She was lying on the floor, watching the roses of the ceiling spinning around the chandelier. "So hypnotic." she whispered to her cat, "I wonder if whoever painted them noticed. Poor chandelier, I bet he's tired of running from their thorns," she said with pity. "Do you ever get tired of chasing mice?" she looked at Mr Ray, who enthusiastically licked his orange paw. "Yes," she grinned, "I guess not."
"My goodness! What are you doing there?" she said, breathless.
"I was seeing the painting, it's alive,” she said while sitting.
"Nonsense. Now please get up." she commanded, offering her hands as support.
"Why?" she asked.
"Well, you can't be on the floor." she stated.
"I can't?" she opened her eyes.
"No. The doctor specifically told us you needed to rest, and I wager he didn't mean on the floor." she mocked, helping her get up. "Yes dear, sit there, this chair is special for your condition. It'll help you." she promised, handing her some books.
"Thank you." she said, looking through the window, the only frame that allowed her to see the real world.
"Not a word dear, I'm doing what I have to.” she said, adjusting her headdress. Miss. Adelaide despite her age looked like a young woman. She had a beautiful green dress with gold ornaments and graceful manners. She said it was all about demeanours and being married to an honourable man. However, Christine didn't believe that; she dreamed about anything but a man and proper behaviour.
The ring bell clanged, and a goosebump ran through her skin, light as the clouds and smooth as her cat's fur, she was indeed a fine woman, but with something wrong in her inside, as her doctor said on their last meeting. He was an intelligent and sophisticated man that proudly carried his white coat anywhere he went. In Brickstone’s town, he earned the respect of the people because he has had treated challenging cases, miraculous, some say, and had never lost a patient. This is why Miss Adelaide presented to him Christine's case; she wanted him to heal her at any cost, and therefore, she remained locked up every day in what she described as a modernised dungeon: comfortable but suffocating.
"That must be the Green's," she was about to leave when "You don't need anything, do you?" she smiled "Do you remember the rule I gave you?" Christine nodded, looking away, while her aunt closed the door slowly, she knew the guests were, as expected, already received by the housemaid, and didn't want them to hear anything but the whistling tea.
Christine kept silent during their visit. She read until her eyes dazzled with the letters, green-blue like her mother's. "Is it a 'b' or a 'q'?" she asked to the air that played rudely with her hair "although it could also be a 'd'" she rolled her eyes frustrated, stopped reading with a sigh.
"Do you think I can stand up?" she asked to the sky, which moved softly as a lullaby "You're right, I should try first," she replied, stretching her left hand to try to touch one of his silvery cottons. "Oh, I do can." she said puzzled, seeing how the wanton air, lifted her dress.
"What's the hurry, Mr Air? We have to know ourselves better before anything else." she jested, walking around her bedchamber: the smallest and the most hidden one in the house, decorated with an olive green wallpaper.
"What is it?" she asked to the meow of her cat "Don't tell me you're hungry," she put her hands on her waist "You must take care of your health, you know? I didn't want to say this but, you’ve grown, and not in height." she pointed at his belly. “Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be rude.” she apologized to Mr Ray's following meow, both in the same grouchy din. She looked again to the window, this time she was closer to the air, near to the light; she missed the way sunrays coloured in a radiant tone her skin. She used to imagine that when its rays touched her, she looked like a star, and she liked that feeling. That dream of maybe someday, glide on the sky next to the stars, far away from the ones who imprisoned her and from whom wanted to destroy her longed-for fantasies; the sole thing she yearned to grip.
"It's like a competition to them," she sobbed "the first to vanish her will win!" she imitated the voice of a merchant "well you can't defeat me!" she shrieked, letting go of the lump in her throat, feeling how its threads harmed her vocal cords. Her aunt walked rapidly through the stairs, lifting her dress to her knees as the echo rumbled ceaseless in the house, vanishing the cinnamon scent and the calm that Miss. Adelaide relished so much to keep.
"Dear me!" she opened the door, encountering Christine clinging to the bars of the window, her feet and torso hanging, and her nails snapping into the black metal.
"No!" she wailed when Miss. Adelaide tried to separate her hands from it, as they've turned into a purple-red stained.
"Let go, dear, I'm here." She got on her knees "Nothing is going to happen to you, I'll protect you..." she said quietly, giving thanks to God that the Green's were long gone "Oh dear Lord, help her, as I seem to be useless." she pleaded, observing how Christine slowly let go of the bars and felt into her arms.
