave a low whistle, "Oooh, I don't care how full I am, cake this good has to be eaten!"  His remark convulsed the room in loud laughter.  "What?  That's it, make fun of the person who just happens to enjoy a bit of dessert now and again!"  He looked at everyone trying to keep from laughing, and lost the battle, joining them all in laughter.

Kevin placed the cake tray on the table, and opened it up.  Sam pulled the recliner closer to the bed and before sitting handed out small paper plates and forks.  Soah's was awed at the beautiful cakes arrayed before her.

"Come on Soah, choose something already!"  Kevin was dying to dive in, and hated waiting.

"I can't choose!  They all look so good.  They are almost to pretty to eat."

"The important word in that sentence is 'almost'!"

"Here Soah, give me a minute."  Sam carefully cut into each of the five cake pieces, putting the smaller pieces on a plate for Soah.  "There you go, a decision free dessert!  Enjoy!"

Taking a bite from a piece of pink cake, a long drawn out sound came from Soah, "Oooooh! This is so good.  Kevin, you are so right!  I am full, but cake this good just has to be eaten, and now!"  Soah sampled bites from each kind of cake on her plate, moaning with delight as each bite passed her lips.

The evening passed with the four of them chatting and laughing.  All to soon visiting hours were over and Kevin and Dave had to leave.  Kevin helped Dave pack up the containers, and bag up the trash.

Dave sat down next to Soah on the bed, and gave her a long gentle hug, rubbing his cheek on her head.  "You have a good sleep tonight.  And if the sads hit you again, call me.  We have our numbers programed into your phone.  Call me!  Friends help each other stand against the wind."

"Soah girl, I have to work on our apartment in the morning, but the minute I am done, I will be here."  Kevin hugged Soah, and smooched her cheek.

"Night!" Both of the boys sang out as they left the room.

A giant yawn escaped from Soah, and then another one, and then a third yawn about spilt her face in two.

"How about if you get your face washed, teeth brushed, and ready for bed?  I will straighten up your bed.  Do you need any help?"

"I am still not allowed out of bed without someone to steady me."  Sam helped Soah stand up, and then walked beside her to the bathroom, and closed the door for her.  He turned and pulled the sheets and blankets into order, turning down the bed, readying it for Soah.  Hearing the toilet flush, he stepped back to the door, and helped her to the sink.  Handing her what she needed to get ready for bed, Soah was ready in short order.  Weak and trembling by the time Soah reached the bed, she was very glad of Sam's steadying arm.

Tucking Soah in, Sam sat on the side of the bed, stroking her face.  "You had a fun night, huh?"

"Yeah, it was fantastic.  We had some much fun!  Thank you for that cake!  Something that tastes like heaven, needs a better name than just cake."  More huge long yawns, and it was obvious that Soah was nearly asleep.

"Night night, baby girl.  Sleep tight, I'll be here with you all night long."

Sam stood up, lighter in heart than he had been five hours ago.  Repetition seems to be the key.  But, what could they all expect?  She did not loose her self esteem the first few times she had been told she was worthless. It took years of hateful words, to erode her self image.  So it was going to take a while for her to believe in her worthiness.  At least she was willing to listen and try to believe in what they told her.

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