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Saga Or | Dear Diary Challenge 2009

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Pandora, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Title: Or
    Characters: Unnamed Narrator (OC), Original Characters
    Timeframe: The original trilogy
    Summary: The same day her brother is sold into service as a telbun, a young woman begins to spill her thoughts out in journal form. The rest is non-fiction.


    *This was originally started for the 2009 Dear Diary Challenge. That year is now part of (quite recent) history, but I have continued the challenge on my own.

    *I should note that the only references I have used for my version of Kuat in this story are the entry in Daniel Wallace's 1997 The Ultimate Guide to Planets and Moons and selected bits from the X-Wing novel Wedge's Gamble and Wookieepedia. And I don't hesitate to mess about even with those. But then--it is all Legends now.




    Or


    Today my brother (or the boy who, once upon a time, was my brother) was sold as a telbun. He belongs to Gailesia Darsk now. Oh, I remember her from the few times I met her. She had fragile snow-rose skin, and the green eyes her mother chose for her to have before she even existed. She’s pretty, and she might be reasonably intelligent, but mostly, she’s nice. The second time, she gave me a dust-grey stuffed cat that my mother, of course, made me return to her only the next day. When I kicked her leg, on purpose, just to see if I could, she smiled. It was her younger brother who chased me through the garden, slapping through the air at my legs with his ornamental riding whip.

    Anyhow, my mother told me the Matriarch presented him to her on the first night of her birthday games. She’s been married for over a year now, so it was time.

    That day I kicked Gailesia, I was wearing my black soldier girl military boots. I know preferred them, especially compared to those candy-pink shoes my mother had bought for me. I was several gawky inches taller than she was. I had wanted (even if it was only for that one mean, snarling moment) to hurt her, to bruise her.

    Her eyes had burned with a candle-lit glow, and she blinked. I have to continue to remember that— along with the whining sharp cuts that smug brat left on the backs of my legs. I was thirteen, and she was fifteen. It would turn out to be the last time I saw her.

    That makes me sound much tougher than I really was. I should admit to that—even here, where I could go ahead and lie, instead of revealing every single thing. Most of the time, while I might have wished I was that way, I was actually quiet. I suppose that I still am. The matriarch would have assumed—like my teachers, and the rich cooing nice ladies on the social board—that meant I was tractable and sweet-minded. I know, at least now, when all that has faded into a dreamed memory, that I was afraid they might be right.

    I’ve heard that my brother looks like me. Well, I suppose that would be the obvious and expected thing, thanks to genetics. I might be intelligent or clever enough, but I have always been known first, and mostly, for being pretty.

    I know that he supposedly, allegedly, looks like me. But I don’t know one other thing about him. Of course, I don’t have any memories of him—I was only two years old when he was born, and then taken away to the training house, and I can’t remember anything from back then. I can only wonder what he has used for a name. I’ve never known what my parents called him in the week of days they still had him.

    There isn’t much else that I can say about him. I don’t know why I’ve written all this down, and perhaps I don’t have to. Oh, my mother knew what to say, but she would. They have already used their part of the compensation to have their old white skeleton droid scrapped, and have hired a slum girl to look after the house. All their friends are ooohing.

    It wasn’t until after I had (with happy relief, and almost soon enough) hung up that I wished I could have gone back for that droid. It must have already been at the scrapyard, but I always see it in the kitchen, in the rained-grey light, in the mornings when I left for school, while my mother was still drowned away in sleep.

    I would fly, that easily, and that fast, over the hundreds of kilometers to the city where my parents insist on living. I have always been good at flying in my dreams—including that one where I landed on the thick snow on a tall wind-burned mountain that must only exist in my mind. But I knew, as I do now, that I would never have done it. Because I can’t.
     
  2. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2002
    Wow, I really like this! I'm interestd in this girl :D Will she ever get to know her brother?

    If you've got a PM list, please add me!
     
  3. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Interesting start! I love how you've already thrown me straight into her world, assuming that I would know certain things and understand social situations. For some reason, her parentheticals really appeal to me. It's as if she's explaining it to herself as she goes along.

    The dream of flying is really interesting. It makes me wonder how much of a dreamer she is -- and if it was a dream at all.

    This is very intriguing, and I am looking forward to the next entry.

    =D=
     
  4. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    NYCitygurl: Wow, I really like this! I'm interestd in this girl Will she ever get to know her brother?

    I'm glad you like it, and I hope the narrator continues to be interesting. As for her brother-- the Magic Eight Ball says it is highly unlikely she will ever meet him. But the Magic Eight Ball could change its mind.

