Ink Spilled to Avoid Goodbye

Posted on Mon May 3rd, 2021 @ 9:16am by Kindra Graham

Location: Pelorum, Bai Rih Mohn Beach Resort
Timeline: 2514 - Summer, after 'A Six String and A Naked Piano'

*** A Letter Written on Bai Rih Mohn resort stationery ***

Dearest Alden,

I can't sleep. I've lain awake these last hours, watching you sleep, listening to the sound of your gentle snore like the caress of a warm breeze. And I've come to a terrible conclusion. I just don't think I can do it. I can't look into your eyes and say goodbye.

I'm afraid. I don't understand this feeling. It's overwhelming. I look at you and I feel like I'm drowning. Or I'm a leaf floating on a river, out of control, pulled and spun by the rush of something far more powerful than myself, too powerful to fight. I've never felt like this before.

In a few more hours it will be morning, and you will wake up and look at me with those deep blue eyes, and then it will be time for me to go. And you'll walk me to the shuttle and kiss me one last time. And then. Oh, Alden, how will I say those words? How will I turn away from you? How will I lift off in the shuttle and leave you behind? I won't. I can't.

I know I'll plead with you to stay with me, as surely as you are breathing now.

How is this even possible, to feel this way about a person I've only spent a few days with? Companions are supposed to be experts on human emotions. Companions are supposed to be strong and independent. But nothing in my companion training prepared me for this.

So many conflicting thoughts and fears running through my mind.

I'll try to explain.

I'm afraid I'll betray my mother's memory. She left the Guild when she was pregnant with me. Because my father asked her to, she said. Then he left us both when I was three.

The captain said he's taking on special passengers on Pelorum, so you can't stay on the Cicada as a passenger. One is Guild Matron Murtis Lupanar. She opposed my mother's reinstatement to the Guild to contract with my stepparents. And when I was a student at Madrassa, she used my mother as an example to my peers of a companion who failed in their career.

If I return the Cicada's shuttle and abandon my lease, Lupanar will report me to the Guild. She'll say I'm making the same mistake my mother made. She'll say I'm a disgrace to the Guild and not worthy to be a companion. My license could be rescinded. And then, who will I be? I've worked my whole life to be a companion. I don't want to give it up. I don't want it taken from me.

But that's only what might happen if you agreed to stay with me. It'll be worse if you refused. Lupanar would say you only wanted the bragging rights and ego boost for seducing a companion. A companion with abysmal judgement and self-control who doesn't deserve her license. Maybe I'm a little afraid she'd be right. But I have to believe you wanted and cared about me as a person, and not just as a companion.

The fault is all mine. The fear is all mine.

[An illegible, crossed-out, and tear-blurred line.]

I don't see an alternative. The only way I can leave you is to go now while you're asleep, without saying goodbye.

I'm so sorry,