Warnings: DUDE! are you gonna make me do this again? – Okay so i warn for everything that will make your eyes and brain bleed.
AN: I know i shouldn’t have made another chapther, but this just popped in there, and so i had to write it out.. damn bunny! This is not a real chapter per se, it’s just.. hmmm.. i don’t know what it is, pictures and text? and because i just couldn’t leave Camillo/Ruben like that.
The end of the century
I said my goodbyes
For what it’s worth
I always aimed to please
But I nearly died
Broke up the family
For what it’s worth
I have a slow disease
That sucked me dry
For what it’s worth
I tear the sun in three
To light up your eyes
Placebo – For what it’s worth.
Frankie lit up in a smile, “That would be nurse Frankie to you my dear.”
Penelope grinned, “Yeah I heard, congrats.”
Frankie stopped in front of his friend and colleague, and yawned, “On your way home?” He asked.
“Nope,” Penelope shook her head, “I just came in. So it looks like you’re stuck with me today.”
Penelope nodded as well, and crossed his arms. “You favourite pet got a letter. With pictures.”
“Damn.” Frankie whined, “And how the hell would you know there is pictures?”
“I opened it, durr!” Penelope shook her head amused.
“Do we really have to give it to him? I mean, could we just give him the letter, and not the pictures?” Frankie asked, looking slightly hopeful for a moment.
Penelope frowned, “If it was my call, then none of them should get letters. It does them no good at all to know that there is a world outside, a world that doesn’t need them, and half the time they don’t even..”
“I hear you.” Frankie sighed.
“But we are bound by law, I’m afraid.” Penelope sulked.
“Is the video still over at the B wing?” Frankie asked, pointing across the courtyard.
“I suppose so.” Penelope said. “Call an orderlies to fetch it for you.”
“Sure.” Penelope said. “And welcome back.”
“Thanks.” Frankie smiled, “Not that any of my patients recall that I was ever gone.” He chuckled at his own stupid joke.
“Well I should go look at some paperwork, I’m sure it didn’t vaporize over the weekend.” Penelope sighed. “See you at lunch.”
“Yeah.” Frankie said, as he started to walk down the hall, passing Penelope.
Ruben looked down at his hand, and with a blue ball pen it said ‘nurse Frankie’. He smiled and nodded, “I got a letter from my sister Helene.”
“Yes you did.” Frankie smiled.
Ruben nodded determined.
“Your memory has improved since I was last here.” Frankie said, “The headnurse told me that you didn’t wake each morning, freaking out because you didn’t know where you were.” He smiled at Ruben. “That’s at least good.”
“It’s not that I remember where I am.” Ruben admitted, “But I somehow know that I gotta be here, so no it doesn’t freak me out, and I got post-its for the rest.”
“So?” Frankie said softly, “It’s a small step in the right direction, that you wake up and read your post-its.” He turned his head and smiled at Ruben, “I think all that routine paid off.” He saw Ruben smile a little shy smile.
“Okay,” Frankie handed Ruben his letter. “Before you read it, I should let you know that the tv is here for a video we made when Grey was here visiting, I have read your letter, and I am sure that you need to watch this too..” He blinked, smiling reassuring at Ruben. “You always get upset when you have letter. But don’t be ashamed, no one will think any less of you, and I mean that. I think it’s also only fair to tell you that I know you Ruben, even if you don’t remember me, I have been your nurse for a while, then I left to finish my training, and came back here to my old job. So I haven’t been around lately. Do you remember that your nurse was a woman named Penelope?”
Ruben shook his head, staring at the letter in his hands.
“Well I am telling you this, because I have met Grey when he was here, and I talked over the phone with your sister Helene several times, also I read your case files more than once, I know about your childhood, I know about Imogen, your mother and Bill. And Ruben, look at me.” Ruben looked over at Frankie. And Frankie continued now that he had Rubens focus for a moment, “I feel you should know this, so you don’t think you need to explain anything, or hide anything. And if something confuses you, just ask. Maybe I can help you. Okay?”
Ruben nodded and slowly pulled the letter from the envelope.
I’m sorry it’s been so long since I sent you a letter, I sent you the wedding pictures, and the nurse told me he would have them framed for you, so you didn’t forget. I guess I just forget to write, no pun intended. =) I got a better flat, close to Silent Robin estates, where you used to live. I also found a new girlfriend, but I still drive that goddamn school bus. So I had some pictures laying about for you, some of them are a little old, they are from when Aaron was a baby. Grey told me one day he had had a little too much wine that he had insisted that his first-born son was named that, means something with shining light, or some shit like that. He wouldn’t get into it, but I suspect it has something to do with you, mainly because he clammed up about it. He always clam up when it comes to you, I think he might regret his decision, but I am not sure. Don’t hold me to that one. Anyway, here are some pictures.
