"I sleep. I inhabit sleep firmly, willing it, wielding it, pushing away dreams, refusing, refusing. Sleep is my lover now, my forgetting, my opiate, my oblivion"

Audrey Niffenegger


A BAD NIGHT

"Hurry up, uncle Jesse".

Daisy was waiting for her uncle near his truck, her impatience shown in every gesture: her nervous walking near the truck with her arms folded, her continuous sighing and shaking her head, despite her clear tiredness due to a sleepless night.

Uncle Jesse too had signs of a sleepless night on his face as he walked out the farm, and not only of a sleepless night but also of a hard fight to convince Daisy to wait 'till the morning to reach Ridge Institute as Miss Kate suggested him because of the blizzard.

Bo and Luke looked at their uncle and Daisy from the farm's threshold, still in their pajamas, their arms folded against the cold of that early morning.

"Uncle Jesse, tell Enos…", Bo stopped, what to say?, "… hug Enos in behalf of us", his voice cracking nearly imperceptibly, but not so imperceptibly to Luke who patted his younger cousin on his shoulder, nodding. After a long talk they decided to stay at the farm, well knowing their presence at the Institute could be embarrassing because of Enos' attitude to hide his deep emotions, especially pain, despite their long friendship, whereas uncle Jesse was someone who could soften Enos' pride (being a sort of father figure) and Daisy… was Daisy, the one who could come closer Enos more than anyone else, even when he showed all his introversion and pride, and, besides, it'd have been impossible to convince Daisy to stay at the farm waiting for uncle Jesse and Enos coming back from the Institute.

"It's two hours far away, and I'm afraid more than two hours because of the snow", Daisy closed the truck's door, sinking into the passenger's seat and closing her eyes, her anxiety radiating from her as a heavy fog.

"Enos is not alone, Daisy. Miss Kate said she and Doc Martin were taking care of him. She seemed very worried for Enos, and loving"

Daisy shrugged, "I don't know anything 'bout this Miss Kate", in her voice a touch of irritation, "Enos never talked of her. He needs US", then she looked outside the window, "he needs ME", in her mind Enos crying on uncle Jesse's shoulder, under the rain, and then leaving the farm early in the morning without a word, "and this time I won't let him go".

Uncle Jesse drove silently, his mind still shocked because of Rose Strate's death, something really unexpected to him, in his ear Enos' sobs and his whispering his desire to have finally his mother back; by his side Daisy kept on looking outside the window, their time on the way to the Institute marked by her sighing every time they had to slow down because of the snow, her impatience so exasperated and exasperating uncle Jesse was afraid she could jump out the truck and run to the Institute by foot.

When he finally parked the truck in front of Ridge Institute, four hours after they left the farm, it was 10 a.m. Coming out the car, he looked at the scenery around him, the Ridge Mountains covered by snow and high pines and oaks surrounding a small green building; a peaceful scenery if that Institute hadn't been a psychiatric institute and if they hadn't been there because of Rose Strate's suicide.

Uncle Jesse walked to the Institute's door, Daisy by his side, still silent but clearly nervous, her impatience now tied by worrisome and fear; the snow's crunching under their shoes was the only sound around them.


Miss Kate looked at the young woman and at the white bearded man entering the hall: Daisy Duke and Jesse Duke ("uncle Jesse", using Enos' words) for sure; even if it was the first time she met them she had no doubt 'bout it, they were exactly as Enos told her.

Daisy Duke was a beautiful woman, so it wasn't surprising if Enos loved her so much, a beautiful but fierce and stubborn woman; a simple look and Miss Kate perfectly understood Daisy's temper: the way she was looking at the hall around her showed a mix of impatience, curiosity, worrisome, stubbornness and, at the same time, sweetness.

"Daisy and Jesse Duke?", her heart beating fast she walked to them, "I'm Miss Kate, Kate Wilson".

Jesse Duke took his black hat off and he held out his hand, "Nice to meet you, Miss Kate, and thanks for … everything you did for Enos".

