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Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 14 – Echoes of the Past

EOTP 009 – Return To Me

USS Mackenzie
8.06.2401
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Peter Crawford sat in his daughter’s quarters, holding a steaming cup of coffee while his daughter sipped at her own tea.  “I’m….part El-Aurian?”  She blinked and stared at him, “And mom is…alive?”  She sat on her couch, her hands trembling as the realization snaked its way through her mind, “You weren’t kidding when you said it was complicated, Dad…but holy…shit.”  Another sip of her Lady Grey.  Her mind was whirling, and she tried to accept it while understanding it.  It wasn’t easy.  “She wants to meet me, so that’s good.”  She stared down into the browning liquid in her cup.  For her entire life, she had never known her mother’s name or even her face.  She thought she had a sense of the woman.  She’d been mostly wrong – she was mysterious, that was for sure.  Her father slid a PADD across to her.  “That’s her?”  He nodded, eyes full of worry.  She clicked her tongue, “Don’t give me that look.  I’m not going to kill her…or hate her.  I’m just…I do look like her.”  Carolyn rolled her eyes at Peter, “Women always look like their mothers.”

Peter felt some relief.  Her eyes were misty as she cradled the photo of her mother.  “This isn’t going to be easy for either of you…she’s prepared for that.”

Carolyn chuckled, “I never thought I’d see this day, Dad.  Honestly.  I thought she’d always be a mystery…that I’d love a stranger for my all my life, just out of reach.”  She stood, “Where is she?”  He gave her a questioning look, and she groaned, “I just want to see her…and hold her.  Dad, you don’t know what’s banging around in my heart.”

He understood more than she knew.  “Let’s go.”

He walked her to the door of the Wardroom on deck 1.  “She’s just inside.  Do you…?”

She hugged him, startling him, “Thank you, Dad.  I love you for this.”  She looked up at him, “I need to meet Mom alone…on my own.”  She stepped back and straightened her uniform, “I look good, right?”

“You look beautiful.”  She curtseyed, took a breath, and stepped through the open door.

Riandri sat in a chair and stared out the window, lost in thought. The tea she held in her hands had lost most of its heat while she thought about what was about to happen. She struggled to wrap her mind around how Peter had reacted, what he had said. After so many years, she had expected nothing short of anger from him and feared complete rejection from Carolyn, but having found understanding from Peter; something she didn’t know what to do with. Her mind drifted to Carolyn, and the last memory she had of her, holding her when she was only a year old, a memory that seemed to be from a lifetime ago. 

She heard the door slide open behind her, and she froze, terrified to turn around for the moment before she pushed it aside. She turned her chair and stood up before she dared look. Once standing, she laid eyes on Carolyn, and a wave of pure joy washed over her at seeing her daughter, “Hello, Carolyn.”

Carolyn’s smile was frozen for but a moment.  Her eyes searched the face of her mother, her mom, finding all the parts of her that she had imagined, pretended to remember…and now they were real.  She was real.  Carolyn felt her emotions swelling as her eyes misted with the realization that her mother…was here.  She was here.  Mom.  She started walking towards Riandri.  She made it four steps before she began to run, her tears spilling down her face as she raced to be reunited with the woman who had brought her into this world.  Her mom.  Her mother.  Carolyn fell into Riandri’s arms, wrapping her in a firm embrace, sobbing as she sputtered, “Hey, Mom.  You’re real.  You’re here.  Mom.”  She repeated the word as she cried, the sound of it feeling foreign and familiar on her lips.  Carolyn held onto Riandri as if she might vanish into the ether again.  “I’ve missed you, Mom.  So much.”  Her tears continued unabated.  Her mom was real.  And she was here.

Riandri went rigid for a moment as Carolyn wrapped her arms around her but that was short-lived as she embraced her as tightly as she could. Tears rolled down her cheeks and all she could say was, “I have missed you so much.” With that, she tightened her arms around Carolyn, rested her head on her shoulder and just enjoyed the moment. As she did she clutched a small locket in her hand and willed the happiness of the moment to stay with them.

After what seemed like hours, they released each other, and Riandri took a half step back as she held Caroyln by the shoulders. “I…” Riandri began, “I am sorry I wasn’t there for you, Carolyn, but if you would allow it, I would like to be now.” She nodded towards the table, “I thought we could get to know each other over some lunch; I am sure you have lots of questions. Your dad told me what you liked.”

Carolyn wiped her face with her arm, the tears fading while the emotions remained firmly at the top of her throat, a tightness of joy spreading her smile wide.  “Dad and you had your reasons.  I never blamed you.  You had your own battles to fight.”  She eyed the table and the lunch that beckoned, “Dad wanted this to work.”  She turned to her mom, “Thanks for wanting this to work too.”  They walked to the table and slid into the chairs, facing each other.  Carolyn frowned.  She picked up her chair and plate, shifting to sit as close as she could to the side of Riandri, her arms and legs brushing up against her.  Within her had surged a desperate need for her mother’s touch.  She had known it was there in her mind over the years.  Now, it was an ache for the years missed. The hugs not given.  The comfort not felt.  She couldn’t take her eyes off Riandri.  Her mom was real.  She was here.

Riandri smiled as Carolyn pulled the chair beside her. As she did, Riandri reach over and squeezed her hand firmly. “I have always wanted this. Every day I have thought about this and how I want it to work but I let other things get the better of me,” Riandri said as she continued to hold Carolyn’s hand. She looked back to the table not feeling overly hungry, “So…”, a bit at a loss for words, “How about you tell me about your life? What do you like doing? Any Hobbies? How was it growing up?” 

As soon as she finished speaking, Riandri sighed and shook her head, “God, I am making this sound like an interrogation. Guess I have more experience with that than I do speaking to my daughter which doesn’t say much about me.”

Crawford’s smile didn’t falter.  “You probably would have had to employ those tactics when I was a teenager.  I was mostly a good kid, but…I gave my dad a run for his Latinum.”  She picked at her plate, “Let’s start easy.  I’ll tell you about my boyfriends and the drama they brought to my life.”  Carolyn relished the flavors, “Good food always helps.”

Riandri couldn’t help but laugh, “Sounds like you got that from your dad. He knows how to give anyone a run for their Latinum.” She moves to speak again then paused and shook her head, “Not sure starting with boyfriends is easy but I am all ears. They don’t call us good listeners for no reason.”

There was a twinkle in her daughter’s eye, “If you asked my boyfriends…I didn’t make it easy on them.”  She drank from her cup, “Now, first was Theo in 6th grade.  I know, I know.  Young for a boyfriend.  But he was a bad boy…and let me tell you…I liked the bad boys…”  She continued to tell her stories long into the afternoon as they shared laughter and tears about the results of her relationship experiences and experiments.  They remained in the lounge, unwilling to leave each other willingly.

Comments

  • A wonderful moment of reunion, I really enjoyed the moment of tension that is suddenly released as Carolyn races towards her newly revealed mother and that was nicely set alongside Riandri's own realisation that her hesitance was an empty thing. I also liked the small moment of Peter being surprised at her hugging him, a nice nod to the the fact that just having an answer to the mystery of her mother. I'd be interested to see how this relationship grows and if it's as fulfilling as Carolyn hopes it will be; especially compared to the construct she has created.

    April 12, 2024