The temperatures are plummeting and fluffy snowflakes are silently falling on the little gypsy camp. In the traditional Vardo trailers it is warm and cozy. Granny is fitfully sleeping, unaware of the heated discussion taking place just a few feet away. As soon as Irina had left with little nosy Yelena, Djal had started on his fantastic tale about bloodsuckers and magical pendants.
Django and Yuri’s cousin Jal caresses his elaborate handlebar mustache, curling the ends upwards towards his cheeks with absentminded habit. His alert brown eyes scrutinize the attentive faces in the room. A showman to his core, he loves being the center of attention. And a good story only gets better when it is told with virtuosity. Just like this one, a true masterpiece. Such a pity it was his cousin telling it…
But why doesn’t anyone say anything? He would have thought the boisterous gypsy family would have assaulted their cousin with questions as soon as he stopped to draw breath. Instead they are unusually silent and avoids his gaze, looking just as doubtful about Django’s story as he himself is feeling.
Jal’s gaze stops on little Danyl who wide-eyed looks back at him, sucking on his fingers. Disgusting habit, he thinks and tries to stare down the child who withdraws his chubby fingers from his mouth only to switch hands and put the new set right back again, intrepidly meeting his stern gaze. Django dries his hands on his thighs and crosses his leg, wiggling his foot. A sure sign he’s nervous. He glances at Tsura, as if embarrassed about the extravagant tale. Maybe he should have toned it down a little…
Oleg breaks the uneasy silence. He clears his throat. ‘Err… Interesting.’
His mother in law nods her agreement. She looks at Django with a knowing glint in her eyes. ‘Have you ever asked yourself why you were left alive?’
Django frowns. ‘Alive? Err… I guess he didn’t see me.’
Tsura raises an eyebrow. ‘Didn’t see you? An apex predator? Hunting?’
Her words make him feel stupid, but he doesn’t know what to say so he just shrugs.
‘You all actually believe him?’ Jal stares at them in bewilderment. ‘It’s an extraordinary story. I’ll give you that.’
‘It’s all true! I swear!’ Django tries to defend himself but Jal just snorts at the hollow sound of his protests.
‘Vampires don’t exist, everyone knows that. And if it is so true, how come you’ve never mentioned it before?’
‘Because nobody would believe me.’
‘I see you get my point.’
‘Well. Django’s still here, among us – thank God – and this gives us a clue about what the famous pendant is.’ Carli smiles, but the edge to her voice is clear. She doesn’t believe a word Django has said, but she doesn’t want to hurt his ego by admitting it. Django is such an incredible story teller and she’s used to him exaggerating most times, but this competition between the cousins is getting on her nerves.
Oleg scratches his neck. ‘Yeah. But why did it show up when we all thought about our guest?’
‘Because it must be very important to her.’
‘It’s all very well knowing what it is-’ Django interrupts. ‘But is there a way to know where it is now?’
‘Do you think she brought it with her? She might have been on her way to retrieve it.’
‘No,’ Tsura says thoughtfully. ‘It’s in her possession, or the crystal ball wouldn’t have showed it to us.’
‘Let’s ask Sister Mary-Madeleine. She stored away her things back at the lighthouse.’ Carli looks excitedly at them. ‘I saw a picture that was in her pocket so if there were a pendant, I guess Sister Mary-Madeleine has taken care of it.’
Tsura nods. ‘Very well. As long as she didn’t lose it in the Ocean…’ She stands up, signaling that the meeting is over. ‘Let’s go and get something to eat. I can smell one of Irina’s casseroles.’
‘I think it’s stew, Mother Tsura,’ Oleg says.
‘Whatever, Olezhek. It is most certainly delicious.’ She grabs a thick blanket and throws it over her shoulders. ‘You must all stay and have dinner with us, I’m sure Irina is counting on that.’
They troop out of the warm trailer and walk in line through the snow to the adjacent Vardo housing the kitchen. The door opens on a steamy room, filled with the warm, enticing smell of a creamy stew.
‘Dinner’s soon ready, everyone. Just help me set the table.’
Oleg puts down his son on the counter next to his wife and kisses her cheek. ‘It smells lovely, Ira. I’m hungry like a wolf.’ He turns his attention to his daughter. ‘I can see that you’re not in bed yet, Lena.’
‘I have cut the carrots, dad,’ Yelena says proudly. ‘And if Danya can stay up, so can I. Mom said so.’
He sits down at the end of the table and soon the three men are discussing their guest again.
