Grace woke up to a rhythmic knock on her door. She grabbed her glasses, checked her eyes to make sure they weren’t too red from crying. She opened the door.
“Yuri,” she greeted. “What is it? Did you need to talk?”
“I am experiencing vexation,” Yuri stated. “The emotional turmoil is significant. To the extent that I had given serious contemplation to requesting that you erase my memories. However, Allison requested that I remember her. She stated that a part of her, my memories of her, will always be with me. When I think of that, I can not help but believe it would be an egregious betrayal to erase my memories of her. Grace, how can I discontinue the pain without betraying her?”
“Yuri, sit down,” Grace gestured towards her sofa. Baron Wolfgang hopped into Yuri’s lap as soon as she’d taken her seat. “Just… just wait for a moment. I’ll make some tea.”
Grace hurried to her kitchenette. She knew the gist of what she needed to say, but she wasn’t quite sure how to say it. It wasn’t Yuri’s fault that she was having trouble. Anyone would be. Especially someone in Yuri’s position. Only one lover in her life. Very little experience at dealing with tragedy. She needed to speak compassionately.
Grace finished brewing the tea. She poured two cups, just in case Yuri wanted to taste some. She sat down next to her. Yuri was gently stroking Wolfgang’s fur.
“Yuri, what you’re feeling is very natural. Very… human. Losing someone you love, especially the way you loved Allison, is always difficult. Heart wrenchingly so. And that pain… it’ll always be with you. Sure, as time goes by it’ll dull. You’ll learn to remember the happy times fondly and think less on the painful way you lost her, but you’ll always feel a little twinge of regret and pain when you think about her.”
“But, you are right in keeping your memories. That pain isn’t something you should surrender. Because… because ultimately, the reason it hurts so badly is because being with her enriched your life. It brought you a lot of happiness. To deny the pain would be to deny that. Besides, you’re going to live a very long time. Possibly even longer than any of us can imagine. For your own sake, you need to learn to handle these kinds of feelings productively. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself shutting out everyone around you, afraid to feel anything.”
Yuri continued petting the little dog. “Productively?” she whispered. She looked up. “I understand. You have my gratitude. I must speak with Ophelia.”
Farah looked at her palette. Which colour would be good? Light blue, perhaps? Maybe a pink or red would be better.
“What colour were their feathers actually?” Lucy asked.
Farah jumped, startled. “I… I didn’t hear you,” she stammered.
“Well, you were late for your shift,” Lucy said. “So, I got curious.” She examined the painting, her eyes very slightly open. “I’m surprised you actually did it.”
“Well, I know she was just messing with me,” Farah said. “But…”
“You wanted to do it any way,” Lucy finished. “So, what colour were their actual feathers?”
Farah shrugged. “No idea. They’ve just found imprints of them and remains stored in amber. Nothing to tell us the colour… I don’t think.”
“I see,” Lucy said. “Well, I’d go with the light blue.”
Farah nodded. “I was thinking that. Maybe after my shift.”
Lucy grabbed her shoulders and pushed her down. “No. It’s quiet any way. Just finish your painting. I’ll keep you covered.”
A joyous light
You gave in flight
Happiness and laughter
You brought to every slaughter.
Now gone away
How we wish you could stay
“That’s all I’ve got so far,” Leon said. “I’m a bit stuck.”
“I’m sure she’d appreciate the sentiment at least,” Paul said. “But I don’t know if ‘slaughter’ is the best term to use here.”
“I couldn’t think of a better one that rhymes,” Leon said.
“What about ‘chapter’?” Paul suggested.
“Okay, yeah, that is better,” Leon said. “Like, it doesn’t rhyme as neatly, but it fits her better. And it gives me an idea of where to go.”
“When you’re done you should show Yuri,” Paul stated. “I’m sure she’d appreciate it.”
“You bet,” Leon nodded. “Imma make the best memorial poem I can and anyone who doesn’t like it can walk into my knife.”
“Please don’t point a blade at anyone,” Paul said.
“Captain,” Yuri said. “I require a moment of your time.”
“Of course, Yuri,” Ophelia said. “You know I’m here for you if you need me.”
“Thank you, Captain,” Yuri stated. “This is difficult to say, but I require a hiatus.”
“Off the ship, I’m guessing,” Ophelia said.
“Correct,” Yuri nodded. “I do not wish to retire from the crew. However, I do require time and distance to come to terms with everything. I would like to take the shuttle and travel, alone, for a time.”
“The shuttle’s all yours,” Ophelia said. “We’ll miss having you around, but everyone will understand.”
“Thank you,” Yuri said. “I will contact you when I am ready to return.”
“And we’ll come for you,” Ophelia said. “Even if we have to drop everything and go halfway across the galaxy to do it.”