Thursday, February 7, 2013
Just got back from lunch. I brought half of it back with me since some asshole bumped my table hard as he walked by, knocking my tray into my lap. There I sat, tuna salad and protein drink all over my shirt and pants. Then the shithead, some guy in his thirties missing both front teeth in his upper gum, smiled at me.
He said, “Sorry, slut. But you’re used to having nastiness in your lap, ain’t ya?”
Several people nearby laughed while Mom fussed, trying to get me clean with a napkin. Weln started forward as if to either help me or to punch the Gap-toothed Wonder, but I warned him away with a look. I was afraid someone might jump him. Despite his size, Weln seems to be a pretty gentle guy. If he got into a fight and started losing, a whole bunch of the Kalquorians that hang out in the dining area keeping an eye on things would get involved. I guarantee you, my fellow Earthers would blame it all on me.
Most of all, I was worried that Mom might realize the ‘accident’ wasn’t an accident. I cannot take her crying again. So I cleaned up as best I could, pointedly ignored everyone else, and sat as long as it took Mom to eat. I’d lost my appetite.
At least it wasn’t the hot soup I’d almost ordered. Things could be worse. That’s what I keep telling myself anyway.
I’ve spent a lot of the day in bed. With nothing to do and no one to talk to, what else is there? The worst thing is how my head keeps replaying the message Dusa sent me.
“Shalia, I am so sorry to hear what happened to Matara Eve. I’m even more sorry that such ugly things are being said about you. You don’t deserve any of it. You’ve done nothing wrong. I completely understand why you left a message saying you can’t see me and Esak anymore, but please reconsider. We will be very careful from now on. No one else will know when we visit you. Just don’t cut me off like this. I treasure the friendship we’ve built, and it hurts to think I can’t see you again.” Maybe I was just fantasizing, but I thought I heard his voice break up a little as he spoke.
Then Esak: “I will not let anyone hurt you or your mother, Shalia. Talk to us. It will be all right.”
Do I really mean that much to them? I know how lost and empty I feel not seeing Dusa’s smile. I think back to the last time I saw them and my gut knots. I alternate between laughter and tears when I remember Esak’s patient suffering as he watched Mom knit him a very non-Nobek cap. I could see him gathering all his courage to wear it when it’s eventually finished, just to make her happy. I know he’d do it too, even though it’s a color only a little girl would wear. He and Dusa are so sweet. They’ve been incredibly good to us.
I can’t bear to erase their message. Not when it’s the only shred of kindness I have left in this world. I’m going to keep it, because I don’t dare allow myself to remain involved with them in any way, not when Mom’s wellbeing is a part of the equation.
It’s so unfair.