‘We know her, for sure we do. She’s an old friend of Tsura’s from Bigwood Falls – Tara Grey.’
‘Yeah. But it would be great if she could wake up soon or we’ll have to take her to a hospital. Broken ribs and frostbite shouldn’t keep her in a coma.’
‘She’s not in a coma.’
‘She’s not awake neither.’
‘What if she dies on us? She looks kind of fragile – all pale and old…’
Tsura puts the bread on the table and takes a step back.
‘We were friends once. Not very close, but friends nevertheless. She has family. A sister in Europe, but I don’t know where and a daughter somewhere. But no other next of kin that she has ever mentioned.’
‘What is worrying me is that we should try to contact them. But as she doesn’t have any papers on her we’ve got no address.’
‘Old ladies like her usually stay put. At least that is my experience.’
‘Yes, they usually do. But her house burnt down a few years ago so we know she doesn’t live in the Cove anymore… Remember, Ira? We thought she had died in the fire.’
‘Right. But Bigwood Falls is on the Pacific coast – thousands of miles away. What was she doing in the ice-cold water here?’
‘She fell off a boat, maybe.’
‘Or maybe she was thrown off one?’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Well. She fell into the water in the storm. No one is up on sundeck in weather like the other day. So maybe it was a crime.’
‘Oh my. Gangsters threw her overboard. What if they come after her?’
Everybody looks at Jal who crosses his arms defensively. ‘Why would anyone want to harm a fragile old crone like her?’
‘She doesn’t seem rich. Eccentric, yes. But not rich.’
‘Maybe it was a party and she got drunk and fell.’
‘Yes. It must have been a Halloween party.’
‘You’re talking about her long dress? She’s always dressed like that, like something out of a story book for children,’ Tsura says.
‘I don’t think it was a crime. Anyhow, I guess we won’t find out until she wakes up.’
‘Yes. I’m sure her family is worried.’
‘Right. We’ll just have to wait until she wakes up to call her next of kin.’
‘What says she will ever wake up?’
‘Oh, c’mon. Don’t be such a pessimist, Jal. I thought we had agreed on taking her to the hospital if she gets worse.’
‘Yeah. Let’s give her a day or two.’
‘Hmpff,’ Jal snorts. ‘So what if we drive her all the way to Charlottetown? What says she’s got insurance?’
‘I’m sure she has. I’m sure Mrs. Brown could not have missed something as important.’
‘We have to take her to the hospital. It’s the right thing to do.’
They all nod in agreement.
Granny comes to the very same evening. She is feeling queasy and her mouth is dryer than she could ever believe a mouth could be. Parched. She looks around for a glass of water but just slightly turning her head makes her dizzy. She lies with her eyes closed, waiting for the world to stop spinning. The texture and smell of the sheets seem unfamiliar. She opens her eyes. So is the arched wooden ceiling. She is definitely not at home.
Home… She can’t stay here, wherever here is. Slowly she turns her head, an inch at a time. There is a glass of water on the nightstand. She moves her dry lips. Parched. Just a sip is worth the dizziness. She reaches out, fumbling with the half full glass. Her fingers cannot get a grip and the glass falls right onto big scrawny dog that has been sleeping on the floor. It jumps up and starts barking but Granny is too busy studying her swollen, red hands to really pay attention to the ruckus. The door swings open on a little dark-haired girl who immediately turns around and howls something unintelligible into the dark outside.
Granny catches a whiff of cold and sparse snowflakes before she passes out again.
She doesn’t fully regain consciousness until three days later. Even though she still feels a little weak and freezing, there doesn’t seem to be anything seriously wrong with her health. Her hands and feet are a little numb, but they function. She stays in bed for another day, then she decides to get up, broken ribs or not. Wheezing she dresses in a purple sweatshirt and stretch pants with a not exactly matching pattern, courtesy of Tsura, and adventures outdoors.
Tsura is waiting for her in the trailer where she usually receives her clientele but where she also babysits Danyl and Yelena when their parents aren’t available. The children are used to keeping their voices down as there is only a red curtain that separates the main room in two, creating some mock privacy for their grandmother’s readings. And it is to participate in such a private reading that Granny is laboring through the snow, led by an excitedly chatting Yelena.
Tsura is keeping a distraught eye on Danyl, who is taking out all his toys from the toy chest in the corner and spreading the items on the worn carpet. She doesn’t mind, there are no clients this time of the year and even in summer there’s no one visiting this Godforsaken island anyway.
Granny leaves her coat on a hanger next to the door and takes a seat in the brightly colored armchair, facing the woman who pretends knowing her.