    If you've got a PM list, please add me!

    Consider it done.

    divapilot: Interesting start! I love how you've already thrown me straight into her world, assuming that I would know certain things and understand social situations.

    Since I'm trying to make this look as much like a real, private diary as a work intended for outside readers can be, the narrator couldn't explain things she has always known, that have been constant, and unquestioned, parts of her world for thousands of years. So I'm glad (and a bit relieved) you liked it.

    The dream of flying is really interesting. It makes me wonder how much of a dreamer she is -- and if it was a dream at all.

    So far as I know, it was only a dream. Of course, if the narrator starts waking up with melted snow in her sheets...

    This is very intriguing, and I am looking forward to the next entry.

    Thanks!
     
  5. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    *


    I’ve never been any good at keeping a journal. Oh, I can write well enough, when I have to write up reviews for the stern and proper and dull D. at work—and when I was still at university, several years ago, I wrote more than a few essays. But that would be it. My father did gave me that lavenderpink writing datapad when I was twelve, but I only wrote a few loose sentences of a story, and then well, obviously, I stopped. And I realized (while I was looking over a shipment of ancient books, so old the paper was made from trees, for the secure collection) that I have never wanted to. Yes, we received another new edition of Philomen Meek’s collected diary—as this dear, sweet, and safe journal already knows.

    Philomen Meek. She was born with shriveled doll legs and a weak heart, and spent most of her life hiding inside her tower room, that room with the famous window where she wrote her diaries, the thousands of pages filled with words that describe, and I quote—“a world she could only watch as though it were a play acted out for her entertainment.” Her elder brother and sister became famous (and still remembered and known) poets, but she just wrote, and wrote, and wrote in her diary.

    I think I have always avoid writing a journal just to make certain that I never, and ever, end up like Philomen Meek.

    Obviously, that is not what my grade eleven literature teacher wanted me to think.

    Of course, she isn’t the only person famous for writing a diary, or heaps of letters in the times when people still bothered with that, that are now stored in this archive. But I’ve never had any interest in reading them—and not even because I prefer stories to be lies. I would think that journals are stories meant only for the person who wrote them.

    But since I needn’t worry about this being found, or since I’m writing with my own fair, if shaking sloppy, hand, being read if it were, I think I can continue.

    Though I am not, not, not going to write about my mother. I was reading over what I wrote several days, and I was appalled to see how many times I mentioned her. And I don’t want to believe I was so sentimental, so moon-eyed, over my parents’ droid—but I was, and I wrote about it, and it all felt false, and wrong. But I know that dream was quite real—

    Anyhow, I shall write about something else. I’ll start with the book I bought today while I was wandering the university district. I’ve heard of the author for several years, and this novella, but this will be the first time I’ve read their work. Oh, and I might have a red, boyishly strong drink before I use the time to read it, to make up for the five minutes I had to spend before I could leave work listening to D. blah blah blah. It’s that exciting.

    *

    There isn’t much to say, and less to write, but since I’m sitting at my desk with nothing to do, and since that will continue for the next few hours, I’m going to write it anyway. I have started reading the book I mentioned to myself, and this journal, last week. Alas, I’ve only read through about twenty pages, most of it when I was here right at my desk. It’s all right—but that is all it is. Most books are like that. But it is set in a minor city on Lis that I have never seen even mentioned in a work of fiction before. You know. Most stories stay in that one special, important, starlight glittering city, the one and only city on every world that everyone has heard of, the one everyone longs to escape to.

    I had heard of this city, but it was only as a tiny word lost in the globe-map. It’s funny, and normal—I have never been to Lis (which was also, in a coincidence, the world Philomen Meek never left), and I don’t expect that I ever will.

    Most of the books in the archives, and in the main collection, are from other worlds. I can think of a few Kuati authors, one of whom lived in this city, but only a few. Of course, that could be because people here are too busy making ships for words, words, words.

    Ha, ha. Then I must be able to write this because my father might have lived here for years, but he is still an off-worlder.

    And I noticed that Ketzia just came drifting in. She must be eight, or it could be nine, months into her pregnancy, and she can still drift, even though she has to pause to sigh out her breath, and her cheeks are a flushed velvet-warm pink. She must not have anything to do either, and she came here to talk with me. And she will want to know what I’m writing. So I had better have this finished, and hidden away, before she comes over.
     
  6. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2002
    This is sweet! Great update :)
     
  7. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    NYCitygurl: Thanks!

