T: Rog, thanks for granting us this interview. Kyra will be along in just a bit but I think we can get started.

R: No problem. Let’s do it.

T: If you would, start from your time in hospital.

R: Sure. My recovery proceeded much faster than anyone expected; and, I was able to convince John to release me a day early without telling anyone. I wanted to surprise Yul. They had flowers, which may seem like a strange thing to say, but in space, you don’t exactly come across them everyday and we hadn’t for some time. Yul loved flowers so I knew I had the perfect makings for a wonderful surprise.

T: Did you know at this time why Yul had acted so strange when she first came to visit you?

R: No frailing clue. I felt like such a blockhead because all the signals were there—that something was wrong—but I was so self-absorbed in my own good fortune I didn’t see it. I suppose Kyra is right. We do see the universe as if we were dead center and everything else revolves around us. Not exactly the best prescription for building a relationship is it.

T: I suppose not. So you got out a day early and no one knew.

R: Yep.

T: And you had flowers.

R: Yeah, I did. Very exotic. John said Cait grew them in their garden and that they were sure to make the impression I was after. I knew Yul was going to love’em. I was determined that whatever was bothering her I was going to fix, or, as I used to think, use my force of will to wash away. Much power in a smile, but sometimes . . .

T: Sometimes? Please continue.

R: Sometimes you need just a little more. And sometimes [Rog looked down], sometimes you just need a little luck. Hindsight, well, I’m getting ahead of myself.

T: So you were released early. What happened next?

R: I walked, no, actually I ran to my quarters, jumped in the shower and tried my best to scrub that hospital smell from my hide. You know, the one that reeks of stale linens and that strange metallic scent. So I scrub my skin red, jump out of the shower and as I’m standing in front of the mirror drying my hair I’ll be damned if that smell isn’t still there. No can do. Believe me, there would be no babies if we all smelled like that and besides, the last thing I wanted to remind Yul of was that moment in the room.

T: So, how did you get rid of it?

R: Look, if you are going to interrupt me every time I get started on this story, I’d just as soon stop now.

T: Sorry, please continue.

R: First time I met Yul I had used some homemade goat’s milk soap in the shower that morning—very strong scent that tends to stay with you all day. She loved it. Said it was pure Rog. Down-to-hyneria, strong and pure with a touch of raw integrity, whatever that meant, but she just loved the smell. I didn’t normally use it since it can overpower all other smells, not a good thing in tight quarters; believe me, in space, a strong smell can get old real fast. Besides, I didn’t want to interfere with the flowers, but, as they say, desperate times call for desperate measures. So, I jumped back into the shower.

T: I take it, it worked?

R: [Rog laughed] Yeah, it worked. Couldn’t smell the flowers anymore but what the hell, I was after bigger fish if you know what I mean. And failure, as they say, was not an option. Had a lot of confidence at that time in my life. Ignorance breeds it—or stupidity—take your choice. You know how they say everything happens for a reason?

T: Yes.

R: Well, drum that idea out of your head. Sometimes shiott happens and there ain’t no reason. And there ain’t nothing you can do about it either. That whole universe thing again. Truth doesn’t bargain nor suffer fools-kinda like Yul I suppose. My nut was a little tougher to crack. Dad always said I preferred the hard way. Can’t say he was wrong, although at the time I would have lived up to his argument.

T: Not sure I follow that last bit?

R: Maybe a couple shots of snoot will clear your head. Hey [Rog motions to my assistant], bring us some snoot or whatever you call that stuff. We’ll sort you out. Anyway, this is what you don’t know. The whole time I’m pimping in front of my mirror, Yul was sitting in front of hers too. You got that Jack? Ask Kyra about the difference a few seconds can make. Frailing vanity. Cost me a few minutes. Not much of a trade but then again hindsight is a cheap beotch turning her last trick of the night. How was I to know?

T: [Puzzled look]

R: Not your fault. I’m getting ahead of myself. All these memories exist for me as one thing, a single event, and I don’t normally separate them out into chronological order. So here we are, me getting ready for my surprise visit while at the same time Yul is sitting in front of her mirror. She is getting ready too. Of course, I had no idea.

