Disclaimer: I earn no riches from Trek other than my fantasies.
The gate creaks on rusted hinges as I enter the inner sanctum of Death's door. It tolls my entry at the threshold of the netherworld and I once again question my sanity for coming here. Why do I feel compelled to ask permission to pursue my life from one who is no longer alive? Why do I seek your grace now when I never asked it of you in the past?
I step up to the row of bronze plaques and move to the one I could locate without the aid of the moon. Yet, somehow, I find it soothing to see its faint light shining on your name. I know the vault is empty, just as the one in San Francisco is; the shrine that Starfleet built to honor you. I think your soul would prefer to be here, in Iowa with the remnants of your family, rather than the ostentatious structure that is as hollow and empty of your spirit as it is of your remains.
I touch the lifeless, raised letters before me, seeking a connection to our past and love of many years. I look up at the brilliant stars that shine even through the swirling wisps of clouds in the sky. Ironically, I sense you there more than I can beneath the nameplate my hand still caresses.
I laugh at myself, a strained and manic sound even to my own ears. I have come nearly two thousand miles during this ancient holiday of the dead to commune with a spirit who had never 'been' of Earth. Borne of Earth, yes, but the spirit within, the stuff of star-shine. I feel ridiculous and sit down on the frigid marble steps and lean back against the nameplate of some ancient Kirk ancestor. I hope he laughs with me instead of at me: the foolish woman who has come so far to seek out someone even further away.
"Ny, you could have stayed in San Francisco and looked up at the stars," I chastise myself, breaking the quiet of the evening. Why did I sneak off in the middle of the night, beam to Riverside and take a cab to this cemetery to seek a connection I could have gotten just by stepping out on my balcony back home?
Because Spock was there and he was waiting for an answer, an answer that would mean a lifetime together. Was that so different than the past several months we had spent in each other's company? Since my last birthday and the letter Spock had brought to me from you? Now, nearly a year later, I find myself sitting outside an empty vault, looking for guidance from the man who had been my strength for so many years. Why am I scared to commit to Spock? Why do I still feel I need the blessing of a dead man who had never claimed me as his own?
An owl hooting in the distance makes me jump and look around before I recognize the sound. I sit back and will my heart to slow down, demanding calm even if I am sitting at the base of a tomb on Halloween night. The absurdity of my situation makes me laugh again, this time perhaps with a bit more humor. Leaning my head back, I look up at the stars that shine down on me and take a cleansing breath. My exhalation becomes visible in the cold, shimmering before me like a wraith--but not the one I want to see--your ghost. Just as you felt the need to speak some final truths to me, I need to talk to *you* now, to make my *own* peace.
"Okay Jim, I'm here. Why? I don't know. Well--wait--maybe that's a lie. I do know, but I don't know why it's important. Spock has asked me to marry him and I couldn't say 'yes'. Isn't that ridiculous? I just stood there, speechless, and left the poor man hanging.
"Yes, I know it took a lot of courage for him to ask me. I know he's not one to broadcast his feelings. Wallah! It took over thirty years for him to even acknowledge he cared for me. It took your letter to make us both see what we had been too blind to see for ourselves. How did you know? What clued you in?
"I'm not sure he would ever have told me if you hadn't "outted" him in your letter. Thank you for that--because I know I would have continued to deny what I felt on my own. You said you wanted my forgiveness for keeping me ignorant of his love, yet you gave his love to me.
"I guess I should be angry with you, but I'm not. I was angry with you for dying, for leaving me. And then, when Spock brought your letter to me, your final birthday present, I was angry you never told me all those things yourself.
"We were a pair, weren't we? Afraid to be together and afraid to be apart. But I was never afraid when I was with you--and I guess that's why I'm here now--I need you to help me be brave one last time. Spock wants me to marry him and that scares me to death.
"Silly, isn't it? I've known him for nearly forty years and he's the most gentle, caring man I've ever known. You know that--I don't have to tell you what a special person he is. Then why does the idea of becoming his wife terrify me?
"We've had some wonderful months together. He's the perfect match for me and we both know that now. So why am I sitting here talking to nobody when I have such a treasure back in San Francisco waiting for me to give him an answer?
"I guess I came because I want your blessing. Somehow I feel like I'm cheating on you--but you're the one who put us together. And yes, I know you're dead, but Spock died once too, remember? Somehow, death doesn't seem so permanent to me now.
"You and I were closer than most married couples. How many of my relationships crashed and burned because they couldn't stand comparison to you? Oh, most of them weren't bold enough to say it to my face, but Billington did, and still you came and picked up the pieces once again.
"Who can I turn to now? If Spock and I don't work out, who can I turn to when my life is a wreck? I always had you before. Now, I'm alone.
"Maybe that's a good thing, not you being gone, but me being alone. Maybe now I have to deal with life all on my own, the good and the bad. Maybe I've grown enough that I don't need a white knight to look after me anymore. But I miss him--I miss you--your smile and your strength. Those damn hazel eyes that could talk me into anything....
"I guess I came to tell you goodbye and ask you to wish us happiness. I guess I want to thank you for your love all these years and the chance at a life with someone who makes me deliriously happy. I'm lucky--I've had two great loves in my life.
"Goodbye, Jim. I'll always love you, but Spock is waiting for me at home right now and that's not something you can ever do again."
The wind gusts once more, making the leaves dance dervishly and tearing the clouds away from the setting moon. The rusted gate flies open, pushed by the unseen hand of Nature. Is it chance, the whim of the weather? I prefer to think that I just got the blessing I came all this way to receive. I smile at the stars--at you--and go home.