    *


    Someone left a congratulations note on my desk at work. It must have been there for days, because it was slipped underneath the heavy reference book on the corner I only use to keep my detail-lamp on. I was not (and am not) pleased. I don’t want the people at work, including the ones I would say I like, to know about my personal life. I would never tell them about my brother. But instead of ripping it in half, and tossing it, I just had to open it and look. It was made of thick, likely handmade, and expensive cream-pale paper. There was no message, or, and rather conveniently, a signed name.

    Only the printed finger-wagging: Rejoice at your family’s good fortune.

    That was when I knew it couldn’t have been D. She would have given me the note in person, with sweet, yet condescending, smile. And, well, even if she had been too discreet to leave her name, it would have smelled of her book-dust perfume.

    It only smelled like paper—the paper, I should add, that none of co-workers could have afforded. I should have still tossed it, especially as this person couldn’t bother to sign it. But instead I pushed it back into place under the reference book, and then, only minutes later, I hid it at the bottom of the one drawer I (almost) never use. But though I want, and I even hope, to forget about it, I know I won’t. There’s a reason I’ve written about it.

    When I had my break, I stopped by the reference desk. Ketzia was watching the door, her hair lit up in the nightlight glow from the shelves of holobooks. I tried to find out, casually and discreetly, if she had seen anything. But I didn’t figure out the right questions to ask, and I don’t think she knew what I was talking about.

    Well, I couldn’t expect her (or Roderick, who I spoke with later) to remember the people they had seen near my desk in the past fortnight. I know I wouldn’t have.

    Oh, and (since I may as well change to another, if related, subject), my parents have sent me my part of the compensation, which happens to be more money than I have ever made in one Imperial Center year. It is, as that cliché on the note said, my good fortune. I haven’t spent any of it. But I have been looking around, though mostly in a lazy, aimless way, for another, better flat. It has certainly been time for a while.

    *

    I’ve got something.

    Well: it would only be that my flat was so cold this morning that I had hurry in a hopping trot across the ice-paved floor. The old lady has done it again. My face feels like a porcelain mask, thanks to the little blood-red pill I had to take for my sinuses. Oh, I should have moved out months ago. I could make up excuses for why, and how, I am only getting around to it now, but I don’t want to think about it that much.
     
  8. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2002
    I'm really curius about who left the note. Great update!
     
  9. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    NYCitygurl: The note is actually inspired by a comment I received on a blog I had from someone who said they went to graduate school with me, but couldn't be arsed to sign their name. I never did find out who it was. Since this is fiction, the narrator should have better luck.

    Great update!

    Thanks!


    *

    There is still some room left on this page of paper (I meant flimsy, with its bright plastic smell), so I’ll see what I have to write. I’m sitting on the floor in my flat, surrounded by packs, and—alas, and very sadly, only half-packed—boxes. Yes, I’m moving into another flat, and not the first one I visited, in three days. I keep putting stuff, including endless music discs, and holobooks, and clothing I oughtn’t to have bought, into boxes, and there’s still more. And I haven’t found anyone to help me move the furniture, especially the bed, with the antique frame from the mother’s aunt, and the very new mattress.

    It is a bed—as I feel obligated, and petty, enough to mention. Last night, when I was bored, I read most of a story set on an imaginary planet in the unknown, and fierce!, and mysterious! regions, where they apparently refer to beds as sleeping platforms. Either that, or the author thought it would sound more exotic if they did.

    Obviously, I believe in calling a bed a bed.

    Anyhow, the whole flat feels odd. I don’t know how to describe it, even though only every place I’ve lived has been this way when I’m preparing to leave. The air has this numbed, echoing-empty quality. I try not to think about it too much. I have had music playing that I only notice enough to hear part of the time, but it’s enough. I had take-out for lunch, and the leftovers for dinner, from the Alderaanian place. I have eaten more Alderaanian food than I have our own local, and planet-wide, delicacies.

    There is something else, but I don’t know how to write about it. Perhaps I’ll figure it out later. Perhaps it would be better if I never do.

    I will say that I haven’t received another anonymous, and annoying, note at work—and yes, I have had to wonder if I would. And (this next section has been blacked out).

    But I’m using up the last inches of space on this flimsy (and continue to do so with each word, and each aside) so I shall finish up, and flit, and resume all this on a new sheet.
     
  10. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2002
    The blacked-out line bit was really interesting :D
    Great update!!
     