T: Okay.

R: So I sneak down the hall and let myself into her quarters. Of course, I had the code for silent entry. Her quarters were dark, which at the time I thought was a little odd, but again, I wasn’t really thinking about anything other than my own agenda; was feeling quite proud of myself actually. I called out her name. No answer. I knew she was there—in her quarters that is. I saw a dim pale blue light coming from her private quarters, so I tip toed toward the bedroom. The light was coming from her bathroom. With the flowers held behind my back and the biggest grin I could muster I poked my head around the corner.

[Assistant shows up with snoot] Care to join me?

T: No thanks.

R: Suit yourself. [Rog knocks back his shot and mine and tells assistant to bring more] I wouldn’t normally drink during an interview but I think you’ll understand in a minute. Have you ever had a moment when you felt her heart was going to knock itself right through your chest and onto the floor?

T: Well . . .

R: Hold that thought. When I poked my head into the bathroom Yul was lying on the floor, a dark blue liquid dripped from the corner of her mouth and had formed a puddle on the floor around her cheek, which caught the flicker of the candles she had burning on the vanity. That dance of light was the only thing moving. [Rog stopped, starring straight at me]

A: Kyra has arrived. Should I bring her in?

T: [I looked at Rog] He nodded.

K: I hope I’m not interrupting.

R: Not at all. Your timing is right on, again. I was telling our friend I had just walked into the bathroom and found Yul on the floor.

K: I see. Please continue.

R: At that time in my life, I felt I had experienced quite a bit. When I saw Yul, unconscious, cold, on the floor, my knees buckled at the hands of fate and I knew—I knew in that instant, in a flash and I can’t emphasis that enough, the moment was quicker than the snap of my fingers, I knew that I knew nothing and I knew that my whole world, everything I thought I held dear, trusted was so, was slipping away. Hard to explain the moment, the feeling, the sensation. Your eyes see and your mind thinks but there is a disconnect between the two. All that you stand upon gives way and the emotional fall knows no bottom; and so you fall into the pitch of darkness for what seems like eternity. Part of you just wants to hit bottom and end the nightmare. But there is another part, arms wailing, that wants to grab hold of some imaginary branch. Your heart feels like it is in your ears, your stomach in your throat while your mouth lips words–but no sound comes out.

K: Was this the moment you commed me?

R: No, not yet. In what seemed like a lifetime but must have only been seconds I dropped the flowers, fell to my knees and immediately grabbed her head—my Janus, I had held her head a thousand times and it had never felt this leaden. The conversation is still as blurry in my mind as her face was in my tear streaked eyes and I wasn’t sure how much was directed toward Yul and how much toward Janus. She had no pulse. Her eyes were open, wet; and they seemed to be staring directly at me, kinda like one of those painting that no matter where you stand in the room the eyes always seem to be looking right at you. They looked like doll eyes, glassy and all I can remember is violently shaking my head back and forth.

My Janus, those eyes. Do you know what it is like to see those eyes, those eyes you have seen so many times, those eyes that animate your every waking moment, those eyes that have brought pleasure and delight in the sparkle of midnight stars. Do you know? Can you imagine seeing those eyes staring back at you now—lifeless, begging? They seem to say, where were you? Where were you when I needed you? And all you can think is what a frailing stupid idiot you were pimping in front of the mirror because that is where you were.

T: With all due respect, seems a little harsh to view your actions that way.

R: [Rog smiled] I had dropped the flowers on the floor when I saw her. After all the begging and pleading and swearing I pulled her limp head into my chest and cried for I don’t know how long. I think the goat’s milk scent interfered with my ability to smell, but when I pulled her head to mine and that viscous blue liquid rubbed against my skin, the burning sensation told me what I needed to know. And then I saw the vial, broken as my soul, upon that stone cold floor. That is when I commed K.

T: [Turning to Kyra] Where were you when the call came?

