Blackbird Has Spoken: Part 7
From Blackbird Has Spoken: Part 6
Ivy woke early one morning to an intense sense of impending doom she couldn't shake. She was short with Cloe all morning. Ivy found a brief reprieve seeing Dr. Wong. He gave Cloe and Ivy off unit privileges and they joined a supervised walk to a local park. Ivy and Cloe were enjoying the outing until Ivy asked Cloe why she returns to the hospital so often. Cloe ran off and Ivy pursued.
"Cloe, I want to ask you a question?"
"Well, you are so cheerful most of the time. I'm just wondering what brings you to the hospital so often?"
The world doesn't feel safe. And, like you, I've tried to end it all...more than once. And sometimes I do things I don't remember doing. One time I found myself a hundrend miles away and didn't remember how I got there. I do other crazy stuff."
"...Are you going home soon?"
"The very thought always sends me into a panic. I can't live with the constant fear, horrible memories, and lapses in time. I hate the humiliation of wigging out. That's why I've tried to, you know, end it."
"...Cloe, let's pinky swear we'll stay alive. If we stick together, we'll be able to love and support one another."
Cloe didn't respond. Ivy looked over at her friend. Cloe's head was down and tears were starting to trickle down her face. Ivy felt sick at heart.
Ivy remembered Trenton had said Cloe had been spotted, but she didn't hear the rest of it. So maybe someone intervened and Cloe was okay. The rooftop was virtually empty. It came to Ivy that maybe Cloe had already jumped. Panic seized her at the thought. She began to hyperventilate. She reigned herself in by slow deep breathing and began to reason with herself. If Cloe had jumped there would be the sound of sirens and commotion. She steeled herself, nonetheless, and walked the perimeter of the roof to look down and see if Cloe was on the pavement somewhere. There was nothing. "Thank you, God."
Ivy turned to go back into the building. She descended the stairs wondering which floor to search. She decided the first from the top. As she stepped through the door she saw two security officers and a female police officer standing near an office.
"What's going on? Where's Cloe?" Ivy asked.
The female police officer spoke. "Are you Ivy Ledbetter?"
"Yes. Where's Cloe?"
"We're doing all we can. She's in the back of this office. We have someone trying to talk her in."
"Talk her in? What do you mean?"
"She's threatening to jump out the window." The officer saw the panic in Ivy. "Ivy, listen carefully. I'm officer Tollefson. We have a gentleman talking to her who has experience in this kind of situation."
"Who? Who is he?"
"His name is Trenton Scott. He's a former mental health professional."
"Trenton? I met him. What's he saying?"
"Ivy, let's stay calm. What can you tell me about Cloe?"
"She's a friend from Mercy Hospital - the psych ward. Oh, you already know that. She, uh...she goes there a lot. She's had a lot of trauma in her life. She has memory lapses and has had several attempts at suicide."
"What about family?"
"She was very close to her grandmother and mother. I know for sure the grandmother is gone. I'm not sure about her mother, but she doesn't talk about her present tense."
"What about siblings, close friends?"
"She's never mentioned siblings. I think she is an only child. She's never spoken of close friends, but that doesn't mean she doesn't have any. I just don't know. But we're close, very close."
"Can you tell me what happened today?"
"We went to the park with Tiffany and some other patients. Cloe and I were sitting on a bench talking about her childhood, happy memories of her grandmother and mother. I made a terrible mistake. I asked her why she comes to the hospital so often and she got really dark." Ivy wrung her hands and became agitated. "Oh, what was I thinking? This is all my fault."
"Ivy, this is not your fault. It sounds like you are a good friend. She obviously feels your concern and care. Now tell me what happened next."
"That's when she told me she feels unsafe in the world. She has memories of bad things, terrible things. She said sometimes she loses time, like she ended up a hundred miles away and didn't remember how she got there. Then she said she's tried to take her life more than once. I know that, it's why I'm in the hospital as well. I asked her to promise she wouldn't try it again, that we would both agree not to; that we can support each other and get well together. But she wouldn't promise." Ivy began to cry.
"Ivy, you're doing fine. This is very helpful information. How did you two end up here in this building?"
"Well, she wouldn't promise. She got dark and shoved me and told me to mind my own business, basically. I got upset and pressed her to swear she wouldn't ever try. Then she bolted. I chased her through the park, then down the street and she ran in here." Ivy looked to the door of the office.
"What's going on in there? Why are we talking when she's in there? I want to talk to her. I know I can help."
"You are helping. What has drawn you together as friends?"
"We've both lived through terrible things. Traumatic things. We both were close to our grandmothers. Both of our grandmothers sang us the same special song. We sang it together once. It's comforting."
"That's very special." Tollefson called over another officer. "Peterson? Can you come over here?"
Officer Joyce Peterson joined them. "Joyce, can you stay here with Ms. Lebetter? I'm going to get an update."
"Of course," said Peterson.
Talking it over
Peterson tried to keep Ivy calm and assured her that every measure was being taken to keep Cloe safe. After several minutes, Tollefson returned.
"Ivy, Cloe has asked for you. I need to talk to you before you go to her."
Ivy's heart quickened. She was both relieved and anxious at the thought of talking to Cloe.
"The most important thing is to remain calm, no matter what. Don't probe about things that trigger her. Just listen to her. Let her say what she needs to say. Try to distract her, engage her in things you relate to, that bring you together. But listen, you need to be prepared that no matter what, she may still act on her impulses. You must understand, you are not responsible if that happens. Trenton will be with you."
Tollefson led Ivy through the main door of the office. They went down a hall past a few cubicles, copiers, smaller offices. At the very end Tollefson stopped and reminded Ivy once again to remain calm at all costs. Then she opened the door quietly.