  11. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    NYCitygurl: It's probably more interesting to wonder, and not know, just what it was the narrator regretted writing enough to black out. Oh, the mystery. And I think I can say that there will be a few other edits, for similar and different reasons, in the future.



    *


    So I’ve moved, finally and successfully, into my new flat. It’s on the third storey of an old stone building that used to be a mansion. The family who owned it lost it, and everything else, when they went bankrupt (a fate worse than even death for the aristocrats). Apparently, one of their sons had stolen several designs from the local elite house. The rental agent told me that only minutes into the tour, or I wouldn’t know. I didn’t much care, but—well, obviously—other people must, and enough for it to be a selling point.

    This was the suite for one of the eldest daughters. There is a little room near the back that is right size for a study, or a child’s bedroom. It had a rounded window seat, but I think that may be from the recent remodeling. And I know, I just know, what it was meant for when that spoiled and long dead girl lived here. It was the telbun’s room.

    Perhaps for that reason, I don’t know what I want to do with it. I haven’t even stored any of the numerous unpacked boxes in there.

    That is related to the reason I started writing this entry, and why I bought a package of writing paper from that one tiny pretentious store near the university.

    I was looking through my desk at work yesterday during another lull. I was still irritated from having to deal with that one moon-eyed woman Ketzia would have assisted if she hadn’t been, you know, taking time off to give birth. I was irritated enough that when I thought of that note—and oh yes, dear journal, dear sheet of paper, you know which one—I banged open the drawer and snatched it out to finally get rid of it.

    But first, I just had to open it for one last look. I have never been good at resisting that sort of impulse. And that was when I found it—a tiny moth wing slip of paper, tucked down into the crease of the envelope. It was no wonder I hadn’t seen it before. It nearly fluttered out of my fingers as I unfolded it, and read the row of words printed inside.

    I don’t need to get it back out to remember what it said. I don’t need to write it down again here. It was only one sentence: The moon has two faces.

    It sounds like a fragment from a random poem, or a piece of nonsense—but I don’t think that it is. It could be, it must be, one of the messages Pallas sends out. You know who they are, though I haven’t heard a single whispered rumor since university. They have worked underground, and outside history textbooks, for over two hundred years, without managing one iota of social change. But they have existed. Most people tend to (nervously) mock them, but my father always taught me not to. I’ve heard that Senator Danu used to work with them when he was in law school, and that says more than enough.

    Now, I have to wait and see if they will contact me again. Until then, I can only look through this message to find out what they wanted me to know.
     
  12. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2002
    The plot thickens :D

    The line about the room belonging to the telbun was unsettling - as I'm sure it must have been to her, since her brother is one.

    Awesome post!
     
  13. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    NYCitygurl: The line about the room belonging to the telbun was unsettling - as I'm sure it must have been to her, since her brother is one.

    Yes, it would be quite weird for her. She also knows that it's a weird feeling she can't really discuss with anyone (for the purposes of this story, most people don't like to discuss telbuns, and it's not for the reasons outsiders, or the aristocracy, would think) so it's a good thing she has her journal.

    The plot has begun, indeed, but that's just the tip of the lurking and cliched iceberg.

    --

    Usually, I would have an update here, but it has been delayed by various computer troubles (insert long and dull story). I don't know when I'll have something, but it should be soon.

     
  14. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Many Bothans died to bring you this update.

    *Checks off another obligatory Star Wars quote on the list.*


    *


    Once again, I have nothing to do while I sit at my desk, so I might have as well write. And well: I do keep some paper here for that purpose. I would like to appear busy, since that one matron—the plump stunted brown bird one, who shows up at least once a week, but has yet to learn how to locate a book—has come in. Andraste is at the reference desk, and she tells people (with this pouting glare) to look it up themselves. Sometimes I like Andraste, but today has not been one of those times.

    D. is talking and hahahaing with one of her friends nearby. I am glad she’s distracted, but it’s getting hard to concentrate enough to actually write.

    I’ll just have to return to my secret and thrilling subjects later.

    Maybe I should attempt to finish reading this book by the end of my shift.

    Oh, Ketzia had the baby. She had been hoping, and wishing on the northern cross star, that it would be a girl, but it has turned out to be a boy. I don’t know, and of course, I can’t know, if she had an actual reason to think a scout from the training house was even looking into her—only that she has kept him. Andraste showed me a holoshot, and he looks like a baby, with wrinkled blushed-red skin. I don’t know what else I was meant to see—

    D. is stalking over in my direction, so I had better hide this away before she can think I’m sneaking creative time on the job. The shock, the horror.

