I got in around 1100 this morning. Case and Bri were waiting for me at the station. You'd think I'd been gone for months by the way we greeted each other. I guess, in a way, I've been gone a lot longer than that. 73 days to be exact.
At least I was on a leave of absence, not medical leave, but personal. I'll worry about that later. Right now I'm home, I'm really home.
Case could see it right off. I'm not the same as I was before– but I am whole. I am still me.
Bri wasn't taking any chances. She watched me like a hawk, making sure I didn't disappear on her.
I think that's the worst thing about all this-- not being able to explain it to her. I've been gone before, but what happened to me in the arcology changed me. By Bri's bed time it became obvious that she wasn't going to be leaving me any time soon– so we slept, Bri curled up in my arms and Case holding me protectively.
As warm and secure as possible in an insecure world.
We took the day off. Case and I took Bri to the museum, then to Lynwood to see Mario and Trina. From there we went to Council Island to visit with everybody there.
It was partially for Bri, a bit for me, but mostly to tell our loved ones that I was indeed home.
Then there was the three hours worth of phone calls to Baltimore. Jenny, mom, dad... even the others were happy to know I was... getting better.
I won't fool myself into believing I'm cured and that everything will be fine, but I am on the way.
I was realizing how much I needed my extended family when I unpacked my things. At the bottom of my duffel was the paper I'd written my truths on...
When I opened it up, I found that someone had added one more:
No matter where you are, or how bad things may get– your friends will be there for you.
It was signed ‘Your friends.'
I know Case was dying of curiosity. But there was so much I couldn't tell him. I was told to be... discreet. I did tell him what I could. How I needed to find out where I was, who I was now, before I could deal with what happened inside.
When I finished he asked. "Can you tell me what... it did to you?"
I looked at him and chuckled. "It showed me– I was only human."
He looked at me, he batted his eyes. "So... someone finally got that through that thick skull of yours."
I nodded. "Yeah well... I didn't cope to well with it at the time."
He held me in his arms like he was trying to shield me from it all.
"Now," I answered, turning towards him. "I think I can accept that."
It is something I can accept. I am only human. I can only do so much, take only so much... but there are a lot of strengths that come with that. I feel, I live– I love.
I can definitely deal with that.
I surprised the shrinks at Citywide today. I made an appointment.
We talked for quite a while, and the shrink asked me why I didn't come to them in the first place.
I told him what he already knew. I was too stubborn– and for anything to stick, I had to find it on my terms. It would have been so much easier to have one of them work with me, but I had to get over that hurdle on my own.
Admitting I need help isn't so hard, realizing it was. I was a candidate for burnout. No, I was in burnout, the arcology only accelerated the process. I understand that now too, I'm slated for a "Critical Incident Stress Debriefing".
We take it one step at a time, and we deal with it as it comes. Maybe this was the reason everything happened. So that I would know what I needed– what other people needed.
I've dedicated my life to keeping the physical together. To me life has always been about Body and Spirit. The mind just came along for the ride. There are priests and clergy willing to help the victims– but there are very few shrinks to help people deal with the mental and emotional aspects of what happened.
I've drafted my medic buddies to help with the physical– it was time to see if Citywide's support staff was willing to pitch in.
Dr. Alvarez didn't let me down.
I think I understand now.
And so I return to work, doing what I can to keep the body together until the healers can do their job. The doctors who heal the body, the clergy who heal the soul, the doctors and others who heal the mind.
I'd like to say that everything is all right. I'd like to say that the 'crisis' is over, and we can all get on with our lives, but its not. From the looks of things all the work we've done to date has only made the smallest of differences-- gigantic differences in those who were rescued... but so little in comparison to what is going on inside those walls.
I do not know if we will win-- I don't even know if this is the sort of thing you can win. It doesn't really matter.
I will not quit. This battle must be fought. We cannot forget the people inside-- or fail those who get out. If Seraph had stopped to count the cost-- to weigh the odds... I would still be there. For the 100,000 people inside that building the nightmare continues, and it will continue long after the walls are breached and the people are free.
And so we continue. Each rescue is a victory. Seraph and those like him will free them physically... it is up to the rest of us to help them find their way home and to be there for them physically, emotionally, spiritually.
It is what makes us... people.