“Kevin, your nurse is not coming back. There is nothing you can do. You might as well stop acting like this.” Tina had had it with the boy. For four years she had watched him wrap not only her husband but the Gaydos men around his little finger. Now that he didn’t get his way he had stopped eating and talking. He wouldn’t even write anymore. Even Scott couldn’t get him to do anything. He just laid around looking like he was in a daze. He had even begun to wet his pants.
Now he sat across from her in a chair at the kitchen table. A plate of spaghetti and meatballs sat before him. His favorite meal.
Kevin wasn’t paying attention to her or the food. He was going over every memory he had of his nurse. To him it seemed almost real. He could remember her every sentence, laugh, and story. He sat before her as she sang to him. He watched her crawl into his playhouse to read a book to him. He watched and listened to her as she made funny voices when she read different character’s lines. He sat with her in the park near the house in New Jersey. He remembered her arms around him on the park bench. He could still feel the warmth of those arms and smell the breeze that blew on them. His mind jumped to another time a few years later when she had taken him for a walk in Hawaii.
Scott burst into the kitchen. He looked at the full plate and the distant look on Kevin’s face. “He still the same?” he asked sadly. Tina nodded. He pulled a chair up close to Kevin and turned the boy’s face to face him. “Kevin?” He looked into the sparkling eyes and could tell they were not focused. “Kevin!”
Kevin and Nurse Jane walked on a beach. She had allowed him to take off his shoes. He loved the feel of the hot sand between his toes.
His mind jumped back to a few days ago when she was telling him about his mother. Suddenly he saw a scene that he didn’t remember. It was a bright room with a bed. On the bed, his mother laid with her arms strapped to it. Kevin looked closely at her and saw that one of her eyes had begun turning a light green. Her iris looked as if someone had swirled a drop of green paint into dark brown paint.
A man wearing a white coat came into the room. Kevin recognized the mean doctor who had taken care of him as a baby.
“Where my baby!” Annie demanded.
“I told you,” he sneered at her as though she were a dog. “When we finish the experiments we’ll take you to Kevin.”
“I been here a long time. Why I just can’t see him? I let you do everything you want to me but you never keep no promise. I want out of here! I got rights!”
The doctor laughed. “Rights!” he chuckled. “No one even knows you’re alive.”
Annie began to cry.
“Don’t cry mommy,” Kevin called to her. Scott and Tina both jumped.
“Kevin?” Scott said hopefully. Kevin’s eyes still looked far away. Scott gently shook his shoulders. “Your mommy’s right here son.”
“Kevin?” Annie called through her tears. “Is it possible? That you?”
“I’m here mommy!” Kevin soothed.
“Where you be? I can’t see you.”
“I’m in Hawaii. Where are you?”
“I don’t know. How is you talking to me? Is you real?”
“Are you mad woman? Your son’s not here.” The doctor shook his head in disgust. He thought the serum may be making her go crazy. Or maybe the miscarriage of so many babies was driving her mad. The serum seemed not to affect her but a fetus couldn’t survive. Kevin was the only one.
“Don’t listen to him, mommy. I can see you and that doctor. Can’t you see me?”
“No! I hears you in my head. I hears you just fine. Please keep talking.”
The doctor snapped his fingers in her face but she ignored them.
“I’ll tell you about my life then. If you close your eyes maybe the doctor will think you went to sleep and leave.” Annie closed her eyes and began to breathe deeply as though she were sleeping. Meanwhile, Kevin told her about his life, starting with his birth. Scott and Tina listened in wonder. Scott figured out he was talking to his real mother but thought he was hallucinating.
The doctor left the room after Annie became quiet.
“… and they put me with my father, Scott and his wife Tina. Tina doesn’t like me but Scott loves me. The nurse came with me but they took her away on my last birthday. I’m four years old now mommy.”
“Wow! Four years old? You sound so much older. I bet you a handsome boy. I wish I could see you.”
“Try!” Annie opened her eyes and tried to focus on Kevin.
“I can’t see you,” she said in despair. “How was you able to see me?”
“I don’t know. I was remembering Nurse Jane and what she said about you and then I saw you.”
“Wait! Oh my God, wait! Is you with two people…in a ...kitchen?”
“There a plate of spaghetti in front of you right?”
“Why haven’t you eaten?”
“I… don’t know. “
“You look like you in a daze. You alright son? When did you last eat?”
“A few days ago I guess.”
“Kevin you pick up that fork right now and eat! I ain’t gonna have you getting sick.”
“But I don’t want to.”
“Kevin listen, I ain’t never see you eat and I don’t get food like that up in this place. It’d make me feel so good to be able to watch my little boy eat. Now sit up straight.” Kevin sat up and looked at Scott then Tina. He picked up the fork and slowly began eating. He could feel his mother watching him. A long spaghetti noodle hung down his face. Annie began laughing and Kevin joined her laughter as he slurped up the noodle. “My sweet little boy! My son eating spaghetti!” Tears began to fall down her face.
“Can you still hear me?” Kevin said silently. He thought his words as loudly as he could.
“Yes, but you didn’t move your lips. Let me try.” Annie wrinkled her forehead as she thought hard. She asked Kevin if he heard her.
“I can hear you just like if you had spoken out loud. Now we can talk without others knowing. I wonder how long this will last.”
“I don’t know but I knows even if it don’t last I’s always gonna remember this. Now finish telling me about your life.”
“Okay but I should get away from Scott and Tina or they’ll think I’m crazy.” Kevin wiped his mouth and jumped off the chair. He looked at Scott and smiled. “I’m really tired, Daddy. I’m going to go lie down.”
“Kevin, who were you talking to?” Scott’s face reflected his worry.
“I was pretending to talk to my mommy. I didn’t freak you out, did I? It just made me feel better about losing nurse.”
“Those things you said about yourself before you came to live with me and Tina, were they true?”
“Yes, I remember all of it. I remember Tina saying I was coal black.” He watched Tina blush. “It’s okay. I know you’re not my mommy or you would have loved me no matter what I looked like.” He looked at Annie strapped to the bed. “I have my real mommy now!”Annie smiled.
“But I do love you, Kevin,” Tina insisted.
Kevin ignored her and said to Scott, “Is it okay if I go to my room?”
Scott gave him a big long hug. Kevin wrapped his arms around him and held him tight. He laid his head on Scott’s broad shoulder and sighed. Scott scooped him up and took him to his room.
As they left the kitchen Kevin stared at Tina over Scott’s shoulder. He watched as tears formed in both her eyes. One tear managed to spill just as they went through the door.
Annie was quiet while Scott tucked Kevin in bed.
“Are you okay Kevin?” Scott asked as he stared deeply into his son’s green eyes. Kevin nodded and smiled. He took Scott’s large hand into his little hands and hugged it to his chest. He wished he could stay with him forever but he knew it would not happen. Somehow he knew he and Annie were under someone else’s control. Maybe he would end up in a room strapped to a bed too.
He closed his eyes and focused on Annie. She appeared to not have heard his thoughts but she was still watching silently.
Kevin let go of Scott’s hand and pretended to fall asleep. He felt Scott kiss his forehead and heard him leave the room. As he laid with his eyes closed he realized he really was exhausted.
“Kevin, you got a real good daddy,” Annie said silently and softly.
Mother and son spoke for another hour until Kevin just couldn’t stay awake. He could hear his mother’s voice as he slipped into the grasp of a deep slumber.
“I love you, Kevin. I love you, son.”