There are times when it hits me. Times when I'll be sitting there, and suddenly all I can think about is why. Not your typical philosophical and theoretical why but something different. Not the "why am I here" type of question (the one that religious and spiritual individuals have struggled and fought over for years.) No, it's the "why am I still on this journey? Why not just stop? Why keep going forward?" I guess, in a way, it is still the "why am I here" question, but for me it's different.
I'm a scientist; the world to me is centered around science. I can tell you all about why we are here. The various stages of evolution, from the start of the universe until this moment. I could tell you about the various compounds and structures that permit your body to take shape, to exist, to function within this universe. It's who I am; it's what I do, how I see the world. I'm a scientist.
I've never been one to ask why. I have always found the logical, scientific answer, and stuck with it. To that end, I know the answer. I could tell you exactly what led to me being here, right now, in this moment. Still, I can't tell you why. At least not the non-scientific side of the debate. It's the science side that draws my attention, pulls me in, and holds on until something eventually lets it go.
Normally, that something is you. I could spend hours on end contemplating the why and then you walk in and it no longer matters. Your face could be contorted in anger, sorrow, misery, elation … it doesn't matter. The moment you enter, the questions cease. I have my answer and the day continues, until the next time I find myself once more with those questions. Once more, you'll come in, and once more they cease. A never-ending cycle.
I'm a curious person by nature; it's an innate quality of my being. Yet, this side of things has never held my attention. Not until you came along. My curiosity took hold rather early with you, almost the very second we met. So, I indulged, wanted to understand the scientific side of things, and you indulged me. I didn't understand, not at the time, the significance behind what you were doing. Don't get me wrong, I know you to be a private person, but that tiny fact, the one about me being the only one you ever shared it with, didn't register. At least it didn't register as important.
Not until later, later I realized what you had done. You played up to my curiosity. Indulged my need to analyze and understand your spirituality. Let me see things you've shared with no one else, (I had that confirmed too, out of curiosity of course.) Later, much later, when I set aside an item, my fingers caressing and stroking it, I realized what had happened. Realized that by showing that side of you, that intimate part of your spirituality, you taught me how to do the same. I set aside item after item until, like you, I had my own personal, intimate, bundle.
Over the years I've learned to trust that side of you. Just as you learned to trust the side of me that pushed for answers. We drew strength from each other. I learned not to question, with help, and you learned that it can be okay to seek the answers. I don't know when, or how, or even why -another one to ask-, but you've become my center. You are my spirituality.
You are my heart, my mind, my body, my soul - or spirit if you may. I want to tell you all this now. How no matter what is going on the moment you are near everything is so much clearer. You are my reason for being, my reason for existence. It's because of that reason that my center has finally found steady ground and I want to tell you that. Need to tell you that … but I can't.
The words form within the confines of my mind but do not emerge. Strangled, garbled sounds leave me but the words I seek to impart to you fail. I can hear you, hear your voice echoing in the cave pleading, begging for me to hang on. Voice rising as you call back to the others, begging them to hurry up. Muffled voices replying, you're pleading to go faster. I want to tell you. The words don't form. I need to tell you.
I'm dying, I know that. This isn't going to be one of those last minute rescues we are used to. Not going to be a close call and a "be more careful" lecture. No, I'm dying and oddly enough I feel no pain. I can't remember if my near death experiences of the past involve any pain or not. All I know is that I want to tell you. Tell you that you are my center. My heart, my soul. You are the reason I am here, now, in this cavern because I refuse to give up when I still have you.
I want to tell you. The words form within my mind. Take shape, take up images, and yet they do not emerge from my mouth. Repeatedly, I try to move my jaw and repeatedly, only garbled sounds come out. I am dying. You look at me and I can tell you know. With what strength I have I force my eyes to lock with yours. I need to tell you, I must. Somehow, some way, I must, and so, with as much strength as I can muster, I reach up for your face. Fingers tremble at your jawline and start to fall.
As always, you understand, you know, and gently clasp my fingers within your own. Raise them up to rest against the side of your face. I manage to stroke my thumb, brush at the stray tear you haven't kept at bay. A half smile, those ones that always get that wide beaming look on your face, settles on my face. Letting my eyes drift shut I let your voice envelope me. Guide me, that smile remaining as you speak.
Soothing, calming. The center holding me up, even now, as you tell me stories and legends. Repeating the old and telling me new. I can see the images you paint within my minds eyes and it brings a tear down my face. As I picture the raven haired, blue eyed children running around in a large field, dogs following behind and weaving between them, horses in the background, you reach forward to stroke my face. Your touch is gentle, a caress, as you brush at the tears and continues to tell me your tale. Promising that one day, I will see you off in the distance on the main road walking up to the house you have created for us.