Miss Kate shook hands with the middle-aged man, realizing, because of his sweaty hand, how much he was shocked 'bout Rose Strate's death; she felt a sudden sense of compassion for that man, so out of place in that Institute, and so strange in his Sunday best whereas Enos described him always wearing overalls and a baseball red cup. He seemed dressed for a funeral, and, somehow, it was a funeral.

Daisy stood by her uncle side, her arms folded and her look down at the floor; she wore boots, blue jeans, a pink shirt and a heavy black jacket: a simple outfit, for sure more simple and innocent than a lot of outfits (perfectly described by Enos) she used when she worked at the Boar's Nest.

"Where's Enos? How's…?"

Miss Kate wasn't surprise of Daisy's sudden question and of her direct manners.

"He's sleeping", she glanced at Daisy's surprised face and she prevented any further questions, "he's still sleeping because he had … a bad night. He needs rest", then she walked away, toward the long corridor heading to Doc Martin's office and Enos' room, letting Daisy and Jesse Duke follow her, "and… before you see Enos, you should talk with Doc Martin".

She didn't want to answer to any other question. Pretty difficult to explain how, during the night, Enos managed to come out the Institute (being she, Doc Martin and nurses busy because of a patient's bad crisis), nearly getting lost in the blizzard and nearly freezing to death in the glade where his mother and that man killed themselves; the image of Enos huddled in the snow, in the spot where only few hours before there was the black car containing Rose's and her man's bodies, made Miss Kate shiver. If they hadn't found him he'd have died; Miss Kate felt all her responsibilities: she didn't hear Rose coming out the cabin, and she didn't take care of Enos enough to avoid his running away from the Institute during a blizzard.


Huddled under the blankets, Enos' naked body trembled during sleep; he trembled then he calmed down, in a continuous and ravaging cycle, on his skin still the feeling of the snow, in his ears still the sound of the violent wind, in his eyes still the shadows of pines and oaks around him, in his hand still the feeling of the black and yellow tape.

His mind floated between a deep sleep (a total darkness without any dream), nightmares (making him tremble) and a state of half conscience. In his half conscience mixed with his nightmares he remembered Miss Kate's calling him at the Boarding House, his driving to the Institute in a sort of hypnosis, his arrival, Sheriff McGregor, the picture of that man, Miss Kate's voice as she talked to uncle Jesse by phone, the feeling of the wooden wall against his forehead, the yellow and black tape in his hand, a black car, trees, snow, wind, all mixed together, everything twirling 'round him and giving him dizziness.

He wanted only to fall in that total darkness, a sleep without dreams, a long and deep sleep alike death.


"He's sleeping", Doc Martin slowly opened the door, "He needs rest, … and warmth. So it's better to let him stay under the blankets"

Daisy looked carefully at the bed, a figure completely huddled under the blankets, his head too, so, if Doc Martin hadn't said that figure was Enos, she'd have thought he could be anyone else; she was shocked 'bout Doc Martin talking of Enos' escape from the Institute and of its possible consequences if they hadn't found him. Doc Martin was honest, he sincerely apologized for his oversight and he told them 'bout Rose Strate's departure; Daisy remembered (and she'd have remembered it forever), any words of Doc Martin, sitting in his office before to enter Enos' room and listening to any detail 'bout Rose Strate's death, details ravaging to Daisy despite Doc Martin was really careful, avoiding anything useless and too much painful; details ravaging to uncle Jesse too since Daisy didn't remember the last time uncle Jesse was so silent and thoughtful.

Miss Kate, sitting on a chair near Enos' bed, stood up as Doc Martin opened the door, and, again, Daisy wondered who that woman was and what's her relationship with Enos: she wasn't a nurse since she didn't dress nurses' uniform, and, from Doc Martin's words, Daisy knew Rose Strate lived, before her death, in a cabin with Miss Kate, and it meant Miss Kate was a patient. So, why was she taking care of Enos? Why did SHE call the farm instead of a nurse or Doc Martin? Why did Enos never talk 'bout that woman?