‘Let’s start with this,’ Tsura says and dramatically puts down the picture found in Granny’s belongings.
Granny leans forward and scrutinizes the faded picture of an old couple posing with their back to a river with a waterfall in the distance. The man is wearing a baseball cap and seems a little stiff and uneasy. The woman to the right is leaning on the low wall, fiddling with her slender fingers and looking dreamily at something behind the man. Or maybe she is looking at him.
‘But… But that’s me? Isn’t it?’ She picks it up and holds it towards the light at an arm’s length.
Tsura nods with enthusiasm. ‘Sure is. But I wonder who the man is.’
‘Well. That makes two of us. He seems nice enough, though. He’s got kind eyes…’ She focuses on Tsura again. ‘Where is the picture taken? It seems like a place I should remember.’
‘I don’t recognize it, and God knows I’ve travelled far and wide across this country.’ She chuckles. ‘It sure isn’t Canada, though. It seems to be in the summertime, somewhere in the desert.’
‘Yes. Somewhere really warm.’ Granny frowns, peering at the picture. ‘Or it might be the washed out colors that misleads me.’
‘No, I think you’re right. It could be in Texas, or California-’
‘Nevada! It’s in Nevada, in Lucky Palms!’
‘Do you remember?’
‘No. But the name just popped up in my mind. Just like that…’ She lets the sentence trail. Suddenly she looks up at Tsura. ‘Do you think you could fix my hair like that? It rather suits me. Very classy.’
Tsura is a little taken aback by the change of subject. ‘I don’t know, but Irina does a decent brushing…’
‘Hmm… I think I’ll keep it. The picture, I mean.’
‘It’s yours. If you look at it again maybe the name of the man will pop up, too…’
Granny doesn’t answer and Tsura understands that the little moment of friendly banter is over. She bends down and pulls out a drawer. She takes out a black bag from it and withdraws a deck of big, sturdy cards.
‘Tarot cards?’ Granny looks at the deck Tsura ceremoniously poses between them on the little table painted in bright red and turquoise with pink and yellow details. The decoration in general doesn’t appeal to Granny’s ascetic eyes, she thinks there are too many screaming colors mixing together without an ounce of discretion. With a predominance in ochres and gold. My sister would love it, she fleetingly thinks.
‘Yes, Tarot cards,’ Tsura says, shuffling the cards. ‘You used to help me with the readings, remember? You used to come over when we passed through Bigwood Falls in spring,’ she adds hopefully.
Granny shakes her head. Reading cards? No way has she ever been involved in such hokus pokus. And she can’t believe how having her fortune told could help her recover her memory at all. She actually hopes it won’t work, because there is no way she wants to have been a bogus fortune teller like the crazy old woman in front of her.
‘Well.’ Tsura hesitates, then she holds out the deck of cards towards Granny. ‘I usually don’t let anyone else touch them. You know, interference of energy and such. And it’s so tiresome to cleanse them again afterwards – bury them in salt, sprinkling water, blowing on them and heating them with fire. So time-consuming.’ She shrugs apologetically and makes a gesture with the deck for Granny to take it.
Granny holds it awkwardly looking from it back to Rayna.
‘Err… What am I supposed to do?’
Tsura sighs. ‘Nothing. I hoped you would have felt something, but I don’t need to be a psychic to see you didn’t. Give it back to me.’
‘Felt what? Something supernatural?’ Granny snorts derisively.
‘Not necessarily. Just something. A flashback, maybe.’ Tsura closes her eyes, taking a deep breath and mumbling some mumbo jumbo to summon her inner strength, then she starts spreading the cards on the table. ‘Let’s see what the cards have to say about you.’
She takes a card and puts it face down between herself and Granny.
‘This one is the past.’ She puts another one next to it, and another one. ‘This is the present and the future. Then we have reason-’ She puts a card above the present, then another right below. ‘-and this is err… for specific challenges.’
Granny looks at the cards forming a cross. ‘What now?’
‘Just go ahead and turn them over. Start with the present.’
Granny hesitates. Which one was the present now again? Ah, yes. The one in the middle…
She quickly flips them over, marveling at how worn the huge cards feel. But that is just about all the information she gets from touching them again.
Tsura looks intently at the cards, trying to get a feeling about the combination but comes up blank. She glances quickly at Granny, trying to buy some time.
‘Now, you shall draw three new cards from the deck,’ she instructs. ‘And put them down face up.’
‘What about these? What do they say? Nothing?’
