Title: The Story of the Seven Saras
Author: Klee Wyck
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Really. Just a minute. Nope. Nothing.
Summary: When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.
Usage: Greek, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Slovene, Polish, Arabic
Means "lady" or "princess."
1. The Nurse
He meets the first one before he's even drawn his first breath, before he has opened his eyes on the world that will both enthrall and horrify him in the years to come. She pushes firm, gentle fingers against his mother's heavily pregnant, straining belly, feels him kick and squirm and fight his way towards life. She holds his mother's hand and tells her to bear down.
"It's a boy," the doctor says finally, disinterestedly, looking away.
"It's a boy. He's perfect," the nurse says directly to her face and his mother closes her eyes and smiles in utter relief and utter exhaustion.
Much later the nurse brings him to her, swaddled, still. His mother takes him and thinks she's never loved anyone so much.
"Thank you," she signs. The nurse smiles.
"You did a wonderful job, Mrs. Grissom."
His mother reaches for her pen and paper on the small, bedside table, scribbles something, pushes it towards her. The nurse smiles again.
"You're welcome. My name is Sara."
2. The First Crush
She is blonde and blue-eyed with the faintest dusting of freckles across her nose. Golden ringlets that gloriously catch the mid-morning playground sun. Dresses, all different colours, a whirl and swirl of colours that remind him of the butterflies he chases in the meadow near his house.
Her name is Sara-Jane Kelleher. They are seven. Grissom is desperately in love.
He sits behind her all through Grade 2, memorizing the soft curve of her cheek when she turns, the perfect shape of her head, the way her hair falls below her shoulder blades, so that at night he can close his eyes and recreate it in exact detail.
"You're beautiful I love you," he whispers one morning as she passes by so closely to him he could reach out and touch her, if he dares. He does not, of course, but she even smells good. She turns her head as if she may have heard him, but it could have been the rustle of leaves or the wind, and she says nothing.
One day after school he catches her kissing Charlie Wiebe on the cheek by the jungle gym.
He never speaks to her again and he vows he will never allow himself to love anyone again.
3. The Teacher
Grade 12 and now a full-fledged ghost, gliding through high school corridors unnoticed, untaunted, unobserved except by the instructors who, at least some of them, consider him brilliant, destined for greatness.
The school librarian is pretty much his best friend, as he spends every spare minute in the quiet, hushed stacks of books, feverishly hunting down and reading everything he can get his hands on about, well, everything, but mostly biology, entomology, criminology.
"I think you've read this one already," Miss S. Blackwood smiles wryly as she eyes the tattered, worn copy of The Audubon Field Guide to North American Butterflies. Gil Grissom shrugs, embarrassed but pleased that she has noticed. No one notices much about him except how unnoticeable he is, and really, that suits him just fine.
"It's really…informative," he says, hands shoved in his pockets. Miss. S. Blackwood watches him for a moment, this odd, quiet boy on the verge of manhood and realizes this is his last year here, that he will leave and she will most likely never lay eyes on him again. Students came and went, it was the nature of her career, but this one. There is something different about this one. Smart, yes, but filled with an ache of loneliness she not only understands but shares, undeniably.
"I'll tell you what," she says suddenly, surprised by her own audacity. She pulls a stamp and ink pad out from under the desk, opens the book's cover, stamps down firmly in blue ink.
Grissom stares down in shock as she pushes the book to him.
"Really?" he says.
Miss S. Blackwood smiles. "Consider it an early graduation present."
4. The Conventioneer
The conference centre is filled with people he's never laid eyes on before and usually he likes it that way but for some reason this time, this time, he is craving one familiar face. Someone with brown hair and brown eyes, gap-toothed, inquisitive, intelligent, beautiful.
He shakes his head, oddly annoyed. What is going on with him, anyway?
If he didn't know himself better he'd think he was in love or something.
She has infiltrated his life to the point that he can hardly remember a time when she was not a part of it and this realization both thrills and horrifies him.
Tread lightly, move carefully. No attachments, protect the vital organs at all times.
He drinks more than he is used to, way more, if he's being honest and ends up in an elevator going I up /I with an attractive entomologist from North Dakota.
She kisses him. He doesn't kiss her back, much, but he also doesn't push her away, much.
She follows him down the hallway to his room, leans up against him. His back it pushed painfully against the door handle, but he doesn't get out his keys.
"Look—" he begins, attempting to focus.
She lays her head on his chest and he closes his eyes and for just a second lets himself imagine it's her and for her he would open the door, fall inside, fall into the great, wide beautiful unknown.
But it's not her.
"I have…an 8 a.m. conference," he says, pushing her away gently. She nods, bites her lip. She starts to move away, then draws herself up, smoothes her hair.
"My name's Sara, by the way," she says, extending her hand.
He takes it. He sighs.
Of course it is.
5. The Waitress
It's spelled with an "H" on the end, so maybe this one doesn't even really count, but he includes it anyway, because she is young and eager and serves him coffee with a smile and supplies refills without his asking.
She seems to know he needs them today.
Actually, he needs something much stronger, and lots of it, because he has watched his own Sara pinned down, a knife held to her throat and he's realized time is running out, as time tends to do. It's running out and he can't hold onto it, can't make it slow down and wait for him. It's not going to wait and she may really not wait for him, either.
It's this notion that, finally, more than anything, makes him weak in the knees, makes his heart thud dully with fear and terror and the inevitability of loss.
"You ready?" she says cheerily, watching him stare at the menu clutched in his hands.
He says nothing. She waits another beat, then starts to walk away.
"Sarah?" he says quietly, looking up finally.
She pauses, slightly alarmed by the look of complete fatigue and something else — desperation — etched on his face.
She smiles, encouraging.
"I've made up my mind."
6. The Soul Mate
He loves her because, really, there is only her and could only ever be only her. He has known this since he first locked eyes with her in the seminar hall so many years ago and she'd grinned and he'd found himself grinning back.
He can't get enough of her, now that he has her and she's both amazed and surprised by his passion, his inability to keep his hands off her, both at work and in their home.
He is consumed, and for the first time in his life he feels whole.
When she is taken from him he is blindsided by the cruelty of nature and the world and the people in it and wonders if time has really run out and this is The End, that there will be no more passion no more love no more of anything that makes sense.
It all becomes terribly senseless without her.
When she is returned to him and when she finally opens her eyes he can't say it fast enough, can't get her name out of his mouth quick enough because she is her name and he thought he'd never get another chance to say it to her again.
"Sara," he gasps and she looks at him. "Sara."
7. The Wife
"Sara, Sara, Sara," he says it over and over, making her smile openly.
"That's my name," she says, laughing. She feels giddy. She feels full of joy. She can't stop laughing.
"I know. I know," he kisses her face, her neck and is amazed that she kisses him back, is always amazed. "Sara. Sara."
He says it all at once, for the first time since the first time.
"You're beautiful I love you."
"I love you, too," she says. "And, you're adorable. And cute. And devastatingly handsome."
He kisses her again, and again.
"Will you marry me?"
She laughs again.
"I already did," she says, taking his hand. "Or don't you remember?"
"Sara?" he whispers before he falls asleep.
"You have a lovely name."