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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1728553-The-Gift
Rated: E · Short Story · Mystery · #1728553
Krisla finally learned that the truth… is rarely pure and never simple.
FEATURED in the WDC Newsletter: Short Stories: Finding Your Passion - Editor's Picks, by Leger~ , February 13, 2013


It was as if Krisla Denicoli had “special glasses” which covered her eyes like thin, translucent eyelids. These so called special glasses were clear inner eyelids – just like alligator ones, covering her pupils and providing her with “another dimension” vision, as she called it. And, when it happened, mysteriously and out of the blue, she would see colors, symbols and anagrams right in front of her eyes, while she still acknowledged the real world around her. It was as if a pair of “weird” special glasses was put over her nose and in front of her eyes and she saw a parallel universe: a world of unexplainable signs and impossible meanings. The more she tried to understand them the more she got confused and puzzled with her “odd” but special intuition.

When she finally gave up trying to understand her paranormal abilities she still wondered why she was “given” (and by whom) these special inner eyelids (she wasn’t born that way...) and why wasn’t she simply a medium or a psychic - plain and simple. But she knew that being an ordinary human being in this world was a complex task as humanity is so filled with contradiction.

Krisla was 43 years old. She was a lovely mature woman, but appeared younger. Her face was long with proportioned features and full sensuous lips. Her skin was flawless and seemed opalescent. She was very tall and had long dark hair parted in the middle and it fell to her shoulders.Her deep blue eyes always glinted in the sunlight, always appraising. Men turned their heads around when they saw her. They never approached her though; maybe they felt intimidated by her height. She had a pert nose suggesting mischief. Her hands were big, her finger nails long, nails manicured and shining. She was Brazilian but her grandparents and great grandparents were of Portuguese descent from Lisbon. She lived in Alto da Tijuca in Rio de Janeiro in a shared apartment with a quiet, strange woman that was never there on weekends.

Krisla was a nurse in the local hospital in the Radiology Department. She loved her work but felt the deepest of pains, anguish and sorrow for her cancer patients that were about to start or about to finish their constant radiation sessions in different parts of their bodies. She would call it the final steps towards… pain - the chemotherapy treatment was so intense that they would often feel an intense burning inside their bodies; blisters, throwing up and bleeding were part of the deal. Sometimes she would go home feeling depressed and sad and wondering why scientist hadn’t yet invented a cure for such a devastating disease which was killing people all over the world, and so many in Brazil.

It was probably at the hospital, some months ago, that Krisla’s “special abilities” started to occur on a bleak Friday afternoon. She heard the big machine make a loud, odd noise, right next to her. When she turned around to look at it she stupidly and violently bumped her head on the big, heavy and old-fashioned radiology machine and right there, on the spot, Krisla fainted in the room and in front of poor, sick Ms. Jorge.

She passed away for two hours and woke up with Nurse Angela holding her hand, worried, upset and healing a deep wound that was still bleeding from her head and on her spotless white uniform. Her head was aching and throbbing but she was fine yet, at that very moment, suddenly, unexpectedly and without warning; not even with a “Hey, you are going to become paranormal now due to the bump on your head due to that dangerous machine, the “special  glasses” or second eyelids immediately covered her red, dilated pupils! It was as if a humanoid vision covered her eyes and she saw numbers, colors and symbols… flashing in front of her. She wondered if she was becoming paranormal or simply… crazy. She wanted to scream and run away down the hall and but she thought that this would certainly disturb the chemo patients – and there were so many of them waiting patiently by the Nurse’s Station. 

And so, the events of what she called the unexplainable occurrences, started to follow in her lonely life. These “moments” became part of her routine and they happened more on than off.

Once, on her way to Silvestre Hospital she noticed a nervous man sitting opposite her in the bus while she was going to work. He was behaving strangely. Suddenly, she saw a heart-shaped symbol floating and softly moving over his forehead! My Goodness, what was that heart doing there! The heart was small and red. While she stared at it she noticed that there was a very same red heart floating over a nervous woman that was sitting right next to him. Both hearts were beating faster now, in the same rhythm. She noticed that the woman had noticed the man looking at her from the corner of her eyes. She moved uneasily in her seat but… smiled. Was she observing a love connection, like love at first sight? What were those heart-shaped symbols trying to tell her? Did the size or the intensity or even the color of the hearts have any meaning at all? And more, why? Why did she see those symbols so vividly? So many unanswered questions. So many doubts. Was she a clairvoyant? A fortune teller? What? Why? Why… her?