‘They will talk to me in combination to the new set you draw,’ Tsura answers, glad that Granny has forgotten all about Tarot readings and therefore cannot question her proceedings.
‘If you say so,’ Granny mumbles.
‘I need you to concentrate harder this time. Shut your eyes. Embrace the concept of the question.’
Granny decides to humor her host. So she obeys dutifully, closing her eyes and concentrating on the question Tsura has just asked her. “What is her current situation?” Easy. Geographically she’s on a godforsaken island somewhere on the Canadian east coast, staying with a family of gypsies who pretend they know her. She snorts. She doesn’t really know herself, for the sake of the Goddess. Her eyes pop open. The Goddess? The Goddess!
‘Shhh! Please, don’t interrupt the positive flow. What do you aspire to? Go on. Concentrate and take a card.’
‘I aspire to find my true identity, of course. Or at least get my memory back,’ Granny mutters under her breath, fumbling for a card.
‘Nothing. I’m concentrating, I’m concentrating.’
‘Good. Just one more… Err… What will help you? Or rather – what will hinder you?’
You will, Granny thinks meanly, surreptitiously glancing through half-closed eyelids at Tsura. She can hear the children playing behind the heavy drapes, Yelena is patiently explaining something to her brother.
It vaguely triggers a memory of another dark girl playing with a little boy… But who? And where? Somewhere sunny. In her mind she can hear the distinctive song of cicadas and smell warm, dry grass and… and… The memory vanishes.
Tsura studies the new combination, trying to muster up the usual confidence she displays when delivering a reading to some unknown client. But knowing Granny, she decides it’ll be better to keep it short and concise. She’s not sure Granny will be receptive to her storytelling talents anyway. She used to be a down-to-earth no-nonsense woman and her unscrupulous character hasn’t changed a bit – memory loss or not.
Granny doesn’t say anything, unwilling to show her interest in the procedure. She studies the cards, wondering what they could possibly mean. A boring card with eight cups, another with a needle or could it be a sword? Whatever. There’s also an angel washing its feet and an evil looking fellow that seem to be torturing two naked smaller people. And a man who hangs upside down and a kind of priest or monk. She massages her temples, avoiding eye contact with Tsura who suddenly looks up at her with her piercing, brown eyes. She straightens her ridiculous turban and clears her throat.
‘This is all very interesting. This card, here, the eight of cups, tells me you’ve had an emotional setback.’
‘Really? Does losing my memory count as an emotional setback?’ Granny says, her voice dripping with irony.
‘Of course. But I’m talking about your earlier life. About a betrayal, possibly an amorous one, that has left you vulnerable. It’s also a warning against misplaced trust.’
Granny stares with insistence at Tsura, trying to convey her mistrust in the old gypsy.
‘A lover. A lover who left you and who you still yearns for,’ Tsura says, ignoring Granny’s expression. ‘And who made you swear off love,’ she adds in the safe knowledge of secrets shared over a bottle of Granny’s fine Cognac many years ago. ‘Tall, blond and handsome,’ she adds hopefully, waiting for a reaction. There isn’t any. Granny just sighs.
‘Ahem. A terrible event just occurred, but you haven’t let it ruin your life,’ Tsura messes on in a gravelly voice supposed to affect her clients.
Oh, come on, Granny thinks. I almost lost my life in an accident. Am I supposed to be impressed?
‘You’re doing fine – under the circumstances – but you mustn’t resist the healing procedure. You must come to terms with the fear you feel, and put these old emotions out of the way.’ She shows a card with a couple holding hands. ‘The “Lovers” are in the center. The present. But the card is reversed and that means not only that you are challenged with choosing a partner – is there a new man in your life, maybe? The one on the picture?’ When Granny stone-faced looks back at her, she continues, ‘But it also means that you have to own up to your own double-standards and not just go along to get along. You have to make a choice, and own it. Just trust your intuition.’
‘Double-standards? I don’t think I’m the kind to have double-standards.’
‘Maybe not. The card is more about making a choice, anyway.’ Tsura continues with the angel card. ‘This here, is a reference to your soul and it is very interesting because it is also reversed – like the “Lovers” – and there is a risk involved.’ She lowers her voice dramatically. ‘You are in danger of giving up on yourself.’
‘Oh, my. How can I give up on someone I don’t even know anymore?’
Tsura has no answer to that, so she delivers one of the platitudes that usually satisfies her clients. ‘Do not hesitate to use spiritual practices to assist you in your quest for truth. I can help you with that, of course. Otherwise eat healthy and get some rest, then take a new look at your life. If you don’t gain a better perspective, you should seek help.’
