For today, Bee‘s prompt is “grandparents”. I had an essay in mind, but I live with this Vulcan woman in my head, and she had other ideas – and so, you get a vignette from T’Pol’s childhood…
Disclaimer: Although I believe T’Pol is a law unto herself, Paramount claims ownership.
Here, we have TMir, as a young woman on 1950s Earth…
“You will comport yourself appropriately at your first foremother’s home.” Mother was calm; I wondered at what age I would be able to control my responses to that degree. Or, perhaps, Mother had no emotional responses to control. It was logical to assume that the possibility existed. I wondered if it would be possible to devise an algorithm by which I might calculate the possibility. Certainly, that was a more interesting and useful pursuit than listening to her say the same things, in the same tone, in precisely the same order as she had ever other time I had come to stay with T’Mir.
I allowed my mind to sink into the puzzle as the groundcar angled up the final hills to the home of my oldest living ancestress…better that than reveal my ‘unseemly anticipation’.
“T’Pol, you are not attending to your mother’s directives with sufficient focus.” I blinked – when had we stopped?
“Yes, Father. Mother, I will do my best.” I gathered my bags and passed them to Father before disembarking.
“See that you do.”
That was all the parting I had from her. Father leaned in close to me, and something quick and alive flashed in his eyes. “May you find your time agreeable, daughter.”
Mother was already turning toward the groundcraft, and wouldn’t see. Had she planned this, to allow us this moment together? I didn’t know, but I pressed my fingers against Father’s in a filial ouz’hesta, attempting to memorize his bioeletric signature, so that I could hold it in my mind, during the time we would be apart.
And then he was turning to join Mother, and I was alone at the entrance to my first foremother’s sand garden. I opened the gate and passed within. It was too near zenith for T’Mir to be comfortable coming to greet me; she was very aged, and had grown frail.
“My T’Pol. Come, child, and let me relearn your face.”
It was pleasingly cool and dim inside; the candlelight made flickering shadows on the walls – and the shrunken woman seated before the bank of candles. My emotions became intense, and I hurried to her, eager for her touch, for her stories – for her acceptance of me, precisely as I was, always. For the learning she offered, of a people far away, a people most Vulcans found primitive, lacking the discipline of a mature culture, chaotic and dangerous.
I went to her, settled on my knees beside her.
“Will you allow me to touch you, T’Pol? My eyes no longer adjust well, after I’ve watched the flames.”
I had to focus on each word; here, when we were alone, we spoke only in English, the dominant language on Earth. She waited, blinking as she watched me. “Yes, T’Mir,” I said, when I was certain I understood her intent.
Her hands felt like desert breezes against my skin, and I breathed in the warmth of the touch, so different than Mother’s. “How can it be that a mother and daughter are so unlike one another?” I hadn’t meant to ask the question aloud, but there was nothing to be done, once it was said.
T’Mir’s breath released in some way I’d never heard from anyone else – was it something she had acquired, when she lived amongst the humans? “Are you thinking of the differences between me and my daughter, T’Pol – or yourself and your mother?”
“T’Les seems unlike both of us,” I replied.
“Humans have an expression: ‘Some things skip a generation’. Perhaps it is true, and there are things in my nature that I passed, through genetic inheritance, not to her, but instead, through her, to you.”
“Do you think it is so, T’Mir?” Her fingers trembled slightly; I was reminded again that she was very old, and couldn’t be expected to live much longer.
“Perhaps, child, and perhaps not. But it’s most agreeable to have you here with me, and know that you’re of like mind.”
“Tell me how I may serve you.” I wanted to do something for her; something that would, however illogically, allow me to forget her mortality, even if only for only a short time.
That strange breathing sound again. ” Simply be as you are, T’Pol. I live alone, most of the time, and I’m well capable of meeting my needs.”
“I -” I paused for a moment, attempting to choose the most precise human term to express my emotions. Terrans had a great diversity in such terms; it was something I wondered at. “I wish to serve you.”
“Ah, T’Pol. Such a serious child – do you know that children on Earth are seldom so? That play is often considered their main occupation?” Gentle fingers stroked my hair. “You will serve me best by being as you are, and doing what pleases you.”
“I will prepare tea,” I decided. But, as I went to her kitchen and tended to it, her words remained in my mind.
‘You will serve me best by being as you are, and doing what pleases you.’
As I watched the water carefully, so that no drop would be wasted, I wondered at the alien concept. Neither Mother nor Father, nor anyone but her, had ever asked me to consider what pleased me. Suddenly, with T’Mir’s statement, there seemed something amiss in that, that my life would be orchestrated without any consideration of my – my wishes.
But was that not the way of a Vulcan life?
Looking for more Love Is In Da Blog? Find it right here!
And the blooper fun as T’Pol entertains the humans who asked for a story- two hundred years later.