She kept looking at both of them and trying to figure out a reason, a message or a logical clue so she could interpret the symbols. She was completely puzzled. The man was staring at the small woman and Krisla was thinking that he was in love with her. The moment the bus stopped, the woman got up and he… followed her. She got off the bus and Krisla followed them with her eyes. Both hearts were bigger now, redder and beating faster. Suddenly, on the sidewalk and like a lightning, the man grabbed the woman’s purse and ran around the busy corner and disappeared. The woman started to scream and people gathered around her but the bus had already turned around the corner and Krisla saw no more.

He was not in love with her! He wanted to steal her bag and the hearts didn’t mean good feelings at all. She had got it all wrong. Was that the symbol of hurt and danger? Red hearts? It couldn’t be. How odd. So strange.

Another time it happened in a bank line. She was observing a handsome man in an elegant suit, but he was flirting with a woman who was dressed in a red dress. They were smiling at each other. Then, right there, right in front of her, hovering and bouncing over their heads she saw two golden, small knives, shiny and new, pointing at one another. Was he going to steal her purse? Or were they going to hurt one another? Was he a serial killer and she, the victim? She was about to walk towards the woman and warn her when the woman left the line, together with the man, talking and exchanging smiles. Krisla heard him invite her for a cup of coffee in a Deli nearby. The woman blushed and accepted the invitation. They left the bank together, happily. Had she got it all wrong, again? When she finished cashing her paycheck she left the bank, she immediately looked into the Delicatessen store which was right next to the bank. They were there, smiling and talking. When she looked at the knives over their heads, she saw that each knife was stuck inside each other’s heart, flashing colored lights all over the café, like a beautiful rainy rainbow afternoon. She was amazed and just stood there, observing and quietly looking at her own reflection in the Deli’s big glass. She looked so sad. She looked rather grayish-looking. She looked so lonely. And they, they were in love; knife-struck in a bank... Were the knives symbols of… love? Was that what happened to us when we found our loved one, our soul mates - struck by a knife instead of an arrow (and maybe striking and cutting our heart’s forever), and struck right there in the middle of our hearts? Maybe so.

That was how she had felt once. Why hadn’t she seen symbols or signs when she had been so painfully abandoned by Tancredo after he had “used” her for so many years? Why hadn’t she foreseen her own fate? Why did she have to suffer in such a devastating way? Why is love so powerful and so evil at the same time? She thought that both of them had felt the climax of a symphony; the zenith of a real dream; the reaching of a summit but it was... the end for them both. He had suddenly tossed her aside like a used Kleenex. He had never loved her. She learned this in the hardest of ways and she also learned that the truth… is rarely pure and never simple.

At the hospital, weeks later, Mr. Cavalcante arrived on time for his last chemotherapy session. He was weak and thin. He always went there alone. She felt so sorry for him. He smiled at her and happily told her that this was his last chemo session. She helped him undress and put on the thin, white gown. She felt his feeble body as he sat up on the little bed. She wanted to hug him dearly yet she didn’t want to disturb the patient’s well being and psychological state of mind. He kissed her on her forehead and thanked her for her all her patience and kindness during all those 25 chemo sessions. It was then, when she was going to reply and tell him something sweet that, in awe, she noticed a small, black pentagram floating over his forehead! Oh my, what did that mean? Please, not with poor, old Mr. Cavalcante? What could he do wrong? He was so dear and so sweet; so hurt by sessions and sessions of constant burning rays going through his scarred chest! How could he be… mean or even evil? How could he but only love and be loved back? A pentagram? Him? Why? Wasn’t it a bad thing, a pentagram? Yes, she knew it was. She had seen it in films. She had read about it in books. That quiet roommate of hers claimed to be a witch – a white witch, of course, but a Wicca. She had found all of those… strange books in her closet once (and she had read them).While she helped him lie down and lowering the heavy machine over him, the pentagram never left his head but grew in intensity and size and moved softly over him, staying right there. So mysterious, so spooky and so supernatural. The dark five-pointed star symbol over him was similar to the Star of David and to the Wiccans symbol of faith. She also knew, from those books in her apartment and as a Catholic, that it also represented the 5 wounds of Jesus. She had also read that some pentagrams are enclosed in a dark circle (and they were part of Satan's doings) but this one wasn’t and it somehow looked rather odd looking and distorted, like a bad omen. One thing she knew for sure: pentagrams represented the spiritual dominance over the material therefore - she was more confused than ever. Did pentagrams really have anything to do with magic or with the occult?

