Monday, February 20, 2017

November 27, part 1

It was only a little over a month ago that I was sure I was done with painful goodbyes. Yeah, shows what I know. Never say never, Shalia. That one little word is the best way to make sure something happens after all.

I got on board the space transport with Mom to see her off. I carried Anrel and watched as the attendants got Mom settled in her seat in her little private berth. Clan Aslada had sprung for the personal cabin because they are ever the too-generous gang.

They had come on board too. Meyso oversaw the attendants to make sure Mom was comfortable in her big, comfy seat. The cabin came with an attendant who would fix her drinks and snacks and see to her every need.

As soon as she was settled, Meyso told her, “The medical center you’re going to has my contact information. Anything you need, anything at all even if it’s not health-related, com me.”

“Including a troupe of dancing men?” Mom cracked. “Thanks, Mikey. You three take care and be good to my little girl and her little girl.”

“Absolutely. Good luck to you, Matara Eve. I hope we can see you again soon.”

Aslada bowed to Mom. “Best of luck to you, Matara. I look forward to our next meeting.”

She snorted at him. “Sure you do. See you later, Al. Take care, Jay.” She nodded to Jaon.

As Jaon grinned and added his bow, Aslada gave me a wink. “Come on, Mikey and Jay. Let’s give these women privacy for their goodbyes.”

“Right behind you, Al.” Jaon touched my elbow for an instant. “Five minutes until takeoff, my lovely.”

They left. It was time to send Mom off.

I handed her Anrel, who crowed when her mimi covered her sweet face with tearful kisses. “I will miss you, my little sweetheart,” Mom said, her voice hitching slightly. “Next time I see you, I will be a far better mimi than you would have had if I hadn’t gone.”

It was an oblique message for me. Mom was doing this not only for herself, but for the close relationship she wanted with Anrel. The one she and I had not been able to have.

I bent to hug her, torn between gratitude and loss. “Good luck, Mom. Com me when you get there, okay? Let me know everything is okay.”

“I will be fine,” she said. “As for my rehab and medical team…well, say a prayer for those poor bastards.”

I had to laugh. Maybe the best parts of the old Eve would hang in there, the tough and self-deprecating woman who had taught me to take shit from no one. I hoped so.

Most of our last moments were spent with her devoting love and attention to Anrel. Too soon, the call came that the shuttle was ready to go. My heart heavy and yet hopeful, I left her in the hands of the attendant who’d introduced himself as Imdiko Meckra. Mom was already calling him ‘Mack’.

Her final farewell to me was, “I love you, Shalia. Remember to shoot first and ask questions later.”

After her shuttle lifted into the sky, carrying Eve Monroe into the heavens and who knew what adventures, Aslada took us all to lunch at another fabulous restaurant where the waiters sang between taking orders. Anrel loved it, warbling along in her sweet nonsense babble to the delight of patrons and staff alike. It was fun, though with a bittersweet undercurrent for yours truly. If anyone noticed me occasionally wiping my eyes, they didn’t comment on it.

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