By Felicia Ferguson
Author's Note: Frankie's stoicism in PPX while Kilmer is just skirting the edge of falling
apart always bothered me. In fact, I've often wanted to shake her and make her offer
some type of comfort to him. So I've written this to ease my mind and provide some sort
of explanation for her behavior during that episode.
"Tearless grief bleeds inwardly."
-- Christian Nestell Bovee
There was no more debilitating emotion than grief. Frankie knew that truth intimately.
As a child, it had been her constant companion for more than a year. As an adult, she
denied its existence. To do otherwise was to slice open wounds that had long since
scarred over. She could not allow that. She had barely survived her first encounter with
it and, although the adult in her realized she was stronger, she refused to renew the
acquaintance. If that made her seem cold and unsympathetic especially in the wake of
Tim's death, then fine. She at least would survive.
They had stood on opposite sides of the hall outside the autopsy bay. In the relative
privacy it would have been understood had she gripped his hand or even offered him a
safe harbor in her arms. But she had done neither. If Kilmer had wondered about her
distance, he never asked. He dealt with Tim's murder his own way: a dogged pursuit to
understand the inexplicable.
Frankie could have told him that, although reasons and motives might be discovered, they
would never fully explain the why. Not to any satisfaction, that is. Knowing the facts
did not equate full understanding. She knew the facts surrounding her parents' deaths: the
road conditions, the driver's state of inebriation, the bar tender who served him, how her
father had tried to swerve out of the way. Yet, she would never be able to comprehend
why a drunk driver had managed to adequately steer his car right up until he slammed
into her parents' station wagon. She would never understand why -- out of all of the cars
on that road -- he hit the one her parents were in. Facts might have provided justice, but
they didn't hush the screams of terror that yanked her from her bed drenched in sweat.
They didn't even soothe the ache, the constant reminder of her loss.
But then, neither did grief. It merely contributed to the pain. She had never cried for her
parents. Such a soul-deep grief has no tears. So, she had suffered in silence until the day
she looked in the mirror and didn't even recognize herself. She swore then that such an
emotion would never have control over her again.
And so, when they stood together with their colleagues at Tim's funeral, she denied the
pain. She denied the tears that stood ready to fall. She denied the need to feel Kilmer's
hand in hers. She denied it all, but bled inwardly.