I manage to open my eyes and gaze at you as you tell me how you will join me, one day, and on that day we will have eternity together. I'm dying; my eyes slip shut and I know it's happened. Your voice fades away as my senses die out. It's not long before I realize that I can watch you now, you are pulling my body closer, cradling it against your chest. You could have moved away, separated yourself, but you haven't, you won't. Instead, you hold me and cradle me to your chest and continue to tell stories to nothing. I wonder for a moment if you believe my spirit lingers, you would probably be right. I can't find a scientific reason for why I know what is happening at this point.
I want to sooth you, comfort you, as you had me. So I move over, sit behind you, wrap my arms around you and press my cheek against your shoulder. Whisper into your ear all that I had wanted to tell you in these final few moments. Tell you how much you meant to me, how much I treasured you. That you are my center, my heart, my soul. I want to tell you that you are right, spirits do exist. That I'll wait for you, at that house you crafted in your minds eyes and shared with me now. That I'll be on the porch when you appear and I'll run to you.
I could go, I know that, but I don't. I stay with you as you hold me tight to your heart. As the blocked passage opens, enough for the late officers to emerge. I watch as you refuse to let anyone else take me from your arms. Personally carrying my limp body from the caved in area, through the large passage, and out to the transport sight. Watch as various crew members reach forth before pulling their hands back startled, horrified, by the sight. People comforting each other and yet I can't tear myself from your side.
I watch as you carry me not to sickbay, insisting dead or alive I wouldn't want to be there, but to my own quarters, something I whole heartedly support. You settle me down on the bed before disappearing for a moment. Returning with materials to hand bathe me and I'm touched by what I witness. Your respect, devotion, refusing to assign this task to another, as you tend my lifeless body. Every inch of me is cleansed before you select the green dress, the one I know you secretly like, and dress me. The entire time you talk, whisper about the first time you saw it. The first time you noticed just how curious I could really get about things.
I smile, or at least whatever I am smiles, as I recall the teasing jabs that day. The painful goodbye that followed. You sit with me and whisper words I can't hear, can't understand and I know that it's a ritual from your tribe. You aren't saying goodbye, can't bring yourself to do that, and I'm not sure how I know that but I do. I want to tell you, all that I know and feel and I can't. Instead, I watch.
Watch as the chime comes and you lift my body, carry me out, refusing help once more. The crew has lined the corridors, a procession of officers from my quarters to sickbay and I'm touched. Touched at the respect toward me and support toward you. I can't make out your words, not really, but there is an understanding. I know you are telling them how touched I'd be, how much they meant to me, and that they are saying goodbye not just to HER but to ME. If I could cry I would, maybe I am. Would you be surprised to know I'm trying to figure this out, the science behind what is happening to me?
I want to tell you. Tell you how honored I am that you decided to keep my body in stasis. Tell you how much I know this must be hurting you but you are the only one I'd want doing this. Carrying me down to sickbay, the flowers upon my body from the crew still present, and placing me in stasis. I want to tell you but I can't. My words don't register, at least I know they don't but I suspect you know. You've always known, it's me who hasn't. I want to tell you how sorry I am about that.
Instead, I stay. I could leave, could go and wait as I promised, but I can't. Not yet. I wait with you for the decades to come. I am with you as you carry my body preserved by the stasis unit with the bundle of flowers off the ship. Watch as the gathered press falters at the site of you with the crew following, heads bowed down. Mourning still and I am touched, flattered, and pained to see it. I stay as you approach my mother later, body secured with my sister in another stasis field for burial. Watch as you envelope her in your arms, whisper words to her I know are soothing. I watch as you help lower my body into the ground, refusing assistance to finish the task once everyone took a handful of dirt and dropped it upon my specially made casket.
I am with you as you place each shovel upon me. As you set and mount the metallic plate to rest in the ground above me. As you leave once more to go to my mother. As you share with my family all you knew of me, all our days together. Another hug, a gentle kiss, and then you return, and I know. I know you've come to finally say goodbye, but it's not really goodbye. I watch you lower yourself to the ground, place your hands upon the metal, and whisper your final words. As your eyes close I finally go and find myself upon the porch you so beautifully described decades ago.
When I turn you aren't there. Not yet, but I know you are dying. You have died. I want to tell you. Tell you everything and nothing all at the same time. As you appear along the road leading up to the house I move forward. I watch as you turn around and I bound off the porch at a run. Beaming, crossing through the fields to get to you as fast as possible. You look startled and I want to laugh with joy. I can tell you now.