Silence reverberated in my ears as I waited for a response.
“I’m dying.” he said in an almost nonchalant way.
“What?” I scoffed. “You just told me you’re an alien. That your cells deteriorate slower! that I will be “ninety and still look thirty” I said throwing his words back at him mockingly. “You’ve been gone all my life, then you come back, tell me you’re an alien, and that you’re dying?! If this is some ploy to get sympathy from a son you never loved you are just plain sick.”
He had moved over to a bookshelf and pulled a book from the shelf. It was bound burgandy leather. From the little I could see from my distance it looked very worn from obvious use. He spoke to me while rubbing the cover nostalgically.
“How old do you think I am? 40? 50?” he paused for a moment and sighed.
“I am 273 years old son.” He said making eye contact with me. I started to speak but he cut me off.
“I’ve been doing this a long time. I was a mere 75 when I first planted my feet on earth. I was on a mission to meet with your world’s most influential individuals. I was negotiating trade from Terra to Earth of goods that would immensely help your species. Ever noticed the leaps and bounds in science and technology in the past few decades? So much of that is due to missions like mine that brought about the Terra/Earth coalition. I knew my mission was important.I knew it would change lives on Earth and Terra as well. I knew. But none of that seemed to matter very much once I met Kaylee.”
I had been listening. Really I had. But at the sound of my mothers name my interest was much more obvious. He was nodding to himself, obviously adrift in memories.
“It was the night after my first meeting at the United Nations. I was driving back to my hotel from the airport when my car blew a gasket. Yes, I of course knew how to fix it. I was strictly undercover though. So instead of whipping out instruments from Terra I knew could fix it, I called a tow truck. “Sure we’ll be right there” said a masculine voice. I sat on the curb attempting to seem normal until I saw the blue tow truck pulling up. “Serenity” the sign on the tow truck door said. I was expecting some burly mechanic with tobacco dip in his jaw. Instead what I got was a young woman. I immediately got to my feet when she lifted my hood but she raised a hand and smiled. She couldn’t have looked at my engine for more than 30 seconds. Didn’t even touch it. Still, after briefly looking at it she said “Capissen huh? Mighty cheap engine that. I’ve always said two things. Don’t pay anybody in advance. And don’t ride in anything with a Capissen 38 engine, they fall right out of the sky. ” she laughed and from that moment on, I knew. I loved that woman. She gave me a tow and fixed my car within 20 minutes. I insisted on taking her to dinner, and from that point on….we became inseparable. I loved her very much. We had been together 8 months when the order for me to return came in. They had of course gotten wind of my relationship. It was against protocol. I tried to resign; swearing on life and limb she nor I would ever breathe word of it. But I was naive. If I had stayed there would be questions too hard to answer. My lack of aging being only one of many. They said our relationship had become a threat to the mission, and that if I stayed, they would forcibly remove me and silence Kaylee…permanently. So I did the only thing I could do. Even though it broke my heart, I ended it with her. I had to make her think that I didn’t love her. To keep her from trying to change my mind. It was a terrible end to a beautiful thing, and even so, your mother swore never to reveal my secret. It wasn’t until I returned to earth 10 years later that I found out about you. I had betrayed my better judgement and went to visit Kaylee. I saw you guys on the beach. You may not remember this but you met me. Not as your father, of course. Your mother introduced me as a friend from college. She explained she had found out she was pregnant a month after I left. Of course she had no way to reach me. We talked for days during my mission on how to proceed, but eventually i decided you were better off without me. Given the fact my superiors had already threatened your mother, what would they say about me fathering a child? So I left. But you’re wrong about one thing son. I have always loved you.
He walked over to me and placed the book he’d been looking at in my hands. On the cover was a picture of my mother and me as a child. It was a photo album. Filled cover to cover with pictures of us. I couldn’t help but feel the sting of tears trying to escape as my emotions got the best of me.
“So to answer your question as to why you’re here. Yes. I am dying. No, you’re not here out of some desperate attempt for pity. You’re here because I finally got the balls to clear it with the coalition. They know who you are to me. I’m sorry it took so long. I know I don’t deserve a second chance but I honestly thought you deserved the truth about why I was never there. I wanted to try to get to know you if you’d allow me to. Also, I’ll be needing a replacement”
Project Chain Reaction is a blogging experiment of sorts started by a dear friend of mine. Herself, as well as two others and me, take turns writing chapters in a story to see how we can challenge each others and make a true work of literary art so to speak. You can read the complete story thus far as follows:
Part 1: You’ve Got Mail by J
Part 2: Mysterious Message by Cam
Part 3: Up, Up, Up by Eric
Part 4: Within The Hour by Cara (Me)
Part 5: The Moira Galaxy by J
Part 6: MIA-2X1 by Eric
Part 7: History Lesson by Cam
These are all the parts to our wonderful story! You should all check out their other stuff as well because they are really all amazing literary artist.