Monday, June 6, 2016
September 14, part 1
Goodbye, Haven Colony. Sigh.
We are underway again, the Pussy ‘Porter in some semblance of decent health. Before we left, Oses had a meeting with Nobek Jol. Since the governor’s clanmate is in charge of Haven’s security, Oses made it a point to tell him about Nang. If my Dramok stalker makes it into Empire space and stops at the colony, Jol has said he’ll apprehend him.
My sense that Jol is a nasty, dangerous man under certain circumstances was verified. Oses told me, “He asked if he could have the pleasure of tearing Nang’s head or any other body parts off. Apparently, Jol is not a fan of men who hunt down women with children.”
“Good heavens,” I said, shivering at the threat. “I just want Nang stopped and put in a nice, warm padded cell. I’d rather not see him dead.”
“I told Jol that.”
“What did he say?”
He shrugged, his attitude unconcerned. Apparently he could give a flying fuck about Nang’s good health. Jeez, these mean-ass Nobeks are a brutal bunch.
I received a follow-up message from Aslada’s lawyer, asking if I’d gone over the paperwork to assume all legal control over my mother. I’m going to have to make a decision here. I guess I already know which way I’m leaning, but it doesn’t mean it’s not making my heart hurt and my conscience sting. Me being wishy-washy me, I had to get a couple of experts to weigh in on the matter.
I made an appointment with Tep and my former psychologist Feru. I brought Anrel along, determined to have a little time with my daughter. I swear everyone else sees her more than I do. Every time I turn around, Betra or Katrina or Tep or Candy runs off with her. I’m grateful to have such an amazing support system, but sheesh. Anrel is my child.
So why did I think I’d be allowed to hold her while talking to the Dynamic Duo who put me back together after I was abducted by Finiuld? I no sooner walked into Medical when I found myself surrounded by orderlies, nurses, and doctors vying to hold the baby. Tep and Feru were right at the front of the line of adoring fans.
As Anrel was passed around to be cuddled, cooed at, and adored, I scowled at the lot of them. “Why do I feel invisible? Gee, I can’t imagine,” I huffed, pretending to be jealous of the attention my little sweetheart garnered. “You all kept her most of the day when I went to Katrina’s ceremony yesterday!”
“Not me,” Ret was quick to refute. “That was my clanning ceremony too, you know. I was denied my chance to hold the baby.”
“I’ll be sure to tell Katrina which lady you prefer,” I teased.
He made a face at me and tugged Tep’s braid to make him give up Anrel. “Go have your meeting while I make up for lost time with my little becu,” he ordered even though Tep outranked him.
“Siko’s got you calling her that too?” I laughed as I followed Tep and Feru into the head doctor’s office.
We sat at a low table across the room from Tep’s desk. He offered us some gechrem tea. “So you’re having second thoughts about the procedures for your mother?” he began.
I sipped at the herbal blend, letting its citrusy flavor soothe me. “Not about cleaning up the plaque that’s supposedly causing the dementia. It’s the other part I’m getting nervous about.”
Feru gave me his typical calm look. “The chemical regulator that will help even out her bipolar swings is a worthwhile solution, Shalia. She won’t have to depend on drugs to keep her on an even keel.”
“That sounds great, but I’m more freaked out about making a decision for her that I know she would never agree to. She refuses to acknowledge there is a problem.”
Tep’s brows lifted. “But her records indicate there is. Science trumps wishful thinking.”
“Does it also trump her free will?”
Feru gave me a smile. “How can it truly be what she wills if emotional storms are tossing her this way and that? Based on all the data gathered, Matara Eve has never had the opportunity to voice the free will she’s entitled to without the influence of the bipolar disorder.”
I ran my fingers over my scalp in frustration. “That’s some of the problem I face. Mom’s not young. On top of that, her life’s been hard enough to have aged her before her time. At this late date, do I take her from the person she’s been for so long and make her the person she could have been? Someone she never was?”
Feru’s face was soft with compassion. “Shalia, ‘at this late date’ as you put it, your mother will never be the person she might have been. Even with the regulator, she’s got a lifetime of poor coping mechanisms and bad habits that she may not be able to overcome. She’s used to responding to stimuli with extreme behavior. That won’t end the moment she wakes from the procedure with her brain re-set to factory specs. She’ll need therapy to learn how to behave like those of us without bipolar disorder.”
I hadn’t thought of that. I threw my hands in the air. “So what’s the point if nothing changes? Why shouldn’t I just have the dementia taken care of and leave the rest?”
“One reason,” Feru said. “And one reason only. Which way will she have a chance to be happier?”
Boy, didn’t that make me stop and think. I’ve rarely known my mother to have happy moments. There have been moments when the manic phase made her giddy and loud with laughter, but those have been few and far between. Mostly she’s angry. Big time angry. Mean as a snake angry, with frequent bouts of depression.
I don’t know that Eve Monroe has had more than a dozen truly happy moments in her life. Now I felt depressed. What the hell kind of existence was that?
But there was the knowledge that Mom would be pissed off to no end with me if I took the choice from her. Maybe angry enough to walk out of my life and never return. I know she and I have locked horns more often than not, but she’s still my mom. She drives me nuts, but I love her. Having Anrel has made me want her back more than I ever imagined I would.
It wasn’t about me though. It was about her. Whether or not she should have the chance to realize some peace and perhaps even joy. The question had been, did I have the right to choose for her? I now saw a second question: did I have the right to not act in what I felt were her best interests?
I drew a deep breath. I looked at the two of the most sensible people I knew and asked one last question. “Would you do it if she was your mom?”
Tep’s eyes widened, but Feru shook his head. “That’s not a good way to make a decision, Shalia. Your circumstances with her are unique to you.”
“I know. I’m going to go through with it and have Meyso do the procedure. I’m just curious as to how you two would handle it.”
Feru smiled at me like a proud parent, though I don’t think he’s any older than Betra. “I’d do it.”
Tep nodded. “Based on what I know about your mother, me too. I hope that helps you. It’s a huge responsibility.”
I sighed. “No kidding.”
He patted my hand and Feru gave me an encouraging hug. So there you have it. Into the abyss.