    *

    It turns out that the message Pallas left does come from a poem. I found it almost straight away when I was clicking through an anthology of Kuati poetry from the main public collection. This is a book I had assigned for a class at university—but I didn’t read the poem for class, or for free time, until now. It was written over twenty thousand years ago by Aina, a woman who is only remembered as her name. The moon is, literally, our own largest moon, Liin, but it’s mostly a metaphor for a man.

    Oh, you know: He’s beautiful, with space-black eyes and pale skin. He smiles as he tucks his little knife into your heart. He’s cunning. He’s demure. His skin feels as cold and bright as moonlight when you attempt to touch him.

    I can only wonder if Aina had any idea how many poets would imitate her.

    Probably not.

    This could mean that a man I know—or a man I haven’t yet met—is more than what I notice about him. But that might just be the obvious, literary meaning. It could be something else, something I haven’t been able to see. I don’t know.

    *

    Or (as I thought last night, in a half-dreamed daze I'm surprised I remember well enough to write down) sometimes a moon is merely a moon.

    *

    I’m at work again, and D. is telling the assistant director (a prim and sterling old virgin who has devoted her life to a variety of committees, and that’s all I need to write about her) about how she’s far too busy and important with her job, and with her three or so children, to actually read through a book. She sounds actually smug about it, and really. She works at an archives. I don’t think she should be bragging about that.
     
  15. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2002
    I hope your computer troubles are over! I've had more than what I consider my fair share this school year, so I can empathize with you :p

    [iOr (as I thought last night, in a half-dream daze I'm surprised I remember well enough to write down here) sometimes a moon is merely a moon.
    [/i]

    I really like this line :)

    Great update!! I can't wait to see who this man is :D Maybe the brother?
     
  16. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    NYCitygurl: Great update!! I can't wait to see who this man is Maybe the brother?

    All will be revealed in time. I can say, though, that this man (if it is a man and not just the actual moon, of course) isn't the brother.

    I hope your computer troubles are over! I've had more than what I consider my fair share this school year, so I can empathize with you

    Thanks. My computer troubles are stabilized, at least for now. (Basically, I need a new computer, but my finances do not make that possible right now.) I didn't lose any files, only a week or so of my life, so I can't complain too much.



    *


    This had not been (I write, deciding to be understated for once) a good week. I’m not certain I want to describe it, even in the paper of this journal. But I will be honest, too honest, and note that I have slept as much as I could, because I couldn’t bear to be awake. I would get into bed, and roll over in the tangled, stale warm sheets, and wait for my mind to shut off for another long dull nap. Then when I got up, I would feel as though I were still asleep, and inside the blurred light of a dream. But even though I must have had dreams when I was asleep, I don’t have to remember any of them now.

    There was one moment when I almost decided that I wouldn’t write in here again, and that would be forever. I don’t know how I got past that, but somehow, through force of will, I have. After all, I’m writing this down now.

    It shouldn’t be this easy to feel exactly the way I did when I was twelve, and sixteen, when I was filled with constant, hopeless, stupid rage.

    But that doesn’t matter. It turns out that nothing has changed.

    But I could have felt much worse, and I do feel (somewhat, cautiously) better now. I wanted to take a nap after work, and then especially after dinner, but I made myself stay awake, even though my eyes felt like burnt-out black holes. Yesterday, I dyed my hair a dark nightsky blue. I just wanted—and yes, perhaps I needed—to look different. I know quite well what certain people, far off in the past, would say, but I don’t have to care. I’ve never considered this color before, but it looks good. And if it hadn’t—well, it only lasts for a month.

    When I looked in the mirror this morning, I was white, actually paper white, instead of just dramatically pale. But I looked normal enough, and that is what has to matter.

    Anyhow. I can return to thinking about, finally, getting a pet—since I live in a flat where I can actually have one. That old lady has two well-bred, rosepink, and star eyed pittens, but she didn’t permit her tenants to have any pets, even ones that wouldn’t oh dear, oh my, shed in her flats. I’ve only just started to look for a cat. A free bred one, a real one.

    Yes, that means I’m not interested in those engineered animals, the ones that are pretty, docile, and have stubs instead of actual claws. I’ll leave that to people like my maternal unit, my maternal uncle, and the women and little boys of House Darsk.