"Christine," she said after a minute "don't you remember you can't scream?"
"I can't?" she wiped her eyes.
"No. Doctor Rupert said you must rest, and do nothing that could alter your body and mind's peace. Don't you want to be better?" she beamed, caressing her head.
"I do, I do want to get better, but I need to. I’m not. Perhaps." She tried to pronounce, seeing how her desire escaped from her as steam does from the teacup.
"The hospital he mentioned,” she said to herself out loud “in there they will be able to do the things I cannot." she got up, voicing a grunt.
"No, please.” she snivelled, “I promise I'll be better," she said, before once more, watching her aunt leave. "Please..." she repeated scarcely, shuddering at the idea. She did not trust Doctor Rupert.
Months passed, and Christine kept her word. She did never lie down again on the floor neither screamed; she used her voice suitably, and only when required. When the year came, Miss Adelaide let her know one more thing she couldn't do: move. Therefore, she hired extra help, to get her from bed to the chair, from the chair to her bed, despite deep down Christine believed she was capable of doing it herself, but she obeyed as promised, for the Doctor Rupert wouldn't confine her. She feared many things and had forgotten many others, but the strap that crammed her lungs was the only thing, in addition to the chair and the purple pills, she hated the most. She knew hating was wrong, but she allowed herself to do so only with them.
"Hope is something mustn't die, Mr Ray," she spoke for the first time in months, as she had kept all her secrets to herself. She knew they would hear her, and were writing every word on their notebooks. ‘It must be sad, being forced to steal from others to feel even a little of what does not lie in the brain but the heart.’ she let the tear run down her face until it jumped quivering to the ground.
"A friend," she repeated, with an empty gaze.
“Did you said something, dear?” Miss Adelaide turned at her; she was sewing a black shawl. “Oh, dear Lord, a bee!” she screeched running from it. At that moment, a nurse came hastily to the white room, for she had heard Miss Adelaide's outcry.
"I haven't done a sting!" the bee exclaimed, looking desperately for shelter as the nurse was trying to thwack her.
"Under the sleeve of my garment," Christine said, in a hoarse mutter, one that between the merciless chase, only the kind-hearted bee, could hear.
The bee flew under it without delay and breath relieved once at ease. "Thank you," she said, crawling to her arm. "I hope you don't mind, but the flannel is cold, and you're warm." She didn't. She enjoyed the caress feeling of its paws despite she know no one was allowed to touch her, or so Miss. Adelaide and Doctor Rupert had said.
"I believe it's gone, Miss." she move her neck to both sides, didn't see anything in that angle.
"Yes," she said without breath, adjusted once again her dress, this time red with silver petals in the sleeves. "Don't bother Christine to warn me" she grumbled.
"But you said I can't speak" she cleared her throat in a subtle cough.
"Yes," she remembered "You're right, you can't but now you have and Doctor Rupert will have to..." She saw Christine's tears. "Rest, child. I'll come back tomorrow" Left with the nurse, who was disappointed, as always, of the behaviour of Christine. She breathed confidently when everyone was gone. She missed Mr Ray.
"Thank you," said the bee, it had climbed to her neck by the threads of her hear. "You are welcome" the bee flew to in front of her face, wanted to see what kind of coat she was wearing, it was summer after all. "Why is that you aren't allowed to speak?"
"I am allowed, I just can't do it," she explained patiently
"I do not understand how is that you can't do it but yet you can do it. Is this another human habit? You know, sometimes your people are too strange for my kind. We never seem to comprehend what your doing..." it descended into her leg.
"I have a condition, you see, I can't do certain things. I'm not... normal" she repeated Doctor Rupert's phrase.
"And why is that? I don't see anything wrong with you, except for the fact that you do things you think you can't do. Oh," it sighed, "what a riddle, I might get ill if I continue to think about the incongruity of the matter." it shooked its head. "Well, it was a pleasure to meet you Christine, but I'm afraid I have to go. Us bees are never supposed to rest; we have a whole planet to look after!" took off in flight, saying goodbye with his front right palate.
"Wait!" She screamed "Oh no, I can't scream" she started to cry, caused a great void in the heart of the bee.
"I will come back tomorrow, I promise!" Both smiled. Little did they know, for that be the beginning of a friendship that, someday, would rescue Christine.
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