While he was undergoing the treatment, and it usually took about 20 minutes, she quickly opened the heavy door and curiously looked outside. She wanted to see if she saw a pentagram hovering over somebody’s head in the waiting room as, she had guessed now, they always came... in pairs. She knew that. She had seen that. Happily, no one had a pentagram over their heads. She sighed in relief and smiled. Nothing would happen to him.

When Krisla returned to the room and held Mr. Cavalcante’s hand she observed that he was sleeping (he often took little naps). She sat down on a chair near him and waited for the 20 minute-session to come to an end while the machine hummed silently. She heard a deep gasp and then a sigh but thought that he was dreaming… dreaming with better days, with no more pain; no more chemo sessions; finally peace and tranquility. She wished he had a loved one somewhere that took care of him. Was someone waiting for him at home? She gently touched his hand to wake him up. He didn’t. He wouldn’t. He would never wake up again. She screamed in shock and some of the nurses came running into the room. She wanted to choke-up fer feelings but her tears were rolling down her face. She told them strange stories about colors, symbols, knives, hearts and pentagrams and about her alligator’s eyelids. She was told to go home and rest; see a psychologist next week and even a doctor. The job was too stressing and overbearing sometimes, especially for those who couldn’t handle death. Death and the lack of ability to face its meaning; the non-existence of consciousness; the mind-bogging speculation of a beginning, and of an end.

As soon as she got home, late afternoon, she still thought about her deceased patient and the way he left this world. She felt troubled; as if something was… missing. She was impatient; annoyed. She wasn’t hungry. She was so tired, though. She walked into the bathroom and took her clothes off, what she really needed right now was a good, warm bath. She stepped into the shower. She felt the water fall on her naked body and she slowly relaxed, but in the privacy of her bathroom, she cried for her departed friend. She cried for herself. She cried for all those tortured patients and their endless anguish. She cried for the whole world but they were also cleansing tears as the human psyche begins or ends a healing process as old, totally unexplainable and wondrous as life itself.

After she finished her long shower she wiped the bathroom’s mirror which was covered with a film of moist with her towel and she looked at herself. She looked older, tired and had dark circles under her eyes. Should she have returned Tancredo's phone call last night? What did he want but destroy her heart completely? The strain and the weariness, perhaps nearer to a sense of defeat - were in her eyes making her poise look... crumbled. Her tear-stained face appeared drawn and old. She did look older. What was happening to her? Had she been exposed to radiation after all those years of being in that damned room? No, no way. It was safe. They had told her so. She looked kind of pale, though. Looking closer at her reflection on the small mirror… she suddenly…froze! The pink towel fell from her hand and she started to shake violently. There it was! There it was! There it was! Oh the very same pentagram, small, dark and odd was hovering right there, over her head! She covered her mouth with both hands but she couldn't scream. She breathed heavily. Oh she wished she was somewhere, anywhere else. The pentagram was moving together with her while she slowly turned her head to the right or to the left. She nodded. It moved. It became bigger as if it was sucking her energy, her soul. She smiled a sad smile of deep… understanding. She finally knew. She finally understood. They really and totally never came in ones; they always came in twos. Mr. Cavalcante and now… her. She was his match. She believed in herself and in her intuitions at last. Her fate had come. You cannot change what’s written.  Sometimes we try to erase what’s written – we can’t, it’s doomed to happen. As with Tancredo. Sadly she put on her favorite blue pajamas, tidied her things, closed the door and quietly went to bed. She covered herself neatly and switched off the night lamp not before touching Tancredo’s torn picture, which was hidden in little drawer on her bed-side table. She was too tired to fight against the mystery and the unknown; the shooting stars and the universe; she would not even cry or attempt to pray. Who would listen to her? She closed her eyes and her “special” eyelids closed as well, for the last time. As she fell asleep the pentagram became bigger and darker and then, after some minutes, it slowly disappeared over her head in the silent darkness around her.

To live is a rare thing. Most people simply exist.



Words: 2800
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