I lie on my bed replaying the same game of Spider Solitaire on the iPhone. Their voices rise and fall in the next room. My personality, id Jada, superego Jodi, and ego Quiet One have been warring since it arrived. I’m resolutely indifferent. Let them sort it.
Patty lies with head on paws beside me, just within reach. She watches me intently, but I ignore her.
My fingers tap the screen, undoing moves. I’m determined not to break my winning streak; a superstitious dread of the probable deadlock has taken hold. I’ve never been superstitious. Is this a new thing?
I sense another presence beside us but still don’t look up. Jodi’s voice rises again as she angrily berates Jada, her voice cracking with emotion. Jada murmurs calming words. Happy go lucky Jodi? This doesn’t bode well. The silence stretches as the visitor waits patiently for my acknowledgment. I sigh, knowing I can’t win.
I glance finally at Quiet One. She sits regarding me, her face unreadable. Her kimono has changed from a colorful motif to a disturbing plain gray. Suddenly, I feel inexplicably small. Not able to hold her gaze, I stare at the small screen in confusion.
Quiet One arm reaches across me; clearly she’s petting Patty.
She says simply, “she’s afraid of losing her freedom.”
My eyes closed as if to blot out everything. Jada has been upset since I refused to read the postcard they received. I resent her histrionics. I’m afraid too; I dont want any message from him either. I imagine Winston returning, running as fast as his doggy legs will carry him. Sending a postcard to make sure I wouldn’t miss his arrival, the little bastard.
Quiet One pauses and says with a hint of finality in her voice, “we can’t do this without you.”
I sigh, resigned. Indeed, they can’t. Progress will stall until I accept my fears. What if Winston comes back?
Party sits up. She has the postcard in her mouth. Finally, I reach for it.
It starts, “hi” in dark crayon. This isn’t Winston.
“I’m struck by the crude, barely formed letters and imagine her tongue stuck out in concentration, little fingers gripping the crayon as she struggled with her first letter.
“whar r yu? I ned to see yu. Im skard! plees kom. luv judy.”
It isn’t Winston causing havoc but Little Judi, the small me, the ever present remnant from my past. Driven by memories and fears she is too young to understand, she reacts viscerally to events happening to my adult self. The latest salvo has rocked her apparently. I’d forgotten her. Again.
Jada and Jodi join Quiet One at my bedside. They will me to be strong and pull myself together. Closing my eyes again, I inhale deeply.
Patty licks my hand and I stroke her soft fur. Time to carry on.
I”ll talk to her, I say.
I end the game with a few taps.
The transition continues.