Today, Timmy Ashton interviews characters from Elpída. This is the first part of a two-part post. The second part will appear on June 17th right here on Love Bytes! So don’t forget to check back to see what Michael, Jake, Sophia, and the entire cast have to say!
The mere contemplation of interviewing Thimi gave Timmy pause. While Thimi’s story is not biographical of Timmy, the conditioned emotional responses (symptoms and behaviors) exhibited by Thimi mirror those of Timmy when he first left his past environs. Of greatest import, this interview reflects the stark contrast between Timmy’s conditioned responses nearly three-and-a-half years go, and his ability to live life to the fullest today—including doing this interview, a monumental feat, indeed. Join me in welcoming Timmy, Thimi, Christy, and Zero to Love Bytes!
Timmy: Thank you for allowing me to interview you, Thimi. I know it’s hard for you to be here, and I’m glad you brought Christy with you.
Thimi: *holds pad and pen up*
Timmy: *smiles* And your pad and pen. When I first left my abusive environment, I was afraid of everything. I bet it’s the same for you. Cody told me it would get better with time and I would be able to live a normal life. I didn’t believe him then, but I’m beginning to now. What do you think about your future?
Thimi: *leans in and whispers to Christy*
Christy: *translates for Thimi*
Thimi: *scribbles on pad and holds it up* Christy is like Cody.
Timmy: *smiles as he reads pad* You don’t believe him either?
Thimi: *shakes head ‘no’*
Timmy: *smiles* I understand that you hid out in a mansion after Christy left Greece. What was a typical day like for you when you were in hiding? What did you do day to day? Did you have some close calls where you were almost discovered?
Thimi: *leans into Christy and speaks in Greek*
Christy: *translates for Thimi then looks at Timmy* He says he was afraid to do things. He would watch the ocean in the day. Draw with some of my old art supplies. Read some of the books in the library. Take the bath. During the night, he would search for food and clothes in the town, then return to sleep. One day he was late coming from the town and the sun is coming up. The gardener saw him and he ran to hide in the plants of the different house until the gardener leaves. The butler never sees him because he sleeps and takes many naps.
Timmy: Lucky for you.
Thimi: *nods and holds pad up for Timmy to read*
Timmy: I bet it was lonely. Did you ever think about freedom while you were hiding?
Thimi: *leans into Christy and speaks in Greek*
Christy: *translates for Thimi then looks at Timmy* He says he is free when he lives in the big house. This is much better than before. Because he did not know I was okay, he is happy to live in the big house alone if he must.
Timmy: You’re very brave, Thimi.
Timmy: Thimi and Christy, you developed a method of communicating with colored ribbons. How did you come up with this idea?
Christy: *exchanges looks with Thimi* We are given the ribbon of different colors so the customers can choose us. We are not allowed to speak to each other without the permission, so we cannot tell the other we are okay after the day or night. When the bad day or night is over, we tie the ribbon on the door of the room to tell the others we are okay.
Timmy: Thimi, what did you think when you saw the ribbon General Sotíras tied to the vent for you?
Thimi: *looks wary* It is th-the t-trick.
Timmy: How did General Sotíras convince you it was safe to come out of hiding?
Thimi: *glances at Christy* I can sp-peak to Christophoros.
Christy: The General tells him I tell him to use the ribbon. Thimi knows it is the secret of us, so he knows the General tells the truth. Then, it is difficult for Thimi because we do not speak on the phone before, and he did not know how to use the phone. But the General helps him and we speak. Then he believes I am okay.
Timmy: Now that you’re here, Thimi, what is your preference in clothing? What makes you feel comfortable in your own skin?
Thimi: *tugs on his purple sweats*
Christy: *speaks for Thimi* He likes the color of purple and he does not like the feeling of some of the materials of other clothes. They remind him of the time before and he does not like to wear them.
Timmy: Aren’t those going to be hot during the summer?
Thimi: *nods and holds pad up for Timmy to read*
Timmy: *smiles* I didn’t care at first either. Then I got to pick out my own clothes. Now I like to wear a lot of different things. I think you will too. Is the idea of learning a new way to live and speak overwhelming for you?
Thimi: *nods* Ch-christophoros say to m-make it slow.
Timmy: *nods solemnly* He’s right. Take it at your own pace. After a while, things aren’t so scary and when you start to get used to them, things become easier to handle. I stutter like you do, but with speech therapy, I’m doing a lot better. Will you have speech therapy?
Thimi: *nods* M-melos help me.
Timmy: That’s great. Will you be going to school here?
Thimi: *shrugs and looks at Christy*
Christy: He will start the school with Zero in the fall. He will have the good days and the bad days, so he can decide when he goes.
Timmy: Sounds like a great plan. *looks at Zero* It’s nice of you to come today, Zero. Thanks for joining us.
Zero: *stares blankly at Timmy*
Timmy: How did you end up at Wellington Ranch, and do you like it?
Zero: Sh*tty parents and being homeless.
Timmy: Do you like Wellington?
Zero: *shrugs* Better than bein’ on the streets of New York City.
Timmy: Wellington is a specialized home for abused boys. I bet it was tough living on the stree—
Christy: *leans over and whispers to Zero*
Zero: Sorry for interrupting.
Timmy: Thanks. *looks at Thimi* I hear you and Zero have become pretty good friends.
Thimi: *nods vigorously* H-he is the f-first f-friend of me.
Timmy: That’s cool. What is the most precious thing you own and why is it precious to you?
Thimi: *holds up a purple marble but says nothing*
Christy: *speaks for Thimi* He has the marble for the long time. It is the only toy for him for all of the life. He watches the light in it and he likes the purple. It helps him with the bad times.
