In answer to the daily prompt Re-springing Your Step: Tell us about the last experience you had that left you feeling fresh, energized, and rejuvenated. What was it that had such a positive effect on you?
The smile on her face lit up the room. He had never seen her this happy in the 3 years he’d known her. Even when the verdict came out and freed her from 15 years of virtual imprisonment she was relieved but not happy. Today was different.
“Who would have thought?”
Celia had hooked her elbow around his and leaned her head against his shoulder. She did that, as if she wanted to show everyone he belonged to her. It made him smile. He looked towards Celia, while keeping an eye on Lana.
“What?” He asked.
“That she would rejoice in such a small thing.”
It wasn’t such a small thing, not for Lana. But he was the only one who actually knew how much it meant. Her stepfather had terrified the girl she once was, the young woman she’d become. The trauma of living with the man who killed her mother – well he wasn’t been condemned for that – had caused Lana to create three separate personalities that never coexisted. She was still seeing a psychiatrist for that; today was a victory in that regard too. But even Celia didn’t know that.
He smiled watching Lana, as someone approached her. She looked superb in that black dress: it was not as colourful as most of what the ladies were wearing for this fundraiser that she organized. But she hadn’t intended to come.
“I still can’t believe she came.” Celia’s voice resounded with something he had never heard there before.
“I’m glad she did.”
Declan finally answered. It was surprising to him that Celia should be envious. She’d always liked Lana; in fact he knew for certain Celia was the only person Lana considered a friend. It would be disappointing if the PhD student had only found in Lana someone to make her look good. Celia seemed to hear the unspoken words.
“I’m glad, Declan. I’m too. It’s good to see her that way. I just didn’t expect that mastering a swimming style would be enough to make come here. They’ve been inviting her for years. Even last year after you won her case, she didn’t come. You’d think it was a bigger thing.”
He laughed then; and he knew he was relieved. He hadn’t known Lana spoke with Celia about their morning lessons. And it was hard to keep something from Celia; considering how much time Declan spent with her, it was best she knew.
“She’s told you then.”
“I think that’s part of what her shrink’s advised her to do. Take pride in her achievements and share them with the people she considers friends.”
“Has she told you how long she’s been trying to learn it?”
Celia shrugged; she didn’t. He knew. That was how he met her; she told him she’d never been able to learn it. And she’d taken some lessons with him and an actual instructor for the past 2 years. Three days before, she succeeded in swimming 200 meters without stopping and Sam had congratulated her, telling her she’d mastered the style. She’d been so giddy she’d almost jumped out of the pool. She had conquered the butterfly.
Declan knew he had to be careful; she was still energized and excited about it. She was so overjoyed she’d decided to come to the fundraising event she had organized for the theatre. The entire cast and the organization committee were delighted she came; they had invited her for the past 5 years she’d organized and sold most tickets for the gala and the shows.
Still the shrink had advised him to ensure she didn’t get into a euphoric state. Getting out of it could have catastrophic effects. Lana was aware of this: she knew perfectly that the downside of achievement could become to not have anything else to reach for. She was realistic about it, and because of that, she’d asked him and Celia to come with her tonight. She looked their way and smiled. Black wasn’t the best colour for her pale complexion, but it looked very classy. It might be a lot of thresholds reached for this week…
She came towards them. She wasn’t completely at ease. He knew her well enough.
“There are so many people.” She breathed.
“You’re ok?” Celia asked letting go of his arm and taking her friend’s.
“I’m fine. For now. But is it ok if I stay with you for a while? It’s…”
“Overwhelming?” Celia laughed.
Gently he took Lana in his arms and kissed her brow.
“You’re doing fine.”