The Interview: Part II

T: Must have been nerve racking not knowing when Rog and Em would make it back with the medicine, knowing the clock was ticking and Kieran was down to perhaps hours.

K: Hard to explain. So many conflicting emotions—good and not so good.

T: Explain what you mean by “not so good.”

K: I knew Kieran could very well die in the next few hours yet I could not banish my own selfish desires to unveil my heart. The rationalizing that took place in my mind was unlike anything I had ever seen. Papa had taught me well how to stand outside the stream of thought, to observe it and see it move, see it change, to not identify with it, not to attach to it. Yet, I felt like I was in, how do you say it, no-man’s land between conflicting emotions.

T: Can you describe what you mean by conflicting emotions?

K: My mind was racing you see. On the one hand I knew I had to regain my composure as the de facto leader of Bravo-Four-Zero. I was well aware that Trev and Mel had seen a side of me they had never seen before. Quite frankly, I was embarrassed that I had lost control and I worried what they thought. Leadership is a funny thing. I couldn’t well expect my colleagues to remain cool under pressure when I wasn’t. I also knew it was silly to be wasting time on what they may or may not have thought at this point.

T: Was that it?

K: [laughter] Oh, that wasn’t even the beginning.

T: Please continue.

K: I felt fear like I had never felt it before. The emotions from a few hours ago were still fresh and not all that far from the surface of my mind. I feared they would overwhelm me again, that I would lose control again. I never knew how strongly I felt about Kieran until that moment at the window.

T: Sounds perfectly natural.

K: Do you see the pattern here? Think for a second. Think about what I’ve told you. About Papa. What he taught me.

T: Not sure I follow.

K: Every emotion positioned me at the center of the universe. Me, me, me. My image. My love. My needs. My wants. My view. My vanity. My fear.

T: Oh.

K: See the pattern?

T: Now that you mention it. But it . . .

K: No buts. That wasn’t me. That wasn’t the granddaughter Zeke had raised. I hardly recognized myself and it made me sick to my stomach. And yet.

T: And yet what?

K: And yet the relentless assault of emotions continued unabated. I did rather admire the utter uncompromising and ruthless nature they exhibited. May we all be so resolute.

T: Interesting view.

K: Never mind that. Let me get to the story.

T: My pardon.

K: So I decided to go see Kieran. Not sure where that decision came from but the next thing I knew, as if my body was acting on its own, I had gotten Trev to agree to let me in and I was walking down the corridor to the iso ward. That’s when I came to the door.

T: Which door is this?

K: The same bloody door, no pun intended, I had knocked myself out trying to open.

T: Yes.

K: Well, here is the irony.

T: I don’t see it.

K: I’m standing in front of the door. It’s unlocked. And I just froze. My mind said open the door and my body refused to respond. Have you ever thought what it would be like to try and lift your arm and your arm didn’t move? Think about that.

T: So you didn’t go in and see Kieran?

K: I didn’t say that.

T: You’re right. Please accept my apologies. May I ask you a question that’s been eating at me since yesterday?

K: Absolutely.

T: Did your perception of Kieran change when you found out he had two hearts, that he was a child of the shells?

K: No. Why would it?

T: Seems like he would have been seen as . . .

K: As what?

T: Well, as not normal.

K: And?

T: I would think it would have changed your view of him.

K: It did. He was that special shell Papa held to the sun, that rare shell of inestimable value. One in a million.

T: The admiration still sparkles in your eye today.

K: [smiles] What can I say. I was head over pampus boots.

T: So you are standing at the door.

K: Yes. I’m standing at the door and my mind is saying open the door but my body won’t respond. I’d never had a time in my life where my body refused to respond to my command.

T: So what did you do?

K: About that time Trev came up behind me and he must have seen my dilemma.

T: Do you think he knew?

K: Knew what?

T: How you felt about Kieran.

K: He knew something wasn’t right with me but I don’t think he knew. I think he felt I was still in some sort of shock.

T: So Trev comes up and?

K: He says “boo.”

T: What?

K: He broke the trance I was in. I had to laugh but it worked. I reached out, opened the door and walked in.

T: Alone?

K: You’re learning fast [laughter]. My fear came too. The two of us, standing side by side next to the bed.

T: Was Kieran awake?

K: Not at first. I stood and just gazed at his angelic face. Part of me wanted to wake him, to see his beautiful, bright intelligent eyes. I wanted to see the life in them, I wanted them to see me, to reflect my image. Oh hell, I wanted him to sense what was pounding in my heart.

T: The pattern.

K: Yep. I was fully aware. Queen of the universe. If my hands hadn’t been bandaged I would have been tempted to slap myself. But then the fear beside me whispered ever so slightly. Whispered the most horrible things.

T: Such as?

K: This is it. Those eyes will never see light again, will never see you again. The image you see before you is the same one you will see at his service. Steel yourself, there are others to think about.

T: That doesn’t sound like fear.

K: He brought his friend. Guilt. Odd pair but they were tag-teaming me.

T: Did you blame yourself?

K: Oh hell no. We never did discover how we got the virus onboard or why Kieran was the only one affected.

T: Why the guilt?

K: Selfishness. Rog and Em were in danger too. Who knows what had happened in that Tear but I wasn’t thinking about them and their lives and I knew it. I wasn’t really thinking about Kieran either. I was thinking about me. I wanted Kieran to live for me. That’s where guilt made himself known. I practically invited him in and he made himself at home.

(to be continued)