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(Jaelyne Isa) Serala: “The Fabric of Our Lives”


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It’s funny how the mind just holds on to some of the smallest details. I’m no psychologist or psychiatrist – far from it, actually – but I think that there are times when the mind just gets so overwhelmed that all it can do is cling to the little things. And that’s what I think happened to me over the course of three days in 2397.

It was during our first trip to Tibro, during their celebration of Val Tesai. So much happened on that trip and all of it would change my life forever. My team had crashed in a remote forest on the planet and had been forced to run for our lives. When we’d finally be rescued, it was then that I first learned that my husband had been murdered by a victim of the heavy metal poisoning that was ravaging the populace. I was so stricken with grief that all I could remember was that morning, when we’d first woken up. I was still heavy with child at the time and Stevok was ever the supportive and loving husband. Of course, since he was mostly Vulcan, few but I would have noticed it. But as I lay in my biobed in the ship’s infirmary, all I could think of was the feel of his tunic that I had taken out for him to wear that morning. It had been so soft, and the coloration suited him so nicely, that it was my favorite tunic to see him in. How I longed to be able to hold that tunic again. My mind raced back to the last conversation he and I would ever have.

“So, your first away mission. Are you excited?” I asked as I ran my hands over that wonderful tunic he was now wearing. It was cut perfectly for him, and allowed me to feel the muscles underneath. If I was going to give it an adjective, I think dashing would be it.

“Excitement is an emotion, my wife. However, I will admit to a certain amount of anticipation.”

I just smiled at him. Anticipation was just a synonym for excitement, but I wasn’t about to argue semantics with him. Not that day, anyway. I knew from the bond between us that he was also eager to make a good impression with the Captain and the other officers. If all went well, he was hoping to be invited on other away missions in the future. I gave him a quick kiss and left to attend to my own duties. If only I had known that would be the last time I would kiss him.

My mind came back from that memory to look at the little bundle of joy in my arms. She had been born the very next day. How was it that her blanket could feel so very much like her father’s shirt? Was it just my mind, or a happy coincidence? I can still remember the feel of that blanket just as clearly as I do Stevok’s tunic. And the smell. What a marvelous thing the smell of a newborn baby is. Of course, that might just be a proud mother talking, and she was definitely the most beautiful little girl. But the blanket they had wrapped her in, the feel of it – again, soft and smooth – had been burned indelibly into my mind. It felt so very similar to that tunic of her father’s that I cried. Oh, the tears were tears of joy, but somewhere in there was sadness at knowing her father would never be able to hold his little girl the way I was getting to hold her.

Now, if only that was the end of it, but naturally, that was not to be. Two days later, as I laid in the sickbay, my father walked in. My father who had been dead thirty years. I still remember the last day I had spoken to him. Starfleet was sending him on another undercover assignment somewhere and we would have no idea where he was or when he would return. I had loved my father very much in those days and I was very sad to see him go. I remember that I had jumped into his arms and hugged his neck so tightly for so long. I could feel the Starfleet tunic and the black collar under the skin of my arms. I am pleased to say that our uniforms have become a bit more comfortable since then. Six months later, I would find myself in bed one night, clinging to my dad’s uniform as I cried myself to sleep. He was gone and I would never see him again.

But there he was. Older and gray, but very much alive. I felt the fire in my veins rise up and the anger at the deception flowed through my veins.

So there you have it. Three major events in my life, all in the span of the same number of days. A death, a birth, and a resurrection. And all indelibly tied to the feel of fabric. A tunic, a blanket and a uniform. As I said, it’s strange what the mind holds on to. The touch, the feel, the cotton, the fabric of our lives.

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