‘You are absolutely right.’
Tsura beams. She knew she would get through to her old friend. But her face falls when Granny continues.
‘I believe going to the hospital in Charlottetown is the most sensible choice I could think of right now.’
Granny turns her head and takes a last look at the old Vardo trailers. These people have been so kind and welcoming, if a little annoying in their persistence about knowing her. She must remember to send them a card sometime.
With a grim smile she takes Django’s proffered hand so she won’t slip on the treacherous ground on their way to the waiting car.
Three hours later of laboriously slow driving in the harsh weather, Granny steps out of the Ivanov’s red Dacia at the emergency entrance of Elizabeth Hospital on the outskirts of Charlottetown and is immediately taken care of by a male nurse who has been waiting in the warm lobby with a wheelchair.
The young nurse is affronting the freezing cold dressed only in pink scrubs which doesn’t make him very patient with Granny who can’t see why she can’t walk on her own. She is certainly a little slow, but so what? He doesn’t listen to her protests, but almost manhandles her down onto the seat and after putting a blanket on her legs, rolls her off towards the entrance and an examination room. He tells Carli over his shoulder to go through the administrative tasks and join them afterwards.
Jal takes up position in the queue at the reception while Django and Carli drive off to park the car. He’s glad that there are only two people before him, but he soon realizes that he will have to wait for quite a while. The couple are not happy with something, and even though they keep their voices down, their body language is flagrant. He can’t really hear what the problem is even though he’d like to step over the confidentiality line to listen in on the heated, whispered discussion. The receptionist has trouble managing the situation and she finally gives in and makes a quick phone call. But it is not until a middle aged doctor shows up that the couple calm down and let themselves be led away. Finally his turn. Irritated he checks his watch. Twenty minutes have passed. So where are Django and Carli?
‘Err… Yes, I’m here with my cousin and a friend, and they should have been back from parking the car hours ago,’ he mutters, looking towards the entrance for the umpteenth time. ‘Is the parking far from here?’
The receptionist looks perplex. ‘No. It’s actually just around the corner. But if this isn’t an emergency, Sir, I have to ask you to step aside and head to the main entrance on the opposite side of the building.’
‘Nonono. It’s an emergency, all right. We let off our passenger – the old woman who had the accident we called in – and she was wheeled off to be examined.’
‘So you have already registered with my colleague?’
Jal looks at the empty chair next to her. ‘Nooo. That’s why I was queuing, and-’
He explains the situation, exaggerating and gesticulating, making a whole show out of explaining Granny’s condition. But when the harried receptionist finds out their patient is not Canadian, she tells him to fill in the admission forms more privately with a secretary.
Django and Carli show up, looking suitably guilty. The arrival of the secretary at the same time efficiently stops Jal from lecturing them. They follow her to the elevator and ride up to the third floor.
‘-the administration floor,’ the secretary explains and leads them down a plush hall to a light, but small, office.
There are only two chairs, and Jal quickly takes one of them, glaring at his cousin. Django glares back and takes up position by the window, peering at the foggy sight through the blinds. The view is spectacular in spite of the bad weather, and unobstructed thanks to the absence of leaves on the trees. He can see all the way down to the shore, the sea seems to be almost within reach of his hand. The old part of the town is scattered on the hillside on the other side of the bay, giving an impression of rural tranquility. He sighs. This is a lovely town in summer, but in winter… He shudders and focuses on his friends. Carli and Jal are giving the secretary all the information they have, which isn’t much; Tara’s name, age and latest known address.
The secretary efficiently fills in the computerized forms but suddenly she stops and frowns. She throws them a quick glance and then she peers back at the computer.
‘Is there a problem?’ Django asks. ‘Is Mrs. Grey wanted for murder or something? Shoplifting maybe?’ He scoffs at his own joke, but the laughter dies when he sees the secretary’s serious expression.
She clears her throat. ‘You said Mrs. Grey has amnesia?’
They all nod.
‘Are you sure you’ve got the name right?’
‘Tara Esmeralda Grey. She does have an insurance, doesn’t she?’ Jal inquires.
The secretary shakes her head. ‘I’m afraid it is a little more complicated than that…’
The three friends gradually go from Granny’s loving next of kin to total strangers when the secretary explains that there is not only no health insurance for Granny, but also an arrest order issued by the state of Washington.
‘What has she done?’
‘Does it say what she’s done?’
‘No insurance? So who is paying?’ Jal interrupts Django and Carli.
