It’s Phyl who finds her because of course, it is. The taller woman had taken notice, quickly, that Catrin was nowhere to be found and had stopped on the spot, telling Chick to go on without her and squaring her shoulders before marching back into the studio.
She found her standing, shaking, holding a pair of broken tortoise shell glasses. Taking a deep breath, Phyl reached out and closed her hand around Catrin’s own, using her other hand to guide Catrin by the shoulder out of the studio. She stopped only to grab her and Catrin’s coats, fling her own on before buttoning up Catrin’s. She longed for a cigarette as her own hands fumbled with the buttons.
She led Catrin silently out of the studio. It had been more than implied that Catrin’s home was a victim of the bombing, and so Phyl started them on the walk to her own apartment, keeping one arm around Catrin’s waist to ensure she would keep walking.
Phyl gathered her courage and looked at Catrin’s face. It was unmarked and dry, and Phyl sighed. She knew that the shock would abide and Catrin would have her grief, she only prayed she could help a little through it. To be honest she was having a hard time with it herself. It was no mystery that Tom and she did not oft get along, but he was a good man, a good writer, and he made Catrin happy… most of the time. And, besides the fact, Phyl was far tired of death.
They were nearly to Phyl’s apartment when Catrin finally spoke, her voice a weak croak. “Ph-Ph…” She broke off. “I can’t go home.”
“You’re not going home, silly girl,” Phyl mumbled as she dropped her arm from Catrin to unlock her door. Thank god for first-floor flats, she thought.
She prodded Catrin into her small but tidy flat. Gently pulling the coat off the girl and hanging it next to her own. Sighing, she ran a hand over her hair and walked to the kitchen to put the kettle on.
“But I- I don’t have any clothes.” She heard Catrin mumble from the entryway.
“Yes, that’s what you said. Well, I think the costume departments out of the question now, so you’ll have to make to do with borrowing some of mine for the next few days. I’m sure we’ll find something that fits and I won’t make you wear any ties.” She tried for humor but it fell awfully flat.
She closed her eyes in thanks as the kettle screamed and she took it off the stove and poured out two cups of tea. She left her own on the counter while she brought Catrin a cup, placing it in her hands before taking the girl by the shoulders and sitting her on the small love seat. not daring to leave even to get her own tea, Phyl looked left and right, as if searching for something, and then knelt in front of the other woman.
“I- pardon me?”
“It’s Catherine, my name. Ellis he-“ There she broke off and the first tear leaked out of her eye. Moving quickly, Phyl grabbed the teacup out of Catherine’s shaking hands and set it on the table. Taking her shoulders, Phyl pulled her into a standing position and, before she could think better of it, pulled her into a hug.
It took a long moment for Catherine to realize that someone was touching her, much less respond, but when she did, she sank deeper into Phyl and cried and cried. Without thought, without anything really. Her mind refused to do anything, blank for the first time in her life as she sobbed. After long moments, Phyl rubbing her back soothingly, she finally spoke up.
“What am I going to do?”
“I’ve no idea… but you’re not going to do it alone.”