There was very little conversation between Dina and Steve on the drive to the research hospital. They didn’t know where to begin, so they didn’t. Steve only went as far as to explained the situation with Katie.
“She and Arf have come a long way together and she trusts him, but there is still something holding her back.”
“And you think it has something to do with my leaving. She was just a baby,” Dina said as she stared out the window of Steve’s truck. “I thought it would be better for my daughter not to remember me at all than to remember watching me die.”
“Listen, Dina…I’m not at all sure this is the right way to go about introducing the two of you but there really is no way of knowing how she’ll react in any scenario. We’re going to have to proceed with caution.”
“Of course, Steve, I don’t want to hurt Katie more than I already have.”
***Well, everyone went off and left me behind. Steve went to see Katie and Brad and Jamie took a bunch of stuff to the farm. I shouldn’t say everyone left. Miss Bessie and Grandma Helen are still here, but they’re just being weird. Yesterday, they were painting pictures of root vegetables. Who wants to sit around and look at a turnip or a potato all day.
Oh well, guess I’ll mosey into the kitchen. Maybe one of them will feed me. I’m hungry!
In the kitchen…Miss Bessie was talking to Grandma Helen…
“I don’t know about you, Helen, but I really miss little Katie and I feel sorry for poor Arf. He and Katie were doing so well together. It must seem to him like they are being kept apart while “others” are taking over.”
“I see what you mean,” Helen responded. “I’m more nervous than a cat in a room full of rockers. It worries me that Steve is taking my daughter to see Katie. Who knows how that will all play out. In the scheme of things, I mean.”
“Shh…here comes Arf, poor fella. Let’s do something fun with him, today,” Miss B said. “I know…Let’s paint his picture.”
After visiting with Katie’s counselor, Steve and Dina walked out to the courtyard where they were told she would be. They found her sitting in her wheelchair near a flower garden. Sam, her physical therapist was there, too. They appeared to be in a deep conversation.
“Katie, sweetheart, I brought someone to see you.”
Katie turned to look, and suddenly burst into tears. “You’re my mommy aren’t you?” Where is Arf, Daddy. I need to see Arf!”
Neither Steve nor Dina knew quite what to say, but Sam did.
“It’s okay, Katie. You’re mommy needs to tell you some things that everyone who loves you thinks you need to hear. Arf has not abandoned you. He knows how much you need him.”
“But what if I can’t walk? What if Arf can’t teach me? Will you leave again, Mommy?”
Dina and Steve both rushed to the side of their precious little girl.
“Sweet, sweet, Katie,” Dina said softly as she brushed a wayward hair from Katie’s face. “I never meant to hurt you. I was very sick and I was told I couldn’t get better. I was afraid it would be too much for your daddy to have to take care of both of us. I realize how wrong I was.”
Katie wasn’t hearing what her mother was saying. “Please Daddy,” she begged. “Go get Arf. I really need him. I really, really need Arf.”