Daisy slowly walked to Enos' bed, looking down at that sort of sad bundle, his only sign of life being a slow breathing and sometimes a shiver. She sat on the bed near that figure and she gently rested her hand where presumably there was his head, but she didn't draw away the blankets, fearing to wake him up… and fearing to see his pain through his features. Along the last years (a couple of years), and in particular along the last months, she was realizing how much she cared for Enos, how much she was hurt by his pain, how strong was her affection for him: she changed her way to relate to him (becoming more sweet and less teasing), she stopped to flirt with any stranger coming to Hazzard and to date the kind of men she used to date (good-looking and self-confident men, but somehow vapid, or "fake", or selfish), she changed her outfit when she wasn't working at the Boar's Nest as she wanted to be more innocent and simple to anyone's eyes, to HIS eyes, she started to act as she was trying to deserve his gentle and innocent love. After their nearly wedding she started to think seriously of her relationship with Enos, wondering why she decided to marry him all in a sudden that day and why she decided to pursue that idea even when there was no more apparent reason for it (being Enos cleared from false charges); she started to try to understand that strange sense of disappointment overwhelming her after Enos decided to postpone wedding, as she was losing something she was longing for; she started to imagine her life as Enos' wife, and… thinking 'bout it, she started to lust for him. And, finally, she realized what's that mix of affection, lust, worrisome, sense of loss: it was love. But, since Rose Strate's arrival, she had no chance to talk to him 'bout it (she thought that, talking to him 'bout it at that time, being his self-confidence totally gone because of his mother, he'd have thought it was her attempt to cheer him up, he'd have doubted of her sincerity); nor she had the chance, and the willing, to talk 'bout it to anyone else.

Whereas Daisy sat on Enos' bed, uncle Jesse sat on the chair where Miss Kate was sitting before they entered the room, and now the woman was standing near the wall, looking at Daisy, a mysterious and deep look; "While you wait he wakes up, would you like something warm to drink, or something to eat? A cup of coffee, a tea, sandwiches? There's a café in the basement, and I could bring you something", her voice broke the silence in the room.

Daisy realized she didn't eat anything for breakfast, she didn't even eat anything for dinner, and her stomach's grumbling was her answer to Miss Kate's offer; she blushed because of that physical onset of her weakness, especially in front of that woman, a woman she felt somehow as an intruder into her relationship with Enos, a relationship she's always thought like something exclusive and closed.

"I suppose you didn't eat anything before to leave the farm, this morning", Miss Kate smiled sweetly, "and I think it wouldn't be fair to faint when Enos wakes up, 'cause he needs you in your… plain mind".

Daisy nodded, her head down and her cheeks burning because of her embarrassment, "Yeah, in effect… I'm a bit hungry"

"Go to the café with Miss Kate, Daisy, eat something, relax, and bring me some sandwiches and a cup of coffee when you come back, please. I'll wait for you here, it's pointless to stay here both of us since Enos seems sleeping really deeply, now".

Daisy looked in surprise at her uncle, but, from his features, she realized how much he was tired and distressed, so she decided to avoid any further fight (the fight they had the previous evening was enough); besides, he was right, Enos seemed to sleep deeply and it was pointless to stay there looking at him, both of them, and, moreover, uncle Jesse was the best one to be by Enos' side as he woke up, the most wise and the most mature, whereas, … how was she thinking to face Enos? SHE had hoped Rose Strate disappeared leaving finally Enos alone, SHE had hated Rose Strate; Enos cried on her uncle's shoulder, not on HER shoulder; her heart heavy because of her sense of guilty and inadequacy, Daisy stood up and she walked outside the room, following Miss Kate and trying to wash away that pesky feeling focusing on a new thought: she had now the chance to know who that woman was and 'bout her relationship with Enos.

Who's Miss Kate? Daisy was determined to know everything 'bout that sphinx, and, through Miss Kate, 'bout Enos and his staying at the Institute (something he's always hidden to anyone).