K: I was in my quarters standing in front of the window looking down at the planet and wondering how I had let John talk me out of accompanying his search and rescue team. Preoccupied, in my own world one could say. I knew I would only get in the way of their teams and that John was right, still, I felt I owned it to Mairi to be there when they found her. So, I was having a pity party and my mind was filled with the self-doubt that only the ego can manipulate.

T: What did Rog say when he commed?

K: He said, It’s Yul, it’s Yul. Please Janus, It’s Yul. What have you done baby. My Janus, what have you done? I commed that I was on my way. When I walked into that bathroom he had Yul’s limp body pulled tightly to his and the two of them were smeared in what appeared to be a purplish blue liquid. I knew instinctively the situation. Not good.

R: I don’t remember K arriving. One moment I was pulling Yul to me as if I could squeeze the poison from her pores if I just held her tight enough and then the next moment I felt K telling me to let go.

K: Actually, I told you to let go of her hands and to hold her head in your chest as if her very life depended on hearing the beat of your heart and to think of nothing else. Oh, and I think I told you to keep your mouth shut too if I recall correctly. You were mumbling like a baby.

R: Really?

K: Yes. Now, as I said before, shut up. I think he wants to hear the story from one who was there. [Kyra winked at Rog and Rog signaled for more snoot]

T: Kyra, the floor is all yours.

K: I held both of Yul’s hands in mine with my chest pressed up against Rog’s back as he held her head in his chest. All three of us are still on the floor. I closed my eyes and focused my heart. My mind filled with white light and I saw Yul and then Kieran. Yul spoke first and this is what happened:

[Yul]: I see the light. I feel the light. And you want me to go back to darkness? (laughter) Get the frail out of here.

[Kyra]: The light will be here—when it is your time.

[Yul]: And who are you to tell me when my time is?

[Kyra]: I have something to show you. (I showed her the scene back in the bathroom with Rog holding her head tightly to his chest, his eyelids shut so tight they appeared to be squeezing out the tears that were raining down upon her beautiful mane.) Our life is not ours alone. The way to light is love. This room is not the room, but rather an antechamber, a waypoint so to speak, the nexus between this world and the next one. If you decide to stay, I cannot promise that when we leave you will remain in light. Look again at the scene below and ask yourself: Did you bring love here with you or is that love crying out for you right now? Look Yul. Look at those hands holding your head so tightly to his chest. Can you hear the beat of his heart? Can you feel the energy of his love? Can you see the light in his soul shinning out for you? Look again. Tell me what you see?

[Kieran] Time is running short. You must decide. We cannot hold this chamber open much longer.

[Yul]: (She looked again. Kyra’s eyes were closed and her entire body seemed to be trembling with a slight glow, her hands locked on hers. Rog held her head and sobbed) I don’t know. I don’t know if I can go back to what is there. You don’t know everything.

[Kyra]: True, but I do know love and I know there are no guarantees on when or if you will ever find it. But I will say this, when you do find it, run, run like the wind and embrace it like Rog is embracing you right now. If you can’t see that, if you can’t feel the merging of his soul into yours, then I say try harder. Yul, listen to me. I can’t stay here much longer. I’m your ticket back. Come with me. Come with me now.

[Kieran]: Ask yourself where love is. If you believe you have it here, then stay. But if love is back in that room, then go to it. That is where you belong. Either way, you must decide now.

R: All I know is when she released the contents of her belly and that blue slime spewed all over me I thought I had squeezed the life out of her. And then she coughed and threw up some more and I could feel a pulse and her eyes blinked and looked at me in a way I don’t think I had ever seen before. All I could say was that I loved her and that is when she spoke these words: “I know.”

T: [Period of silence] Kyra, you said there was a note.

K: Yes, we found a note. She never asked about it and so we suspected she didn’t remember writing it.

T: Can you share what was in the note?

K: Perhaps another time. It doesn’t really fit with this part of the story.

Categories: Story, Rog, Yul, Kyra, Kieran, Earth, Interview