In The Distant Future
"Oh I see," Laura Roslin said, pretending to be thoughtful. "And is this your cat?" she asked, referring to an orange fur ball carefully drawn in between two stock figures. It looked nothing remotely like a cat but she knew that Timmy did have one at home.
"Yes," the small boy said proudly and beamed.
"Wow," she smiled. "It's pretty!" She gave the drawing back to the boy and proceeded to look at her other students' artworks. Afternoon naps were after that. Laura sighed-a contented sigh. Earth was quite different, she thought. It didn't have ships like the Galactica and the people here were oblivious to the fact that there were other planets out there that had living organisms-humans in their case. She loved where she was right now. She had her cabin, she had her students and she had her life. The small town life suited her just fine. It was quiet and cosy. And not to mention, the people there were extremely friendly. There were a few men-bachelors, she presumed-who had express interest in her in but she had always declined to accept their offers for dates.
Everyone knew her-Miss Laura, the pretty schoolteacher who happened to be single (meaning available), teaching at the kindergarten. It was quite amusing when the town's ladies decided to get to know Laura the moment she settled down (news spread fast in small towns) and appeared at her cabin with gifts like baskets of fruits and cakes. But they turned out to be quite good friends as Laura soon learned. However, their frequent nagging about her needing to find a man were sometimes tiresome.
Laura didn't need to find a man. She needed one particular man, William Adama, her Admiral, her Bill. He had said that he would find her. She had given him her address but not her phone number-she hadn't known what it was yet-but it had been a month and he still hadn't made an appearance. When the Earthlings (Laura heard that was what people here were called) had requested that Bill gave talks to explain when and what happened-the whole story-they'd suggested she go as well since she played a very important role. She'd refused, not wanting to do anymore. Selfish, she thought. But after what she went through, she definitely deserved to be selfish. She needed to be selfish.
She yearned for him. She dreamt of him. Perhaps what she thought they had before they found Earth was only in her mind-that he was only humouring her. Laura remembered the minute she stepped off the Galactica, onto this planet. The overwhelming feeling rush of relief was indescribable. However, there was one feeling she understood. She had her burdens lifted off her shoulders. It made her feel as though she could float up into the sky (a real sky this time) and that she was free.
Free to hold Bill's hand and kiss him.
Free to love him and tell him that she loved him.
Strange how that feeling was starting to wear out. They hadn't done anything while in space, not acting upon the feelings they both felt, of course causing them to be more aware of every single little contact they shared. Or could she have imagined it all?
It wounded her to think that he didn't actually feel the same. Perhaps her aver lonely, over imaginative mind had produced all that.
"All right, kids! Nap time!" she called out, surrounded by scrambling children shorter that the height of her hips. They each took places on the ready laid mattresses and fell asleep in no time. It was easy after naps. The kids would be well-rested and Laura would send them off when the parents came for them.
It was back to her cabin after that. Warm and cosy. Quiet. And she would start to think. It was too painful to realize that one was alone. Gods… (the people on Earth-most of them-had different religions and gods. The Gods she believed in were now merely myths and legends and she was too tired to play prophet) she missed Bill so much. She was starting to think that he wouldn't come. She shrugged the thought off. Bill would come soon, she hoped.
She made a hot mug of cocoa and curled up on the couch with a paperback she got from the local bookstore. It had been so long since she'd stepped foot into a proper bookstore-the ones with the strong papery smell-and she had lingered as long as possible. The owner of the bookstore was very friendly but not overly so, Janice-one of her new friends-had actually mentioned him before when they were discussing her "potential suitors". he had told her to call him Cliff, a shorter variation of Cliffton. She was surprised to find him quite roguishly handsome, not believing Janice at first when his name first came up. He was easy going and quite charming.
By now, her paperback novel had been half-read (she was a fast reader) and she was washing her mug when she heard a knock on the door. Drying her hands on the towel hanging on the wall, she went to open the door to find Janice standing outside.
"Oh hi! Come in," Laura said, ushering her friend inside. "do you want anything to drink?"
"No, thanks. I've come to tell you something. It's a surprise me and the girls came up with ."
Laura arched an eyebrow. "Really? What is it?"
"You're going out on a date," Janice announced solemnly.
"What?" No way, not a chance.
"Yes, you heard me. A date. You shouldn't be alone."
"No, Jan. I told you…"
"Just once. We've set you up with someone. And made reservations. You can't back out now. It would cost us money…" Janice said, smiling.
"Who is it?" Laura wanted to know first before she agreed to anything.
"Honey, you know Cliff from the bookstore…"
Cliff? No way. She liked him. She wasn't supposed to like him. "Yes, I know Cliff. And no, I won't go." Laura didn't want to go out on a date with someone she actually liked because if she did, she might wind up liking him more and that was something she would rather avoid. Bill might come back anytime. Anytime now, she told herself.
"Why? He's a very nice man."
"Then go. I'm sure it'll be fun. And he likes you," Janice said, feeling compelled to act another fact. "He told me that he wouldn't mind getting to know you more."
"I don't think it's a good idea."
"Who knows? You might like him a lot."
That's exactly why I don't want to go, Laura thought. "I don't have anything to wear," she said, lamely.
"Oh honey, you look good in anything." Janice remarked. "Just go this once and I promise you we won't make you go again, unless of course you want to…"
"All right," Laura said. "Just this once." She wondered if Bill would be mad at her if she told him about the date. "But I don't think I have anything suitable to wear."
"You can wear that nice skirt of yours. The white flowy one you always wear to work and that red top we got you last week. Red looks good on you."
Laura smiled. Bill did tell her that red looked good on her.
"The date is tomorrow. He's picking you up at seven thirty."
"He's picking me up?" Laura asked, sounding more panicked then she intended to.
"Well of course! He's perfectly safe. Just remember to call when it's over. I want to know every little detail. Or the next morning if you got to busy that night," Janice said not bothering to wipe off the smirk on her face.
"Jan!" Laura exclaimed, in mock horror, and swapped her friend's arm. The thought of another man in her bed was quite terrifying. Another man apart from Bill, not that she had actually been in bed with Bill. "Not on a first date!" She wished that Bill was here with her to enjoy the mountains and the people and the quiet of the small town life. She wondered if Bill was thinking of her.
He said he would come.
"We can have a go at it," he had said and held her hand. "Finally, we can do what we've always felt like doing."
"Like what?" she had asked him playfully.
"Like kissing you," he told her.
Laura was silent. He had said he wanted to kiss her. Bill wanted to kiss her.
They had never gotten the chance however, as their privacy was interrupted by the press. And he had left, leaving her to wait for him which she discovered was more torturous then any other feeling. It was true that they hadn't actually done anything physically but it didn't mean that they couldn't love each other. At least that was how she felt.
The date with cliff was pleasant-she couldn't remember the last time she was on a date. With Richard-never-and with Bill-it didn't really qualify as dates. They ate at Cliff's favourite place-the local diner-and had ice-cream at the one and only ice-cream parlour in town. Laura felt as though she was a teenager again (the diner and ice-cream parlour helped in this feeling) but without the worry of going home late. She invited him back to her cabin so they could talk when it got too cold outside. She asked if he wanted anything and they drank wine-a lot of wine-a move which she regretted immensely when she woke up the next morning with a pounding headache.
She sat up and immediately pulled the sheets in front of her when she realized that she was naked.
Knowing what she would find when she looked to her side, she didn't bother doing so. Instead, she went into the bathroom and submitted her body to a freezing cold shower, crying at the same time. This was her fault, she thought.
What would Bill think? She hated herself at the moment, more than ever.
To be continued…