Timmy: *smiles* I had a purple marble just like that. Sometimes I think it saved my life.
Thimi: *eyes wide, nods vigorously*
Christy: *smiles and speaks to Thimi in Greek then glances at Timmy* I tell him this is the very good sign. He will be normal like you one day.
Timmy: *snorts* I’m still working on the normal. *turns to Zero* What do you have in common with Thimi?
Zero: *shrugs* We’re both twelve.
Timmy: *waits patiently for Zero to continue*
Zero: *glances at Thimi then back to Timmy* And we like some of the same things.
Timmy: Such as?
Zero: *shrugs* Food. Being clean. Sleep with no bad dreams. Video games. Chess.
Timmy: You don’t realize how much sleep means to you until you start to have it with no bad dreams. It’s a luxury.
Thimi: *nods vigorously*
Thimi: *whispers to Christy in Greek*
Christy: We have the calendar to mark the nights of no bad dreams. Thimi has five. Zero has twelve. It is the very good news.
Thimi: *holds hand up, five fingers splayed*
Christy: Excuse me. I would like to ask the question. How long before you do not have the bad dreams?
Timmy: *sad smile* I still have them, but not very often. Maybe once every month or two. Thimi, back to you. How do you feel about Christy leaving for college?
Thimi: *face darkens*
Christy: *glances at Thimi* He does not like the idea but he will stay at Wellington and he will visit me when he wishes.
Timmy: That’s cool. Are you down with that?
Thimi: *turns to Christy and whispers*
Christy: He means to ask if you are good with this.
Thimi: *nods tentatively*
Timmy: This question is for all three of you. Do you believe there is such thing as “safe” and, if so, do you believe you are safe now?
Christy: Okay, I will answer this for me and Thimi. We are safer than we were, but we will never be fully safe. There will always be someone to hurt us because we have what Rob calls the—makes air quotes with his fingers—potential for the revictimization. This is the serious problem and takes much work to stay safe.
Zero: *looks off into the distance before looking at Timmy* What Christy said.
Timmy: Zero, how do you feel about the closeness between Christy and Thimi?
Zero: *shrugs* It’s a thing.
Timmy: *smiles* You don’t say much, do you.
Timmy: What are your thoughts on how Christy dresses?
Zero: *smiles and shrugs* He needs to wear more black.
Timmy: That’s it? More black?
Zero: *smiles and shrugs again* It’s a thing.
Timmy: This question is for Thimi and Zero. What do you think of Christy and Michael’s relationship?
Thimi: *smiles a small smile* M-michael is n-nice.
Zero: Whatever. Michael’s okay.
Timmy: This question is for all of you. What keeps you going? What makes you not give up?
Christy, Zero, and Thimi in unison: Hope.
Timmy: *genuine smile* That’s what keeps us all going. Thank you for joining me today.
Thimi: *leans in a whispers to Christy*
Christy: Oh, Thimi asks the question. He asks if he can bring Melos next time. Melos is the new counselor of Thimi and Zero at Wellington.
Timmy: You can bring whomever you like.
Christy: *smiles* See? It is okay. Say the thank you.
Thimi: *smiles* Th-thank you.
Timmy: You’re welcome. Thanks for joining us today, everyone! I’ll be back next month with the whole gang!
A note from Cody: Timmy’s marked progress over the past three-and-a-half years is due, in no small part, to all of you. You have supported him in myriad ways, contributed to the building blocks of his new foundation, and given him a launching pad with which to begin life anew. You have helped to improve his self-esteem, given him the confidence to try new things, helped to rebuild his natural curiosity—most of all, you have helped teach him that he can trust in others. Even detractors have contributed to Timmy’s learning and successes. We owe a debt of gratitude to you. Thank you.
Don’t miss the dramatic conclusion of the Elpída Series! Elpída releases Tuesday, May 30th!
See you back here next month on Saturday, June 17th for Part II of this interview with Michael, Jake, Sophia, Rob and Melos!
Michael and Christy attended prom, graduated high school, and Michael leads the USATF tryouts. With Oxford University on the horizon, his future looks bright and he believes life has returned to normal after Christy’s rescue. He couldn’t be more wrong.
Christy has been free from a life of slavery for more than a year and made remarkable progress due in no small part to the love he found with Michael. But the recent prosecution of a past abuser has shattered the life he so painstakingly built out of nothing but a mountain of horror. He now faces the daunting task of building a new life—yet again.
Twelve-year-old Thimi has been missing since Christy left Greece and, unbeknownst to everyone, has hidden out in a vacant mansion in Glyfada. Learning of Christy’s survival is the only thing that brings him out of hiding. People, open spaces, even the most common of sounds frighten him beyond reason. A mere ghost of a boy, Thimi arrives in the US with no knowledge of the outside world—the only constant in his life a purple marble.
Lost, shattered, and afraid, only hope gives them the strength and courage they need to begin anew.
Order Elpída now at Harmony Ink Press!
About Cody Kennedy
Cody is an author who lives, most of the time, on the east coast of the United States. Cody also writes adult mystery thrillers, fantasy, science fiction, and romance as Aisling Mancy.
Raised on the mean streets and back lots of Hollywood by a Yoda-look-alike grandfather, Cody doesn’t conform, doesn’t fit in, is epic awkward, and lives to perfect a deep-seated oppositional defiance disorder. In a constant state of fascination with the trivial, Cody contemplates such weighty questions as If time and space are curved, then where do all the straight people come from? When not writing, Cody can be found taming waves on western shores, pondering the nutritional value of sunsets, appreciating the much-maligned dandelion, unhooking guide ropes from stanchions, and marveling at all things ordinary.
Pssst. Click on the captioned title of each book to read the first chapter!