Robin opened his eyes.
The beach was gone and so was Isellta.
Bars before his eyes.
Mouth clamped shut.
Body pinned to the wall.
‘sellta. My ‘sellta. You there? I’m here.
I’m right freakin’ here.
“Robin?” Isellta focused on Maelin, who was standing beside the bed. “Is Robin here?”
She shook her head. “I’m sorry, angel. Not yet.”
“oh.” He rubbed the spot above his breastbone.
Maelin looked sympathetically at him. “Would you mind if I sat on the bed? I won’t do anything bad to you, I promise. I just want to give you some more tea. It will help you.”
“Okay.” He pressed his fist against the mattress and tried to push himself up.
His body was an uncooperative dead weight.
He huffed and puffed as he pushed himself harder.
“Do you want me to help?” Maelin asked.
Isellta shook his head. “I can do this.”
If Robin were here….
He struggled to raise his head. “I can do this. I know I can.”
Robin. If only you were here.
He slowly raised his head off the bed.
“Maybe it would be easier if you rolled onto your stomach and tried to boost yourself up from that position.” Maelin suggested.
“I can do this.”
Robin, if you were here—-
He pushed with all of his strength.
—you’d help me. I’d let you help me. If you were here.
The distance between his head and the mattress increased.
If only you were here.
His body felt so heavy. Flopping back onto the bed seemed like such an appealing notion. So tempting.
Why aren’t you here, Robin?
But his shoulder and upper arm abandoned the mattress as well.
You promised me.
He rolled up onto his elbow.
You said you were on your way.
Isellta paused to catch his breath.
So, why aren’t you here? Where are you, Robin?
He looked down at the sheet as that familiar tug yanked on his breastbone again.
But if you aren’t here, why do I feel this incessant pull? What’s pulling at me if it isn’t you? What am I feeling? What does it mean?
He resumed his struggle to rise up from his elbow, to finally sit up.
Who else would pull at my body this way? Where are you?
Robin, call me. Yell out my name if you are here. Robin, I am here. Say my name.
Robin. It’s me.
He sat up.
Call me. Let me hear your voice again.
Maelin sat on the bed. “Very good!”
He smiled at her and flapped his wings.
She offered him the cup of tea. “Careful.”
He took it from her.
“Sip it carefully. Don’t drink it too fast.”
Robin. My lovely Robin, where are you?