    Oh, and since I mentioned that parent I won’t, as I wrote some pages, talk about here, she commed me last night. I don’t need to say I did not tell her how I spent, or wasted, the last week. But she didn’t decide to notice anything. She wanted to know if I’m going to come visit them when I have my four (very much paid) days off for Empire Day. And I have considered it. It has been over six months since I went back—

    But I’ve written enough for now. I think I shall go out (in that one black dress I haven’t worn for a while, and which won’t smell like my bed) and get something to eat. I have a novel on my datapad that I’m halfway through, and I will hope no one I know sees me. While I might be better, I don’t feel like going through the motions of being nice right now.
     
  17. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2002
    Poor girl!! I wonder what happened. I can't wait to see if she will go to her mother's.
     
  18. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    NYCitygurl: Poor girl!! I wonder what happened. I can't wait to see if she will go to her mother's.

    All (or most) will be revealed, but only in time.


    *


    I went out to the public gardens today for the first time in (even though I don’t want to believe it) almost a year. But I had an earlier shift today, and when I left the archives, I had the whim to go, and I decided to do so that moment. It was warm out today, with the sort of pleasant, fursoft sunlight I can tolerate, and the first flowers have come out. I walked along one of the nature paths in the forest-garden. It smells like the stream whispering out through the trees, and the sun-blushed leaves. It might not be actually wild, but it’s the closest I can get. I know this is what my father wanted to find on the surface, and why he has stayed here.

    The sky had started to fade when I returned to the main path. I stopped at the café stand and bought a black soda-fizz drink. When I looked up into the sky, and away from all constant, talking people, I could just make out the knife-thin edge of one of the moons. It was still the white clean color of the sky.

    Then several girls came past, so closely I could smell their rainberry lipgloss. They had just burst into a shiver of giggles, and I didn’t want to make out what they said. They were both little, and knife-thin, and wore matching rosepale sundresses, and had the same ratted curly black hair. I managed not to sneer—or worse still, to jerk back away from them.

    Once again, I have to remind myself how to act normally.

    They don’t have to, if they are like the girls they reminded me of, who I knew years ago in secondary school, because they just are.

    After that, and after I finished the drink (and then had to find a public fresher, since I did have an iced caf during my work break, but oh well), I stopped at the feline shelter Minnas told me about. It’s only across the avenue at the north end of the park. I filled out a few forms. But I shouldn’t write any more about that quite yet.

    Then I returned here to my flat, to the flat of love. Ha, ha. I was tired, but not to a slow thinking, drooling extent. After I had dinner, I moved some of the empty boxes and storage bins into the telbun’s room. Well, I don’t need a guest room, and I did have to put them somewhere out of the way. It only took a few minutes.

    *

    Perhaps it’s because I had several drinks tonight, but I will I do know, and I know very well, why I didn’t destroy this journal. And I wanted to—if only for several dull, cringing moments when I woke up at the beginning of the morning. It was almost like that time when I was nineteen, and I did destroy all my writing. It wasn’t enough to delete the files. I had to rip up the paper-flimsy copies I had into large fluttering snowflakes, until I had blisters on two of my fingers. I’ve never written those stories, those things, again. No one I have known since then knows, or would believe, that I ever could have.

    I don’t—I should mention to reassure the record—wish I had kept any of it. I’m sure that I wouldn’t be able to endure reading it now.

    But I have learned since then not to destroy anything I can’t replace.

    Oh, I should not have had that second drink (the ruby-red one with too much Ronay gin). I don’t want to write something else I’ll regret as soon as the words are real, hours before I wake up and regret it again.

    I will that while I didn’t technically like the underwater-lit, ohsovery trendy bar Lea insisted we should go to, I didn’t mind the experience. I knew what my lines were. And I was reminded, once again, that I’m not meant to be celibate. I will have to look into that.
     
  19. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2002
    Ooo, a hint of romance? Sounds very interesting :D
     
  20. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    NYCitygurl: I think I can say that it is a hint, and a foreshadowing, of romance. You'll see.



    *

    Roderick came looking for me in the Danu reading room this afternoon, only an hour before the end of my shift. I had gone there to return a book I was consulting, and then I went on to look around (and avoid the woman typing a pile of notes into her datapad). I’m familiar with most of that part of the collection, but there is always a book I haven’t noticed before. I was distracted with the whisperecho voice inside my head, and I didn’t know he was there until I turned around and saw him. He had his dreadlocks done up with tiny bell-clicking beads, and he wore iron-grey velvet trousers, and these boots.

    I don’t know how he does it. Gets away with it, I mean. And Andraste can wear that mauve silk dress that shows off her new raw-sore tattoo, and artfully overdone limon makeup, with her black lipstick and pierced lip.

