Amid the Wilderness

Note: Inspired by the February 19th episode of "Cold Case". St. Ignatious is a building for women who are mentally diseased. One woman, named Carrie falls for one of the male wards there. His name is Rudolph. Sadly, the relationship doesn't come to any semblance of a happy end since Carrie finally does herself in. The ward is so distressed he finds work elsewhere. He also is able to release his guilt, knowing he wasn't responsible for Carrie's suicide.

Chapter 1—An Awfully White Coat

Carrie had been institutionalized at St. Ignatious for most of her adult life and she wasn't showing any signs of improvement. Despite this she went through life with few suicidal tendencies and a zest and vigor for every day and the different activities the nurses had planned for herself and the other patients there. One day, she met a new ward named Rudolph. Rudolph had become accostomed to being in psychiatric hospitals so being around these women was nothing new to him. However, she fell in love instantly with him. He had curly short black hair and the most unusual violet eyes. Everyone seemed to fall for his charms, in particular the nurses. He didn't allow flirtation from the nurses to come between work and making certain all the ladies were well taken care of. Rudolph knew his duties.

"Why, hello there, Rudolph.", Carrie said as usual, batting her eyelashes mawkishly. Carrie was a former model but had a humble personality. She had deep dark brown eyes and amber hair; a realistic reminder that no one, not even the beautiful were safe from the insidious nature of mental illness.

"Greetings, Carrie. What will you be having for your meals today ?", Rudolph questioned, politely. She had all of her meal choices circled for the day and he began reading them to himself.

"Everything you selected is an excellent choice...I should know. I help cook the meals.", Rudolph stated, maybe even a bit proudly.

"Your coat is awfully white today, Rudolph. It brings out your golden aura. If I didn't know any better, I would swear you had been sent from God to heal my heart and save my soul.", Carrie said, blushing floridly. Her straightforward honesty had caused him to blush as well. She was artless when it came to compliments, since they were often true.

"Thank you, Carrie. I only use the finest Clorox bleach money can buy.", Rudolph replied, laughing a little. For the first time in a while, she laughed as well. He had been glad to give her laughter, even if it was only for a moment.

Chapter 2—Dinner With Carrie

That evening, Carrie had asked Rudolph to join her for dinner. Usually wards weren't allowed to have any contact with the patients but Rudolph so no harm in having dinner with her.

None of the nurses had known about their meeting. To be honest, Rudolph felt himself falling in love with Carrie and he was aware of her feelings for him. It wasn't an awkward relationship in any sense of peculiarity at all. No one else seemed to be aware of the budding romance that was beginning between the ward and the patient. Only they realized the chemistry they had together, particuarly beginning at this first of many meetings together.

Secretly, for many more evenings to come, Rudolph would meet Carrie and enjoy dinner with her. He often gave her flowers and disguised them to look like they had come from her family members who gave her infrequent visits. Sadly, he had become her only hope and their relationship was seemingly perfect but it would soon become strained when he realized he could never be taken off of St. Ignatious property or brought into the outside world. Dining together was romantic of course, but there was more to romance than that.

Chapter 3—Change of Attitude

Rudolph soon began to lose interest and his romance for Carrie started to dwindle. The spark that he had with Carrie was no longer there. She could sense something different about his demeanor and the truth was he had begun dating another woman named Victoria who had more things in common with him, unlike Carrie. Carrie was living in a fantasy realm of her own that made little if any sense. Victoria was a pragmatic woman who was spontaneous and vivacious.

Carrie couldn't hold a candle to her.

"Where are my flowers today, Rudolph ?", Carrie asked, sweetly, her voice full of hope.

"I want to be truthful Carrie, but I don't want to hurt your feelings.", Rudolph answered, biting his lower lip.

"You can tell me anything, my Savior.", Carrie replied, in a gentle, melliflous tone.

"I'm seeing someone else. It's...not working between us anymore Carrie. Please forgive me.", Rudolph said, regrettably.

"What do you mean, Rudolph ? I thought we had something special together. We had so much in common. We could've made it work, Rudolph ! What does the new ladyfriend have that I don't ?", Carrie said, beginning to weep profusely.

"We had love, Carrie...but you and I are from two completely different worlds. Victoria lives in the same world that I do and she isn't afraid of living in reality. Carrie, I still think of you as a friend.", Carrie shouted, causing some nurses to begin to rally. At that point she had been able to find razors from the bathroom and had begun cutting herself quite deeply.

"No, don't do that ! Stop that this instant !", Rudolph pleaded.

"My heart's song, poured out for you. Poured out for this miserable waste of a life I once knew...", she said, and with enough force, severed her own hand off of her body. The amount of blood was profuse. Rudolph had tried to stop the bleeding himself and the nurses tried to withhold her from comitting suicide. She took the razor to her jugular vein and slit her throat.

Upon the initial slice, she was dead as soon as the cut had been made. Rudolph's relationship with Carrie had been uncovered and he had immediately been fired for disobeying the orders of St. Ignatious. He had felt responsible for Carrie's suicide as well and felt extremely guilty. Bottling up his emotions until he returned home, he cloistered himself to his home and had little if no human contact for a few days.

Chapter 4—A Time To Heal

It had taken some time for Rudolph to speak to anyone about what had happened to him in the past. It had left him rather disturbed, but Victoria had been able to coax him out of his hiding and had begun talking to him. It would take a while for him to come to the realization that he hadn't been directly responsible for Carrie's suicide. Carrie had been suicidal before and her moods had often been unpredictable. All he wondered was if he could forgive himself would she forgive him even after all they had gone through ? This was a question that niggled his thoughts almost constantly. Not having many more options, Victoria had agreed to go with him to therapy sessions and get to the root of his issues.

It had taken approximately 5 months for Rudolph to forgive himself and allow the past to remain only within the subconscious of his mind. He knew now that Carrie would've forgiven him.

She had been in pain in reality and had never allowed anyone else know but him. The pain that had existed was no longer existent. Although it was a sorrowful end to what was initially a life lived in seclusion, being stuck in neutral, it was the only method of finally being released from mediocrity. In a way, he was pleased for her and knew that someday, he would see her again and be able to reconsile whatever sins had been left behind. As for his relationship with Victoria, it had only grown stronger since he had been able to go outside of his comfort zone and be able to confess everything to her. He had been able to enter the world again and start working. He had been surviving with the help of Victoria but he could fend for himself and be independent. With her support he knew he could do anything and had developed self-confidnence once more.

Epilogue

Although life had never truly been boring for Rudolph and he had been able to settle down and start making a new life for himself, his wife, and their newborn, Nicole. Nicole's name was inspired by the name of Carrie's favorite doll that she kept by her side at all times. In some tiny sense, her memory was never going to leave him but this time it would leave behind the sad memories that were once part of his life. He could almost sense that Carrie was smiling somewhere in Heaven, happy that her legacy was still remembered.

The End

February 25, 2006