WALKING WITH ACHILLES

EPILOGUE

After Al had gone back to check on Sam, Verbena had, as promised, returned to the Waiting Room to continue counseling with Tommie Emerson in whatever time she had left. However, after about twenty-five minutes, she began to recognize the signs of psycho-senergizing that sometimes occurred between a Visitor and Sam Beckett, especially during intense, emotionally charged situations. Having heard from the Visitor's own lips some of what her life was like up to the moment Sam had leaped into her life, the project's chief psychiatrist wasn't caught unawares when Tommie had become agitated. Verbena had, instead, wisely just watched as the battered young woman –the signs of her battered state visible only on the aura of the man whom GTFW had sent to help her—had paced round and around the Waiting Room. Where psycho-senergizing was concerned, it could be a gamble whether or not to intervene. The only hard and fast rule to which Verbena Beeks held herself regarding it, was to act only if it was plainly clear that the Visitor's immediate physical or mental well being was in danger by the psycho-senergizing. Knowing what Tommie's life had been like up to the moment of her appearing in the Waiting Room, Verbena remained vigilant. As it turned out, almost as soon as the psycho-senergizing began, it ended. Verbena didn't need to hear Ziggy say what she intuitively concluded when Tommie suddenly returned to sit on the side of the bed and looked to Verbena where she sat in the chair placed near by. When the Visitor didn't speak, Verbena took the lead. "What's wrong, Tommie?" she questioned, keeping her tone and voice calm.

Glancing around the large soft blue room before meeting the kind, understanding eyes of Dr. Beeks, Tommie shivered lightly, wrapping her arms over her chest and rubbing her palms up and down her arms.

"I'm so afraid."

Verbena, sensing how quickly her time with Tommie was slipping away, forced herself to maintain her calm, asking "Of what?" When Tommie finally answered, the psychiatrist felt her heart leap within her in gratefulness when the Visitor met her gaze and admitted, "Of being on my own. I've never been on my own before. I've always had someone to take care of me."

Rising from the chair, Verbena walked to the bed. Taking Tommie's hands in hers, she squeezed them gently and smiled at the young woman. "You still have someone to take care of you," Verbena told her. There was no such thing as Tommie not asking the next question; it was a given.

"Who? Who's going to take care of me?"

A broad, encouraging smile appeared on Verbena's face as she first hugged Tommie. Then, leaning back so she could look straight into those blue eyes, said firmly, "You. "

"I…I don't know…"

"Tommie," Verbena called the Visitor's name firmly. "Look at me." When their gazes met, the psychiatrist said, "I know we've only known each other a very short time but, when you were talking with Al, do you believe that he told you the truth?"

"Oh, yes, ma'am," Tommie said, not hearing the firmness in her voice.

Verbena's expression increased in matching degrees of confidence to her smile as she asked, "Do you trust me, that I have told you the truth?"

Tommie repeated again, "Oh, yes, ma'am, I do."

Verbina took a step back, still holding Tommie's hands, urging her to stand up and face her. When Tommie stood eye to eye with her, Verbena told her, "Now I want you to repeat after me: I am going to make it." She had the Visitor repeat the phrase a couple of more times. The third time she heard the ever so subtle change in Tommie Emerson's voice as she said, "I'm going to make it." The words were barely out of her mouth when Verbena saw Tommie's eyes half close then watched her sway slightly as if dizzy. Time was up.

Quickly the psychiatrist gave Tommie a warm hug and stepped back from her a bit, still holding her hands gently and looking into the blue eyes watching her intently. "Remember what Al told you, Tommie, and believe it, REALLY BELIEVE it. You are stronger than you realize, and I know you're going to make it."

Then, from one moment to the next Tommie Emerson was gone back to her life. After another moment, Verbena Beeks looked around the large room then exited it without comment and headed for her office to start her report on this leap.

Once more the Waiting Room was empty.

The End