‘Well. You said you are her next of kin and usually-’
‘Nonono. You can’t expect us to pay!’ Carli says.
‘We just found her on the beach-’
‘-and nursed her back to life, no less.’
‘A good deed, is what it is. You can’t punish us for doing what is right-’
‘-or we’ll leave the next person that washes up on the shore…’
The secretary makes a soothing gesture with her hand, calling for silence. ‘I’ll have to make a call, just a moment, please.’
But fortunately the line is busy. The secretary hesitates, a little flustered.
‘This is the first time something like this happens to me, so I’ll just go and get my supervisor, if that’s all right with you?’
‘Sure, go ahead. Take your time.’
Their experience of the authorities is not a very good one, and they suspect there’s a chance that a court order could be issued for their arrest, too, if they stay any longer. So as soon as the door closes on the secretary they look at each other and without a word scamper off.
They descend the stairs and head for the entrance.
‘Hey! I thought we were getting Tara. We can’t just leave her here.’ Carli grabs Django’s sleeve.
‘She’s at a hospital. She’ll be taken care of.’
‘They’ll take her to prison, for God’s sake.’
‘We’ll go to prison, too, if we stay.’
‘Don’t you have a heart at all? We have to do something.’
‘Exactly, Carli. We have to get out of here. None of us got papers,’ Jal says and actions the automatic doors.
‘I hate you! I regret what happened!’
Jal stops. ‘What happened?’
‘Nothing.’ Django steps around his cousin who is blocking the path.
‘Nothing!?! Right! It was so insignificant it was really nothing!’ Carli hisses, holding back her tears. ‘I’m going back.’
‘Go ahead. But don’t expect me to come visit you in prison.’
Carli just snorts and turns on her heels. The two cousins look at each other.
‘Fuck!’ Django starts after Carli.
‘What are you doing?’
‘She’s right. We can’t just leave the poor woman. Get the car, we’ll meet up here.’
‘No, you get the car.’
Django opens his mouth, but Jal cuts him off. ‘I don’t know where it’s parked.’
Granny has been thoroughly examined and reassured about her frostbite and her broken ribs. She is old and it will just take a little more time to heal. She can live with that. But she has also undergone a neurological exam which made the doctor send her down for a MRI scan and now he has been going on for at least three minutes about something she just might guess is rather serious, but the medical terms are too many and unknown to a layman like herself.
‘What do you mean? Could you explain that to me again, but as if I was seven years old? Please.’
‘An emotional shock can most definitely cause amnesia, as can a concussion. But here it is paired with the impact of the malignant tumor on the right side lobe of the brain, which might have caused the amnesia on its own, and in that case it is irreversible…’
The doctor explains again, trying to keep his medical jargon out of it but Granny tunes him out after the first sentences. Cancer. A brain tumor that is growing, causing not only long and short memory loss but also a loss of her ability to plan ahead. To have a future.
Such a bizarre feeling, this sense of déjà vu. She swallows and focuses on the doctor again.
‘I’m sorry. Could you repeat that?’
‘Err… Of course. Ahem. You could find it hard to imagine the future because we imagine it based on our recollections of the past.’
‘Nono, the treatment part.’
‘Ah, yes. There is treatment – classical and experimental treatment – that might slow down the process-’
‘So I’ll get well again?’
‘As I already said – we have to define if your retrograde amnesia is paired with hysterical amnesia caused by an emotional shock. Amnesia is very rare and usually resolves itself after a few days. Just give it time.’
Granny looks imploringly at him. She clears her throat. ‘I didn’t mean the amnesia. Will I heal?’
The doctor tries to meet her eyes. ‘I’m sorry.’
Granny covers her face with trembling hands. She shakes her head in disbelief, then more vigorously, as if the darn tumor was fastened in her tousled hair. If only it could go away like her memory.
The doctor puts a soothing hand on her shoulder. ‘I shall have to go now. I’ll see to it you’re transferred to oncology so we can start the treatment as soon as possible. I believe you were accompanied by family. I’ll tell a nurse they can join you.’
Family? What family? Granny doesn’t even realize that she is crying. She just nods, staring at the wall between her fingers and trying not to lose her composure altogether. Family? She doesn’t have a family… At least not one she knows of. And if she has, where to start looking for them?
Part II – End of Chapter 43
A million thanks to Cyclonesue for their Bracken Hill Gypsy Camp which is spot-on amazing,
to Norn for their world Northeney – a true little jewel –
and to [DescargasSims] for their Hospital De la Pradera, very detailed and authentic!