These are quite old as I said, I took these when I visited Grey and Maria for the first time. I’m not sure if Grey would want me to show you, but he doesn’t have a say in this. I mean, this is your family too, even if it’s sorta complicated.
“Grey is about the same age as me.” Frankie said with a smile. “Don’t be sad, look at that beautiful grandson you have.”
“I hate this.” Ruben mumbled.
“Do you recognize Grey on the pictures?” Frankie asked.
“Yeah, I can tell it’s him.” Ruben whispered, “He looks happy, so that’s good.”
“Ruben..” Frankie said in a near whisper, he felt so sorry for this poor man, forced to relive this over and over, every time someone sent him a letter. Honestly he wanted to kick the sister where it hurts for it. He knew that she just didn’t understand what impact it had, it tore Ruben apart every time, and by night-time, he would have forgotten, and could live it over again tomorrow without any recollection, the heartbreak equally hard each time, because for Ruben it was the first time he heard it. “Maybe we should have started with the video. I’m sorry. I will remember that the next time.”
“You and Grey.” Frankie said, staring out the window. “We can just stop, and go outside instead if you want to.” He shifted in his seat, “Maybe we can even sneak coffee?”
“No, I want to finish this.” Ruben took a deep breath and picked up the letter again.
… Anyway, Maria had their second baby and so me and Becca (My girlfriend) went there to behold the new wonder. Grey and Maria lives fucking far away, so it’s not a trip you just take for the afternoon. And wow, Aaron has gotten so big! I really wish that Grey would let you see them, maybe if you had a picture of you, Grey and the kids, it would seem more real to you. I know you Ruben, I know how much you love Grey, and I know that it must pain you that it’s like this. And I wish I could tell Aaron & Dawn about you. I wish I could tell you that they’d get curious on their own, but Grey is very tight lipped about his family. Not even his wife knows most. He gave her some halfassed story that his parents are dead, and that you are his brother who had a psychotic break,but for the sake of the children and confusion, he told everyone else that you died too. And then there is me. He never told her anything about who he is, where he’s from or whatever. Suppose he was really serious when he wanted to leave everything behind?
Here she is, your granddaughter Dawn. I figured it would make you sorta happy to know that Maria got Grey’s name when they married. Silly thought I know. But at least they still share surname with us all. I know you wouldn’t seek them out, that is not the kind of person you are. But still, I felt like I had to tell you.
Here’s Aaron. He wasn’t too happy with me sticking a camera in his face.. Don’t tell Grey, but I hope that kid grows into his chin, ’cause DAMN man! And is it me? Or does he look a little like Ginny? Hahahaha! She would have slapped me for that!
Figured that now that I was sending you pictures I wanted to send you one of my girlfriend Becca. Cross your fingers dude! She stayed around for more than 1½ year! Maybe I found a winner? Wouldn’t that be a first? Apparently pigs ‘can’ fly.
Becca shot these of Grey, me and Aaron. These are the newest family pictures I have. You can ask the nurse to hang them up with the wedding photos, just so you don’t forget us. Ruben, please would you let me visit? I really want to see you. I told you over and over. I am not mad at you, and wouldn’t come see you to judge you. I just want to see you, maybe we could go for a walk once in a while?
Anyway, just wanted to send you the pictures. I hope you are better, maybe you are finally able to sleep.
Gotta go, take care, miss you!
“Yeah.” Frankie replied softly.
“I didn’t hurt Grey did I?” Ruben asked, not sure he wanted the answer.
“No you didn’t.” Frankie said, giving Ruben a little guarded smile, “Maybe it’s time for the video.” He mumbled, mostly to himself.
Ruben had long ago learned not to question the facts presented, he didn’t doubt that Helene spoke the truth, just like he trusted his post-its. It was funny that even if he didn’t remember anything most of the time. He did ‘know’ some things, maybe it was the list he had been made to read out loud ever since he came here. He read that damn list every day, ‘My name is Ruben Teitel, and I am 39 years old. I have a brain injury, and have no to little short term memory’ If I am confused or in doubt, ask FRANKIE.’ And under this was a large blank field where he or the nurse could make comments on the board. He had written, ‘write names down on hand’ Because he knew he forgot everyone’s names. And Frankie or someone else had added, ‘You are at the neuropsychiatric rehabilitation centre at Our Mercy, and we will help you get better at remembering stuff =)’. That smiley always made him smile. During his time here he had learned though repetition what his limits were, and had learned to accept them. He knew who he was, and why he was here, and he knew that for everything else he would just ask.
This was also why he wasn’t more surprised over the pictures than he was. It just confused him and made him sad, he could see they were happy, which also made him happy. But he wanted so bad to be a part of it, and didn’t quite remember why he wasn’t. “Why..” He wet his lips, and looked directly at Frankie, “Why won’t he let me be a part of his life?” He looked down at his hand and read the name, “Frankie.” He said softly.
