If Rainbow hadn’t been so nervous then she wouldn’t be pacing and fidgeting so much that day at the courthouse as she waited to be seen by the judge with Nadja and Hildegard. She almost felt like she was about to be sentenced for some crime, that’s how wound up she was.
It had been a very long but short three months with Hildy. It seemed as if they’d been at the courthouse just yesterday but at the same time it also seemed like a lifetime ago.
“Settle down,” Nadja said.
Rainbow took a seat on the bench next to Hildegard while Nadja remained standing still and calm as ever by the courtroom door just a foot away.
Finally, they filed into the courtroom and waited for another round of forever till it was time for their case to be heard. With the interpreter by her side, Rainbow, Nadja and her mother answered the judge’s questions about how life with the ever so fidgety Rainbow had been.
Had she taken her meds? Had she seemed happy? Had she given them any reason to worry about her? Was she keeping all her appointments?
Jesus, Rainbow thought bitterly to herself, why don’t you just ask if I ever fart?
Did she seem withdrawn or was she adjusting well? Was she comfortable with her life and her new surroundings? Or was she still the miserable, crazy bitch she’d been when she’d first come to Germany?
No, Judge, Rainbow wanted to say, I’m just fine. The woman I love is sometimes mean to me and she even scares the shit out of me at times too, but I’m just fine and dandy.
While Rainbow tried not to fidget, the interpreter translated Nadja’s response to being asked if she still wanted to take Rainbow in for the remaining six months that her life basically belonged to the courts of Munich, and why she felt she would be a suitable “host,” which was basically the courts polite substitute for the word “babysitter.”
“I would still love to have Rainbow with me,” Nadja said, and then she seemed to be at a loss for words. Finally, she said, “I really enjoy her company and I think we could both benefit from having each other as a regular part of our lives.”
The judge spoke and the translator translated. “Do you still travel regularly?”
“I usually travel three or four times a year, mostly to Turkey. Rainbow’s welcome to come with me, of course, but if she’d rather stay with my mother, she’s welcome to do that, too,” the translator translated for Nadja.
Then the judge turned to Hildegard and asked her how she felt about things as well as Rainbow’s progress.
Hildegard, choosing her words carefully, began to speak. “This is very hard for me. I have come to love and care for Rainbow very much and it’s not going to be easy for me to simply let go. When Rainbow first came to me she could barely walk and she had no will to live. But with love, time and the proper attention she blossomed to life much like a flower that had wilted and was close to dying.” She paused so that the interpreter could catch up. Then with more hesitation in her voice, she said, “I hate to say anything bad about my daughter, but my daughter sometimes lacks patience and understanding. Particularly when it comes to one needier of time, care, and attention. I don’t think she realizes that while life with Rainbow may be lots of fun, it’s not going to be easy either.”
Rainbow looked towards her left. She couldn’t see Hildegard’s face because Nadja was in the way, but she could see Nadja’s. She expected to see a look of annoyance or surprise on her face, but her features remained neutral.
The judge studied some papers before him, and then he asked Rainbow how she felt and with whom she preferred to live with.
“Oh, you mean I get a choice?” she said, unable to hide her sarcasm. But if anyone noticed they didn’t say anything. The judge studied her intently as she continued and the translator translated her words to German. “I have come to love and care for Hildegard much like she has with me. If it weren’t for her I might very well not have gotten as far as I have. While it’s true that Nadja sometimes gets frustrated with me I know deep down that I am loved and cared for by her very much. I’m sure she knows that I try my best and that she would make sure I was happy and received the things I needed.”
“Would you like to take Rainbow back if I ruled in your favor?” The judge asked Hildegard after another round of studying his papers.
“Absolutely,” said Hildegard.
“How about if I ruled in Miss Keller’s favor and it didn’t work out?”
“I would gladly take her back at any point,” Hildegard said.
“I understand you have an upcoming trip to Turkey planned, is that still correct?” The judge also asked Hildegard.
“Yes, Rainbow and I were planning to leave for Antalya first thing next Monday morning for one week. I tried to schedule the trip earlier but couldn’t coordinate a flight around her doctor’s appointments and then I had a few appointments of my own to contend to such as eye exams and yearly check-ups.”
More papers rustled as the translator spoke.
Then the judge spoke again. “After going over Miss Karson’s progress reports from her doctor, and then listening to everyone’s testimony, I see no reason for Miss Karson not to go on the trip to Turkey as planned and then return to Miss Keller for the remaining six months of her time under observation and assistance.
Rainbow didn’t have to see either woman in order to sense the elation radiating from Nadja and the sense of disappointment from Hildegard. Rainbow’s own mind churned at the mixed emotions which tugged at her heart for she was literally torn between the two women.
“But you must understand and bear in mind, Miss Keller, that this isn’t just a case of someone coming to visit you for a while. It’s a person you’ll be legally responsible for. Your salary certainly doesn’t seem like it will be an issue as far as providing the basic necessities for Miss Karson goes, but what about you? Are you a hundred percent sure you’re up for this?
“Oh, very much so,” Nadja said with a wide and confident smile.
“You do also understand that this means you might have to take time off from work to take her to any appointments she may not be able to get to by bus or by taxi, correct?”
“I do, but I’m sure my mother would gladly help out and take her to and from appointments since she has more free time, and then they could get a chance to visit each other a bit as well.”
“Very well,” said the judge. “If there are any problems, however, Miss Karson will be removed from your custody and placed back into Miss Amsel’s. If there are no problems over the next six months, then Miss Karson will be free to make her own decision as to where she would like to live. Any questions?”
Yes, Rainbow had questions. But they weren’t for the judge. They were for herself.
If she was so in love with Nadja, and if Nadja was “the one” for her, then why did she feel such apprehension about going to live with her full-time?