Ivy saw Trenton sitting on a chair talking to Cloe who was sitting in the open window.
"Cloe," Trenton said, "Ivy is here now. Do you mind if I stay here while you two talk?"
"No, you can leave," Cloe said sharply.
"Cloe, I just want to be near enough to keep you safe. How about if I sit over by the door and give you two some privacy?"
Cloe ignored him so he sat by the door, but ready to step in if necessary.
"Hey, Cloe," Ivy said. She stood about five feet from the window. Cloe was not looking at her, but down at the street, five floors below.
"Hey," said Cloe. "Look, I'm sorry for pushing you and yelling at you. I know you just care."
"I do, of course I do, Cloe. You mean everything to me. Look there's no reason to do this. I'm here for you. We'll get this together."
"Ivy I'm tired. Just so tired. I'm just done, you know? I don't have any more in me. I hear Grammy's voice calling me."
"I think I understand what you mean. I hear my Nana's voice in my head and in my dreams all the time. But your Grammy isn't telling you to jump, Cloe. That's your own demons, or the Devil lying to you."
"Gosh, you sound like Grammy. She said how the Devil wants to take us out. But I just don't see any other way. I have nothing left in me to make another day. You must know what I mean?"
"I do know that feeling, Cloe. But that doesn't mean that there is no hope. And think about it. We met under these desperate circumstances and are now pinky-sworn friends because God knew we needed each other. Talk about hope! When we entered the hospital he orchestrated the time and circumstances so we could meet and become friends. Cloe, you have helped me so much."
Cloe began to posture forward a bit and became fidgety. Ivy was suddenly filled with a Divine calm. 'Lord, please keep Cloe safe. Give me the words. Help us here,' she prayed within herself. "Cloe, how's your pinky today?"
"What are you talking about?"
"Your pinky. The one you hooked around mine and promised to be friends.
"Ivy, I see where you're going with this. Forget it. Nice try though."
"Cloe Ludlow, an oath is an oath, a promise is a promise, a pinky is a swearing of allegiance. I'm getting a complex here." Ivy said, with a hint of sarcasm.
Cloe glanced back at Ivy, the faintest hint of a smile forming. "Ledbetter, you're a drama queen, you know that? I'd give you some cheese to go with your whine, but I'm fresh out."
"Well, then," said Ivy, "I'll just have to take a rain check. You owe me and I'm holding you to it."
A long silence followed.
"Cloe, why did you call for me?"
"I guess I just wanted to say thank you and I'm sorry for hurting you."
"Thank you for what? I was rude to you today, and I'm so sorry."
"Once again, get over yourself. Rude was forgiven hours ago. No, I want to thank you for..."
"Well, come on, spit it out? I'm waiting."
"You're impossible, Ivy. Why do you have to be so wonderful when I'm trying to leave you. Yell at me, throw something at me so I can get ticked."
"I'm too tired to yell. You made me run through parks, parking lots, buildings, stairs. Do you realize I'm ten years your senior? I'm depressed, remember? That slows me down even more. What gives?" Ivy's heart flip flopped. "Cloe, you know how some people will say, 'I would die for you? Well, given our circumstances, I want to say, I will live for you. I'm going to stay on this earth because of you. And Dr. Wong. And most of all, for God, who gave us Grammy, Nana, Dr. Wong, and each other."
Off the sill
Cloe choked through tears.
"Cloe," Ivy said, softly. "I've never touched your hair."
Cloe turned and looked at Ivy, confused.
"What the heck are you talking about? My hair?"
"I've always wanted to touch your hair. It's so beautiful. It's yellow and pink, like the sunrise I saw the other day from my window."
Cloe continued to cry. "Darn you Ivy! One minute your ticking me off, the next minute your a smart mouth, and now your being mushy. My hair is nothing special, you boob."
"It is special, because you are special, and it's a part of you. In fact, I've been thinking of coloring mine pink, too."
Cloe slowly turned around, bringing her legs into the room. She slid off the sill and slumped to the floor. Her feet were bare, her shoes having fallen to the pavement below. Her designer, tattered jeans mirrored her tattered heart. She rested her head on her knees and wept silently. Ivy sat next to her friend on the ground. She touched Cloe's sunrise hair. It was warm, soft, sorrowful, and beautiful.
"Cloe. Sweet Cloe." Ivy put her arm around Cloe's shoulder and Cloe leaned into her and sobbed. Ivy caressed her hair. "It's going to get better, the morning will break again, I promise."
Return to Wong and life
Officer Tollefson drove Cloe and Ivy back to Mercy. She checked them out in her rear view mirror. Cloe was now the one touching Ivy's hair.
"Ivy, you can't dye your hair pink. You're a spring. Have you every had your colors done?"
"No, I don't think so. Does that have to do with the sixty four count Crayola's?"
"No, dopey. Everyone has a certain skin tone that looks best with certain colors. They come in categories of the four seasons. You are spring. I'd say a blue would be perfect."
"Whatever you say. You're the expert."
The squad car pulled into the Emergency room parking area. Dr. Wong was waiting with Clara Cyborn.
"Aw, there's my Dr. Wong," said Cloe.
"Uh, he's my Dr. Wong, darlin'," Ivy countered.
"I don't know why we can't share him. Isn't he the dearest man you've ever met?"
"He is. He's a light in our lives. He is kindness, love, acceptance, all rolled into one churro-saturated man."
"You know about the churros? He told me it was a secret."
"Sorry to burst your bubble. Do you know about Urban Dictionary?"
"No way, he told you that, too? He said it was a secret."
Ivy put her arm around Cloe. "I guess that means we're both special."
The two friends hooked pinky's.
© 2016 Lori Colbo. All rights reserved.