Monday, July 10, 2017

December 29

Oh blessed prophets! Feru messaged me…and he figured it out! He knows what’s been eating at me, what’s trying to wreck my hopes for happiness. It’s me, of course. Just as I knew it had to be.

Being so far away and not able to toss questions at me to excavate for the whole truth, Feru was quick to caution, “Now this is only an educated guess, Shalia, based on your history and what you’ve told me is going on. I could be wrong, but you can get back to me on that and we’ll dig deeper as best this delay will let us.”

“I could kiss you a million times for trying,” I told his image.

“Now here’s what I’m seeing,” he continued. “Out of self-protection, you didn’t allow yourself to get close to a lot of people on Earth. Your mother’s illness played a part in that, as did those who had power over you. In addition, you had the unfortunate circumstance of your father walking out on you.”

“He probably did me a favor,” I muttered.

“When you did let yourself get attached, it was to an unavailable clan. Also to that Dramok Nang, who was just as unattainable due to the sexuality of his clanmates.”

“And the fact he’s certifiable.”

Blissfully unaware of my commentary, Feru kept talking. “You continued that trend with Imdiko Betra and Nobek Oses.”

A light went off in my head. “Are you saying I’m subconsciously getting involved with men I can’t have? That I’m rejecting Clan Seot because I can have them? Was Katrina right? Am I that screwy? Why would I do shit like that?” I realized I had to rewind Feru’s dialogue because I’d run my big mouth right over it. “Shut up and listen, Shalia.”

I started Feru’s diagnosis back up. “So you make it to Kalquor at last, and you have two clans you’ve pinpointed as likely mates. Now this first clan you told me about, Clan Aslada, has done great things for you. They helped your mother, doted on Anrel, met every need.”

“Thanks for the guilt trip,” I said, forgetting for a moment that I needed to keep my trap closed since Feru couldn’t respond to my comments.

“Yet they had to return to their work, which for them, seems to entail long hours. You were left alone so much that you were essentially abandoned, though I doubt that was their intent. Then, to top it all off, your mother chose to go to Galactic Council space rather than stay close to you.”

I caught a glimmer of something indefinable as I had before, something that I could almost recognize. I didn’t have to search for it though. Feru told me what I was fighting.

“So to recap: at an early age, your father abandoned you. That’s a huge betrayal for a child, Shalia. It set you up for a lifetime of distrust. You subconsciously worried about others who might have gotten close enough to you. You knew they might abandon you as well. And it’s happening all over again, isn’t it? A sort of abandonment by Clan Aslada, who have extraordinarily full schedules, schedules difficult to balance in your favor. And then the biggest abandonment of them all: your mother. Not that I’m saying she was wrong to leave. She does have a lot to work through before she can attempt to mend her relationship with you. But it feels like abandonment all the same.” He smiled at me, probably to take the sting out of any rebuke he thought I might think he was offering. “You want a relationship with Clan Seot so badly that you keep pulling them close, only to push them away when they take that invitation. I think you’re afraid of being deserted by those you want to love. It sounds like you’re subconsciously trying to leave first to save yourself the pain of being forsaken yet again.”

I paused his message at that moment. I could barely breathe. He was right. I was sure he had deciphered the mystery.

My own common sense had been trying to point that out to me for the last few weeks. Hadn’t I felt sure I was on the brink of figuring it out before? Every time I thought about Mom, how she’d left because she’d needed to sort herself out before she and I could work on our relationship…exactly what I was doing to Clan Seot…I’d almost seen what my problem was. I’d been walked out on again. Mom had left me. Right or wrong, she’d left me, just as my father had.

My first two relationships, the ones with my parents, had been utter failures. Now some sad, pathetic piece of me thought that it would be the same with Clan Seot, because they meant so much.

“Fuck,” I breathed. “What a mess.”

I switched Feru back on. “If you think I’m wrong about this, then com me back. We’ll figure this out. But if you think I’m right, you have some work to do. Unfortunately, only time with your intended clan will fully absolve your fears of abandonment. I recommend in any case that you find a therapist to help you deal with emotions you probably didn’t realize you had.”

His look turned grave. “I can’t stress that enough. If I’m correct, you’ll have similar problems of commitment with any clan you consider joining. And yes, there will be mourning and anger to work through if this is the challenge you’re facing. It won’t be an easy ride. I also recommend you sit down with Clan Seot and tell them everything I’ve told you. Play my message for them if you think it will help.