    D. hasn’t said anything to me, but I can tell she doesn’t approve of my blue hair. She has mentioned—in this forced teasing voice—the tiny diamond stud I have in my nose. There might not be an actual policy against it, but it isn’t (oh dear, oh no) professional. But she doesn’t so much as notice Roderick or Andraste.

    But anyhow, Roderick brought up that time I had asked him if he had noticed anyone wandering about near my desk. I hadn’t expected that—it wasn’t that long ago, but I haven’t mentioned it again, and I wouldn’t have thought he would remember. He had been reminded of it only this morning when he was coming back from the tech center, and he overheard a man asking D. about me. Apparently, I was away on that one errand at the time.

    D. has a policy of never giving our personal information, so I know he didn’t learn anything (else, that is) about me. Roderick left before he heard what the man said next, but he did notice that he left through the main entrance within the minute.

    He was also able to tell me that he had never seen this man before, but he looked well-off, perhaps (and he leaned in with a smirk I recognized and understood) enough to be an aristo. He had that glossy-smug, capitalist look. I don’t know what to think about that—but it won’t change that to worry and fret, and yes, fine, obsess over it.

    Roderick and I were walking back through the archives by then, and that was when we saw that telbun who comes in on occasion. The lady who owns him is known for going about with her two Hapan guardmaids. I’ve seen them, though only (and thankfully) once. He has brought several children with him before, a little girl with ink-black hair and her matching brother—but today he was alone.

    I know that telbun has used the archives since I started this journal, and I’m sure there was one time when I almost wrote about him. But it’s difficult to see telbuns, and even harder to remember them when you do. I can’t quite (even though I’m sitting on the smooth blonde-pale wooden floor in the telbun’s room) remember him even now, only hours later.

    Roderick looked over to the side, almost casually, before he could see the telbun. I don’t think he had even realized he has gone that. All the men here do that. That telbun might have noticed, but he would be used it to—and perhaps he even prefers it.

    He walked past in his usual meekly-careful shuffle in those wounded-red robes he wears, his hat pointed towards the floor. He has never asked me for assistance, but then, since telbuns are supposed to be stuffed full of education, he wouldn’t need it. He was so close that, for a dragged slow second, I knew he smelled like velvetdust and warm sandalwood. It should have felt strange, and wrong, and I don’t know why it didn’t.

    But I don’t need to have an answer for that—or that aristo Roderick saw. I’m leaving to see my parents in two days, and that is a good thing. Oh, it might be a very good thing.
     
  21. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2002
    Her brother, then the room, now this man - I think there's something important that's going to happen involving telbuns.

    And I'm very interested to know who the aristo was :D Perhaps the one who sent her the letter?
     
  22. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    NYCitygurl: Something is going on with those telbuns (and no, none of them are actually Rebel undercover agents who drew the shortest straw. That's another story). And you'll find out who the aristo is, because he will certainly be back.



    *


    There wasn’t much to do at the archives. But then, it is the day before Empire Day, so I didn’t expect many new and ancient acquisitions fresh from the hyperspace transport. The University has already shut down, so there weren’t any students with wild eyes and deadlines. The postal service is also closed (as I learned only after I got there), but then, they are always the first to close. They did have a picture of the Emperor on display that kept baring its grey grave marker teeth in what I think was intended to be a smile. But I won’t go on about that. I don’t need to have a special, unannounced visit from a morale officer.

    Anyhow, it might be almost Empire Day, but there were still patrons wandering in and out of the library for most of the day. The brown bird woman was amongst them—but Andraste had to listen to her flutter through her instructions.

    I had just turned to return to my desk, making certain I looked too preoccupied, and too haughtily mean, to assist anyone, when I saw Erienne. He must have only just arrived, because he was talking with the woman at the sign-out desk.

    I gave in to my worst instincts and stepped back to watch him. Of course, I did have a comm conversation with him last week, but I haven’t seen him in person, at the archives, for several dragged out months, and I hadn’t known to expect it. He nodded at the woman, and pushed some of his loose, gloriously messy hair back behind his ear. Then he turned and saw me, and I felt my mouth move into a smile.

    Andraste smiled at me while the bird woman labored over a request form. Oh that Erienne, she said once. It’s too bad they can’t all be like him.

    It seems obvious, and trivial, to mention that Erienne is beautiful. I noticed that the first time I saw him, when he approached my desk. He kept letting his long barkbrown hair fall across his face, and I thought (and I understood) he might be shy. It has turned out to be more complicated. He has dark cat-sly eyes—like another man in Aina’s poetry—and graceful moth pale hands. Oh, I am still surprised, if happily so, that I have seen him naked.

