By Cirroco DeSade
I try to listen to him politely, try to fake interest. However, his ramblings over battles past have already begun to bore me. I would not have even considered a relationship with him, but he came along at a time when I was trying to get over her. And naturally, there she is, sitting across the room at a corner table, and just possibly she is convinced that nobody sees her. But of course I see her. I don't think I'll ever be able to not see her now.
My heart goes out to her. Yet, my heart already belongs to her, despite my current company, and she should very well know it. She simply would never allow me in. Not after her husband's death, not after all she revealed to me. I often think back on that night, the night she bore her soul to me, the night I learned the double edged nature of love. She told me she loved me and then made it clear to me by her actions that she was ashamed of that love, that she would not be able to be with me. I suppose `Honor' demanded this somehow.
I was stubborn at first, refusing to believe she could be so illogical. As if love was a logical situation in the first place. How was I to know the fool's errand I had engaged myself in? I spoke to her privately, beseeching her to change her mind. It was the first time I had ever felt so much, and there were days I felt my love for her would drive me mad. An eidetic memory can be a curse when you'd rather forget. For months I tried, however it was all for naught. She distanced her heart from me more each day.
Eventually she went back to her old routines, but without as much spark as before. Eventually she'd let me join a team with her so we could work on a problem together. Eventually she could look me in the eye, but the warmth I once saw there was gone.
Eventually I didn't cry every night anymore.
Eventually someone tried to sooth and to comfort me, and I naively fell into his arms. His love for me is akin to the love of a possession, but after getting to know him better, I believe it is probably the deepest love to which he is capable. However he bores me sometimes. It is to be expected. He is not my equal. He is not her equal.
Her gaze crosses mine and she realizes I am watching her. She averts her eyes and pretends to find great interest on some calculations she has in front of her. Lately she hides behind calculations and theory.
He breaks into my thoughts, his baritone voice announcing that he really needs to get back to work. He stands and looks at me. I tell him to go ahead without me, I have something I must attend to first. He smiles and takes his leave, oblivious to the lack of affection I have for him. As he walks away I wonder what kind of person I am becoming.
I rise, dispose of my tray and make my way to her table. I cannot predict what reaction she will have to my intrusion. My heart hopes she will greet me warmly, that perhaps we could talk a while. Occasionally this happens; of course on those occasions there usually follows a period where she will treat me as she did when we first met, with open hostility and seeming disdain.
I am dismayed by how every step I become more nervous than before. My autonomic functions are sending me into a state of hyperawareness and as I come to stand in front of her table I find I can already smell her. I am trying to ignore my emotions, to be level-headed as I ask her if I can join her.
She allows it with a slight inclination of her head. My words have failed me, as they so often do around her these days. I sit there for what seems like a small eternity, neither of us speaking. Finally I speak; I ask her if she wants to talk about it.
Momentarily she looks as if she might speak, as if it is the very thing she wanted to do. Her mouth hangs open slightly; she even inhales as if about to pour out her troubles. Then, she seems to deflate, yet steel herself. She is not looking at me anymore; she is looking right through me, as if I am not even there.
"No," she tells and I feel a sharp pang with the word. I wonder briefly if she will ever let me in again.
"Very well," I reply. Neither of us speaks and the silence is painful, stretching on until I am sure it is palpable.
I erect a mask to hide my pain, but I find it is not very strong. I find I cannot stay here in her presence much longer, or I will disgrace myself in front of her. I will not cry or hurt her in any way.
Finally, I stand and make my excuses. I must return to work or something equally lame. I tell her goodbye and as I begin to walk away I pause. I look over my shoulder to find her staring at me with an unreadable expression, and then her gaze immediately drops from mine. I sigh. I speak softly but surely, and I know she will hear me.
"Take care "
I walk away, across the mess, then through the sliding doors. And as they close the space between us I can finally finish my thought.
I inhale and try not to let my emotions overwhelm me. I chide myself about taking a longer break than I should have, becoming determined to dive into my calculations on the latest project. Perhaps if I allow myself no breaks, I will not be distracted by thoughts of her. Perhaps if I am not distracted by her through the day I will not feel as guilty when he picks me up for another date.
I wipe my eyes brusquely and concentrate on the numbers, making my way back to work... feeling every step of distance between us.
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