Seagulls flew above rolling waves, as a boat and sailor both eternalised on a wave’s crest, faced outwards as the sailor, grasped the boat's rudder, staring out towards the horizon.
As her gaze moved over the seascape she felt herself almost afloat on the wave’s crest. She felt safe and suddenly conscious of the steady rise and fall of her chest along with a gradual awareness of her surroundings.
Brooke found herself in a large bed underneath a feather-down pink and blue doona between white sheets. She was plumped up by pillows and clothed in bed clothes she did not recognise.
While disoriented in the unfamiliar surroundings, she did not feel afraid. As she raised herself into an upright position, a female entered. ‘Hello Brooke’, she said. ‘It’s nice to see you’re awake’.
The woman was carrying a tray of cutlery, including a tea pot, which she put on a table and sat at the end of the bed. After a while, she spoke.
‘You are probably wondering why you are here and who I am.’ She paused for a moment before continuing. ‘My name is Wanda, I am the Director at the Florida Dance Academy. You were found on the side of the highway. No-one knew who you were. The couple who found you saw your bracelet and the Grand Shell Tour imprinted on it, so they brought you to our studio.’
She paused, ‘You were conscious but disoriented when you arrived. We asked who you were and you told us you danced.
Ginia, one of our dancers told us she recognised you as the Lead from the Grand Shell Tour. I decided to help and brought you to my home.’
There was silence as Brooke processed Wanda’s words. Flashes came back to her and she asked Wanda about the figure she had seen.
Wanda waited a few moments before speaking. ‘Brooke,’ she said, ‘Brooke, I don’t know if you remember a doctor seeing you. He is our GP and he spoke with you.’
She hesitated before continuing, ‘He considers you may have been given hallucinogens.’
Brooke cried. She wasn’t sure what that meant but to her it sounded awful, awful and scary. ‘How’ she said, not really expecting an answer.
Wanda replied, carefully choosing her words.
‘He thinks, at least once, maybe twice. Your behaviour and actions are consistent with this.’
‘How,’ Brooke cried out again, and then ‘Why.’
Again she didn’t expect any answers, yet Wanda offered them to her anyway.
‘There are many reasons, Brooke. We can only speculate. Maybe envy, maybe just plain spite or….just a joke? We can’t say. What we do know, though is you are making a good recovery and in a few days you will be well enough to travel. You need to return home, Brooke, be with your people and in familiar surroundings.’
Brooke, sobbed and cried. Wanda stood up and said, ‘I am going to give you time alone. Of course, think about what has happened but try not to dwell on it. When you feel able get up, get dressed, do whatever you need to do and then you are welcome to join us downstairs.’
With that she left the room and closed the door. Brooke sat up in the bed and sobbed. All she had accomplished and worked for flashed before her. While Wanda said not to dwell on her situation, dwell she did.
Her mind revisited the end of party celebrations and the pre and post coast trip. Her mind drifted to Mason and Mia and how they’d given her what she thought was wine on two occasions, once before the coast and once during the coast break. She thought at the time their actions were odd, the way they watched her as she drank, sat close to her, encouraging her to cut loose and enjoy herself.
She remembered how they’d watched her drive off at the three-ways and the odd sensations she’d experienced as she watched them disappear around a bend.
She was upset and got up to dissipate her distress. She wandered around the room and saw her bag on the chair. She picked it up, unzipped it and pulled out familiar clothing. Seeing a door at the end of the room, Brooke wondered if it was the bathroom. Walking towards it she opened it up to see that it was an ensuite.
She entered and threw her clothing on the vanity. There was sachets of toiletries. She shook her head and silently thanked Wanda ……and for that couple who had stopped…….
She relieved herself and turned on the shower. As she undressed and stepped into the recess, she welcomed the warm water upon her face and as it ran over her body. She washed and scrubbed, as if to wash away the strong emotions she was experiencing as she recalled her ordeal and wondered if it was the deliberate actions of……of Mason and Mia??? that caused such deadly circumstances……..
The warm soapy water was therapeutic as Brooke lifted her face to the shower rose. Closing her eyes she embraced the jets as they danced lightly on her skin and ran down her décolletage and in the valley of her cleavage.
For some reason she remembered her dance coach, who many years ago had said to her, ‘Brooke, resilience overcomes setbacks.’
As the water flowed over her body, Brooke softly mouthed the words for a few moments. After a while she opened her eyes and shut off the taps. She stepped out of the shower and reached for a thick towel.
It was at that moment she knew it would be revealed if indeed resilience truly did overcome setbacks. With that she dressed and joined the rest downstairs.