Mama, I love you… you’re my friend.
The little girl in the backseat of Edea Kramer’s car was fast asleep but for how long was anybody’s guess. She hadn’t slept the two previous nights because of bad dreams and finally, little Selphie Tilmitt had fallen into an exhausted slumber. The little thing was securely fastened into a car seat as Edea smiled softly. It had been two weeks since the death of her parents. Two weeks that doctors had decided the little girl needed to be watched closely for signs of distress.
The signs were there but there was nothing the doctor’s could do for the little girl until she spoke. She wasn’t harmed in any way physically but the emotional scars had yet to make themselves fully known. All the Paediatrician could ultimately do was release the little girl into the care of Kramer’s as the little girl was taken back to her room. Edea had naturally followed to make sure her new charge was comfortable in the brightly coloured room but all that Selphie did was curl into a ball around a teddy bear that had been given to her by a kind older nurse and shake.
Edea had pulled the little girl into her arms at that point and held her until the shaking subsided. The Matron didn’t have any biological children of her own but she had done this with all of her charges and she would once again, do it with her newest child. Selphie wouldn’t cry or speak. The therapists came daily to visit the little girl who stared at them numbly. They labelled her as deeply traumatized from her parents’ death and there wasn’t much they could do.
Edea had other ideas. Surround the little girl with other children her own age in a controlled environment. Use art and music therapy to find out how the little girl was truly feeling. Edea had used these methods with other children with great success and hoped that these methods too would help the sleeping child in her car.
“Is she asleep?” Her husband Cid asked quietly.
“Yes, the poor thing,” Edea answered.
“Two weeks and she hasn’t spoken a word.”
“I know, dear. I’ll speak to the other children tomorrow about their new playmate.”
“Edea,” Cid began carefully. “Are you sure that’s wise?”
“Yes,” she affirmed. “I’ll ask Quistis to keep a watchful eye on her.”
“I think we should be careful with Selphie. A second opinion would be helpful in this case.”
“Yes, I’ll contact Doctor Kadowaki in the morning, dear.”
Thirteen years had passed since Selphie had first come into Edea and Cid’s busy lives and she had blossomed into a vivacious young woman. Any signs of childhood trauma had more or less disappeared from plain sight. The nights where Selphie had woken up screaming in the middle of the night for her mother were long since passed. The trauma had vanished with help over time so that the perky brunette could become the person that she was today.
Then the day of her eighteenth birthday arrived. On this same day, a letter had arrived with the location of a cemetery near Timber. Selphie’s hands began to shake uncontrollably as she bolted from her room in search of a friend. Anyone. Someone. She raced down the hall in a frantic search, completely ignoring the cries of concerned acquaintances as a calloused hand wrapped around her slender wrist and pulled her into a tight hug.
“Sefie, darlin’ what’s a matter?”
Irvine. Strong, dependable Irvine. Selphie looked up at him with a wild look in her eyes. Her knees turned to jelly and she crumbled to the floor. Her mind whirled in confusion as flashes of repressed memories threatened to consume her as strong arms enveloped her in a protective embrace. The piece of paper crumpled in her hand as the Cowboy began to move his Sunshine away from the public eye and to a more secluded place.
It took a few minutes but Selphie found herself in Irvine’s room, looking up at him with frightened eyes as he gently pried the piece of paper out of her trembling hands. After reading the letter, Irvine frowned darkly at the realization that it may have triggered Selphie’s memories. He stuffed the paper into his pocket and held the girl close, content to let her cry if she needed to.
“Let it out, darlin’,” he whispered into her ear before gently kissing her forehead. “Let it all out.”
Selphie openly wept for what felt like hours. Her eyes were red and her face streaked with dried tears as she leaned heavily against Irvine who tenderly cradled her in his arms. When she’d finally cried herself out, Irvine let her stay in the comfort and security of his room. He kept his ears open in case Selphie needed something but all he really heard was a pair of boots thudding onto the floor. With a soft thud, Irvine casts a glance toward his bed which had a Selphie curled up in it.
There were things that even Selphie couldn’t bear and lingering memories of her parents were one of those. Irvine placed a hand on her arm before pulling the blanket up to her waist to let her sleep. She’d always been like this, he noted. Whenever something truly upset her and brought out those rare moments where she cried, she’d sleep for quite some time after. It was a shoddy coping mechanism on her part but grief didn’t suit his Selphie.
“Mama…” she mumbled in her sleep. “I love you…”