“Good luck, Shalia. I hope you can make things work, because you sound sure of this clan. Give Anrel a big hug from me.” Feru laughed. “When she’s not covered in food, that is. Goodness, she’s growing fast!”

I was set to com Clan Seot right away when my door announce went off. I considered ignoring it, because I was so excited to finally have things clear. I’m glad I answered instead.

Katrina stood there, looking uncomfortable. “I’m sorry,” was the first thing out of her mouth.

“Me too,” I said. “Get in here. Anrel wants her grammy.”

Before Katrina greeted my little girl, playing on her blanket in the middle of the floor, she grabbed me in a hug. “I apologize from the bottom of my heart, Shalia. My only excuse is that I miss my clan so much. I was wrong to judge you harshly.”

“Stop,” I begged her. “I know I have more drama than anyone wants to hear. I make a mess out of everything, and then I expect you all to listen to me complain.”

Katrina laughed as she drew back. She wiped at her eyes. “We all have moments like that. And most of your drama is none of your fault.”

She came in and picked up Anrel, who had been yelling for her attention the moment Katrina had appeared. “Yes, little princess, I hear you demanding to be the center of the universe. I know who the real drama queen is around here!”

I was beyond happy to have my friend back. “Are you okay, Katrina? Nothing bad happened, did it?”

“My conscience won out over my pride is all.” Her smile was embarrassed. “You’ve been dealing with a crisis, and I wasn’t a friend to you. Just say you’ll forgive me for thinking I know it all.”

“No, you had a point about me running away. You were more right than you know.” It was my turn to feel humiliated.

“Why do you say that?”

I waved her off. “No, there’s been enough of my upheavals. I heard from Feru, and he shined the light on my inner uglies, exposing them so they can’t hide anymore.”

“I want to know. Tell me. I promise not to be a self-absorbed bitch this time.” Katrina sat down on my lounger with an expression that said she wasn’t budging until I launched into another round of True Confessions.

“You are not a self-absorbed bitch,” I countered. “If our friendship can’t withstand a bump in the road here and there, then we’ve never been friends.”

“Fine. I’m a shining goddess of exceptional wit and beauty then.” Katrina rolled her eyes. “Tell me what Feru said.”

“I’ll do better. I’ll play you his message.”

I did so, and Katrina listened, nodding her head from time to time. When the message ended, she told me, “I can see it. It makes all the sense in the world.”

“I hate that I was blind to what was going on,” I sighed.

“Most of us need an objective opinion from time to time. I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t acted against their own self-interests at some point. Often, they didn’t even realize they were doing it. At least you had that going for you; you knew something was wrong and took steps to find out what it was.”

“Now I have a clan to join,” I said. My stomach got that twisty feeling at my words, but I mentally gave it the finger. Knowing what was setting me off was indeed half the battle. “They should be back tomorrow. Should I do it in person then or com them now?”

“Hold up, missy,” Katrina said in a mock-severe tone. “You haven’t even started on the root problem. Maybe you should find that therapist Feru wants you to get before making everything official.”

“But I can fight what’s bothering me now that I understand it!”

“And fight with your clan too?” Katrina shook her head. “Uh-uh. You owe it to those guys to share Feru’s findings first. Then you can make the decision together on whether or not to make it official. Speaking of making it official, have you canned Clan Aslada yet?”

“Um. I was going to wait until I was clanned.”

“Shalia.” The disapproval was real this time.

“What? I’m going to do it!”

“You’re keeping them in reserve,” Katrina said. “In case something goes wrong. In case Seot and company abandon you, as you fear?”

“That’s ridiculous,” I spluttered, but at the same time, I wondered. “It’s going to be awkward as hell to tell them I won’t be honoring my promise to give them another chance.”

“It needs to be done. There are hundreds of Mataras here and more coming. Women who those boys might be Prince Charmings to. Cut them loose, and let me foist off some lucky damsel on them.” She stood and gave me a wink. “Meanwhile, I’ll com my contacts and see if any of the therapists around here are specializing in Earthers with romantic issues.”

“Fine. Whatever. And Katrina?”


“Thanks.” I hugged her before taking Anrel away.

It’s getting late as I write this. Despite telling Katrina I would let Clan Aslada off the hook, I still haven’t made that com. I just can’t face it yet. I need time to process my revelation, and then I’ll do it. Tomorrow. I promise.

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