“Because you have to be here.” Frankie said.
“Don’t patronize me.” Ruben said, his tone hurt and angry. He held up the letter, pointing at a picture, “Look at that! Everything is alright, they are a family again!” His voice broke, “Why am I not a part of that?”
Frankie looked at Ruben with sad eyes, and pressed play on the video. And for the longest time, all that was heard was Grey and Ruben on the television, repeating the conversation they had back then. Frankie looked at Ruben in the chair as he watched the video with dawning terror written all over his face.
Frankie nodded, “I believe you.” He just said.
Ruben’s attention returned to the screen, listening to himself ending the tape. “Or maybe I would?” He whispered as the tape ended. “Maybe I would hurt them, maybe he did the right thing.. I think he did the right thing. Oh God..”
“Ruben,” Frankie said motherly, because he had had this exact conversation before, Ruben just didn’t recall it. “I think that Grey is afraid of what you make him feel. He wants to be normal, and the only way he can do that is by wearing a mask, and denying anything that remind him of what he really is. A victim, like you.”
“Maybe he can’t get himself to sever all ties? Or maybe his memories of her are happier?” Frankie smiled and handed Ruben a tissue, “Maybe he can live out his life in denial, and maybe he can’t.”
“All I ever wanted was a real family.” Ruben whispered.
“I wish.. I wish I could be there for them, you know, hang out with them, and take them to the park and stuff, like normal people do.” Ruben idly picked the fabric of the chair, and looked down at his lap. “Maybe I just have to make sure they are okay? I don’t know.”
“What about letting Helene Visit?” Frankie asked.
“No, that is out of the question.” Ruben stated with a growl.
“Okay.” Frankie said with a nod.
“I hate her.” Ruben said barely audible. “I fucking hate her!” He inhaled deeply, and let out a stuttering breath. “I hate her for being happy, I hate her for being normal, and I hate her for sending me this crap.” He curled up Helene’s letter and tossed it at Frankie. “Why does she have to remind me that I have a family that don’t need me? My own grandchildren will grow up thinking I am dead! How is that fair? She did that! She made me cry, she made me long to see them all, to drink wine and grill in the backyard, and pretend everything is okay. And there is nothing I wanted more than for everything to be alright.” He tossed the pillow from the chair at the tv. “Fuck that!” He yelled, before he just leaned over and started to sob.
Frankie sighed, he knew it would end like this, Helene’s letters always ended like this. “Ruben.” Frankie looked him, his frame shook from silent sobs. “Ruben.” He said again. “I understand why you are angry and upset, but try and remind yourself of what you said on that tape, that Grey was a survivor, I am sure that you would be proud of Aaron and Dawn too when they get older. They would never have to even ‘know’ that something like what was your reality when you were a kid, even exists.”
“True.” Ruben whispered, trying to control his breath. “But why does that exclude me?”
“That I can’t answer you.” Frankie said sadly. “What do you say we go and get that coffee in the garden now?” He stood up and held out his hand to Ruben, “Come on bud, you cried enough today.”
Ruben looked up at Frankie and smiled awkwardly as he wiped his tears away with his sleeve before he took the nurses hand. “Yeah.”
“Hey I think I see that girl, what’s her face. You know man, the one with the huge bazookas.” Frankie said, pointing out the window to the garden as they walked towards the elevator. He playfully pushed Ruben’s shoulder, “I think she likes you.”
“Why the fuck would she like me?” Ruben asked honestly puzzled.
“You’re a good looking guy, and well you can spell your own name, and don’t sit in a wheelchair.” Frankie laughed.
Ruben pushed Frankie back. and smiled. “Jerk.”
“Seriously though, live a little, as I said, enough heartbreak for one day, so lets make the rest of the day more pleasant.” Frankie laughed, “I’ll be your wingman, don’t worry.”
Frankie would later straighten out the pictures and hang them on the wall next to Grey & Maria’s wedding pictures. For a while he had thought about handing over the pictures he had confiscated from Helene’s last letter, but he decided against it and put them in the case file instead, if someone else wanted Ruben’s reaction to them, it was not his problem. But way Frankie saw it, Ruben had paid back whatever errors he had made tenfold. And all those pictures would do was to hurl him into a hour long depression. He left Helene’s note in the paper-clip.
Found these as I was about to send this letter. I cleaned up the last of mother and Bill’s stuff now, and damn did they have a lot of crap! The police took loads of stuff though, evidence apparently. And what they missed, I burned, I know you would want that. But as I said, I found these pictures and thought you might want them. Remember that butt ugly dude I dated once? The one with the expensive camera that was like fucking GLUED to his face. He came over to take some pictures of me in my prom dress, and yeah well, you and Grey are in some of them.