ARCHIE'S JOURNAL
by Michele

The Doctor's Visit

 

Note: For those who may have missed earlier Journal installments, Dr
Villa-Lobos is a kindly Spanish doctor who is a friend of Don
Massaredo's. The dr had treated Archie some time back when he was
delirious with fever, following a failed escape attempt. The two had
gotten on well, having spent some time discussing literature and
other topics, as Archie had recovered in the hacienda. Archie has not
seen him in a long time..

 

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I saw Dr Villa-Lobos to-day. He was very concerned for me --
something I had not seen in any one's eyes for a very long time.

Not since the last time I had seen him.

Or maybe, that guard.

It is a very sad thing when the only ones to care for a man are his
enemies....

`Senor Kennedy,' he said, `I am sorry. Don Alfredo can be
most -- what is ingles word? Obstinate? Si -- obstinate -- when
giving discipline.'

`The word "cruel" might be more appropriate,' I
quipped sarcastically, my voice sounding alarmingly weak and dry.

The good doctor was silent and thoughtful for a moment. Then he
looked apologetic, his head down and his voice soft. `I tried,
Senor. I had tried to dissuade him from his course; and when he had
persisted, I attempted to convince him to release you much
sooner.'

I felt a lump in my throat at this. If only he had succeeded... I
felt all the worse for this information. I knew I should have thanked
him, but I did not care. Why should I thank my enemy.... and a friend
of my tormentor....

`He would not yield,' the doctor continued.

`No matter,' I said, surprised at the depth of sarcasm in my
voice. I have always turned to sarcasm, or jesting, in the worst of
times. Or was it, this time, hopelessness? Or perhaps
resignation... `I shall not vex him further by another
attempt.' I took a deep breath, which felt very heavy, and
painful where I had been kicked. `I cannot walk. I cannot even
stand.'

Doctor Villa-Lobos examined me. I could not clearly feel his touch
upon my legs, although the tingling has returned, at least. It felt
as though a score of blankets were piled upon me, and hundreds of
tiny pellets dropped thereon, from a great distance.

I was frightened at his expression. I began, as I have done many
times, to weep.

A man in a clearer state of mind might have seen the concern,
sympathy, and even anger in his doctor's eyes. But I could not.
And I did not care.

I just wanted him to leave me alone. Leave me alone to die.

`Senor Kennedy,' the doctor said gently, `you must rest.
I shall attempt to secure food for you that will help you regain your
strength.'

I turned my head from him, as that was the only part of my body I
COULD turn, without great pain. `I don't want it.'

`You must....'

`No.'

`Senor... Archie....'

Despite the sound of my given name -- something I had not heard in so
very long, and had ached for the sound of it -- my broken heart
hardened further, and my tears flowed. My body heaved with the sobs,
which made it ache all the more, as it hurts to draw breath, from the
guard's kicking me.

`No... I'm never going to walk again....'

`We don't KNOW that, Senor...'

`Your friend shall never have to worry about me escaping
again,' I interrupted, between sobs. My voice was deep and
coarse; I did not sound like myself, and I did not care. `I will
die here. I am no threat to him...'

`No... you will not die...'

`Leave me alone.' I had three wool blankets shielding my
worthless body from the world, and with aching arms I pulled them up
over my head. `I am your enemy. My own countrymen would not even
want me back. Surely you do not care. If you did, you would have
stopped him....' Suddenly my voice rose, unbidden. `I
didn't DESERVE what he did to me!!' I screamed into the
blankets. My
throat was in agony with the effort and the intensity of my
screams. `He left me in there, for a month -- with no room even
to turn round! I couldn't even relieve myself like a man! What
kind
of a monster could DO that to another human being??!? I didn't
deserve that.. I didn't deserve that...'

I felt the doctor's hand on my shoulder. `Please... Senor
Kennedy....'

`No....' my voice was low once more, and hoarse with
exhaustion and the tears which were now choking me. `Leave me
alone. Please, just leave me alone.'

I closed my eyes, but saw before me only the indelible image of the
bars over my head, and the sun blazing through them -- an image I
will carry to my grave.

Doctor Villa-Lobos squeezed my shoulder one last time. I wanted so
much for it to feel good, and reassuring -- but it did not, for it
was the hand of my enemy.

And I did not care.

I just want them all to leave me alone. Just leave me alone to die.
They are my enemy; they will not care. Why can they not see that I do
not want to live like this....

Quietly he gathered his things. The cell door was opened for him, and
with that horrid rattling of keys that I have come to hate more than
any other sound I have ever heard, he left me alone.