Monday, November 23, 2015
August 6, early
We went through our last wormhole on this trip. About a dozen Tragoom ships showed up to feel out our defenses, but the destroyers accompanying the transport and the ones waiting for us on the other side of the vortex soon sent them packing. Hardly any fire was exchanged.
Still, it served as a reminder just how dangerous the universe is. Tragooms, Ofetuchans, rogue Bi’isil weapons, Nang ... I thought about the matter long and hard as I sat and held Anrel today. Looking into her sweet cherub’s face and having her gaze back with such trust in me brought the issue into focus as it never has been before.
I thought about it more as that brute Resan put me through my paces. I felt more than just a little pathetic doing arm strengthening exercises with paltry two-pound weights and getting tired from them. I kept thinking I can’t be so weak and dependent on others.
I have to get stronger. I have to. Even when we reach Kalquor in a few weeks, I have to be ready in case Nang makes it there.
I’m not the only one feeling stressed. Katrina heard back from her kids, and she is reeling.
Actually, she heard back from her daughter Hope. Katrina played the message for me and Candy so we could hear the news for ourselves.
Hope admitted some shock over her mother’s choice to go to Kalquor and even more that Katrina was serious about a clan. “Three men, Mom? That’s crazy, even for you.” The younger version of our friend shook her brunette head, her brow wrinkled in consternation. “I mean ... that’s really a bit much to put my head around.” Hope sighed. “But it’s your life. You have to live with your decisions, and if you’re happy with this Clan Wotref, well...”
She struggled for a few moments as she tried to understand. I could see how much Hope loved her mother, even when she didn’t agree with her.
At last she said, “Look Mom, I just want you to be happy. After all that’s happened, I don’t begrudge anyone reaching for whatever joy they can find. It might be hard for me to swallow, but you’re no dummy. Most importantly, I’m not going to reject the mother I thought had to be dead. I got you back, and I’m not letting you go. Not over something like this.”
Her smile made me and Candy cheer a little. However, Katrina just stared at her hands, clenching and unclenching on her lap.
Hope’s smile faded with ours. “Matthew is not so forgiving, however. I suppose you realized that might happen. He’s very upset about this.” She blew out an angry breath. “I wish he had the balls to tell you himself, but he’s chosen to hide behind arrogant faith instead.”
I blinked to hear how much Hope sounded like Katrina with that statement. She’d gotten the full measure of her mother, all right.
“He said to tell you that when you beg God’s forgiveness and admit to your sins, he’ll consider welcoming you back into his and his children’s lives. Until then, you and your – partners in sin, as he put it – are not to seek any contact with his family.” Hope rolled her eyes. “He’s been more than pleased to accept help from the Kalquorians himself since we were rescued. He’s even talked about trying his luck on the colony they’re establishing on one of their worlds. Haven Colony offers a lot of support to get started. Matthew thinks as long as he can keep his family separate from the Kalquorians who will help administer the colony, it will be the perfect opportunity. As far as I’m concerned, he can choke on his hypocrisy.”
Hope’s anger spent itself. She offered a bitter smile. “Sorry the news isn’t all good, Mom. But you know I love you. You and your boyfriends are welcome in my home. The kids can’t wait to see their Grammy.” She gave a conspiratorial wink. “You know even if he is a tight ass that Matthew still loves you. He’ll come around, especially since his kids are begging for Grammy too.”
Katrina turned off the message at that point. “That’s about it as far as that shit is concerned. At least Hope is willing to give my chosen life a chance.”
“What’s her husband say?” I ventured.
“Tom?” Katrina snorted a burst of laughter as she wiped the tears leaking down her cheeks. “Hope is like me. She runs all over a man who won’t put the brakes on her. Tom is a good man, but weak. Hope wears the pants in the family. If she told him to throw a parade in honor of me going to Kalquor and carrying on with twenty clans, he would.”
“She just became my hero,” Candy said with exaggerated adoration. “You taught her well, sensei.”
That got Katrina laughing for real, at least for a few seconds. Then she burst into tears. “My son. My grandbabies,” she bawled. “What if I lose them forever?”
It was not the time to offer platitudes or even valid arguments that rejecting Katrina was Matthew’s loss and mistake. When someone hurts like that, the only thing to do is hug them and let them cry on your shoulder until they can’t anymore.
Along with praying that the situation will resolve to the happiness of all.