    Today, he wanted to consult a collection of Naboo historical essay-poems. I have noticed that he has a particular interest in that world’s literature. He doesn’t need me to much assist him, but he does like to pause, as he wanders through the pages, to discuss certain literary opinions with me. He must have been a scholar, if only back in the past—though when I asked, he told me he isn’t with the university.

    Since D. is already off on her holiday, we had the chance to socialize. The other patron in the arc hives, one of the university adjuncts, minded her own business. Oh, and he does like my blue hair. He made a reference to some night-goddess on Alderaan.

    When I saw him through the dark air of that bar, he was sitting with a girl with grass-blonde hair and a plain potato face smiling in a fireworks glittering dress. Later, when we were wandering out in the park, N. had to say he must have a preference for blondes, but I think that was a coincidence. He still saw me, and I think he smiled.

    But I had to blink to look back at him, and I’m not still certain. Then Lea wanted to dance, and she pulled me over to sway with her. I had to lean in to hear her as she screamed over the hard pounding music. When I looked back for him, he was gone.

    But of course, I spoke with him only the next day. I don’t have to worry about sleeping with him—since obviously, I already have. It just happened, naturally and happily, after I ran into him at the university square. I didn’t have to figure out which rules to follow. But that was once, and seven months away in the past, and I would like to do it again.

    It could happen. Before he left, I gave him a note, taken from the paper I use to write all this, and he put into his frockcoat pocket. I don’t need to remind myself what I wrote. It should distract me at my parents’ house—and I might need that during the hours I’ll spend in the room that is still my bedroom, with the rose-pink carpeting my mother had installed the week after I left for university. She doesn’t like to wait.
     
  23. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2002
    Hmm :D This Erienne sounds interesting :D Great post!!
     
  24. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    NYCitygurl: Thanks!


    *


    So it turns out the slum girl my parents hired on, who I know I mentioned in here pages and pages ago, has moved in with them in order to be hard working, loyal, and sweet full time. I found that out today, though it happened nearly a week ago. I don’t need to say how the maternal parent feels about this. The girl is staying in that one little room off the kitchen, the one from the original house plan with an ancient door that locks with a key. It’s not much, but she is still blushing with gratitude. Then again, she does come from the Draigon District, and a house stuffed with seven sibs. She must think it’s a great deal.

    She must be around seventeen. I’m not good with ages, but I do know she’s in her first year at the tech school. She is always nice, and probably too nice. She has sleek dark hair, and fragile doll skinned wrists, and a little whispersoft voice.

    Oh, I know, I know. The maternal unit—who has been spending her day off flitting around in this new wine-red silk dress—has delusions of having a handmaiden.

    But I must have learned a few things, because I haven’t made one comment.

    My parents seemed happy to see me. It’s hard to tell with my mother, but she did show me the newly redecorated sun parlour. She might have wanted to mention my present hair color, but she didn’t. Dad had to stop by the office for a few hours (Daddy Darsk hasn’t the time for days off—not even Empire Day), but after he came back, and we had the luncheon the girl had made, we went walking through the nature park behind the house.

    Dad doesn’t talk much (my mother said once, with one of her friends, that he is sensitive yet silent), but he did point out a few plants I hadn’t had names for before, and he recognized all of the bird voices flying about. He’s always been interested in that.

    I had always liked wandering around the park. Perhaps it’s because I have so many bad memories of my life there, but I had forgotten that. When I wasn’t walking along the paths, I would sit on this one bone-white wooden bench hidden back in the forest grove. Sometimes, if I had gone there after school, I would bring along my old dusty-black datapad with several novels inside, but I don’t think I ever once opened it. When I was little, I always thought I find, suddenly, and inevitably, something wonderful in there. I never did.

    Then at dinner, my mother told me her oh so important news. Yes, she has been appointed to a position on the social board.

    Well, her life is now complete. I think that is all one could possibly say.

    Anyhow, the girl showed me up to my room. She had the reading lamp burning, and the blankets and the (petal silk pink) sheets turned over. I took a moment to stare around it after I set down my travel satchel. There are some of my old things here, including a cloud-white stuffed bear, and the row of books I inherited from one of my great-great aunts, but my mother has changed everything else. It’s hard to believe I ever lived here.
     
  25. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2002
    Aww, I feel kinda bad for her. I'd hate to go home and have my room completely different. Easy to tell how she feels about her mother.