It’s only been a week into the new year and I’m already running. I ended the old year with a great blog about my newest friends and Number 1 being the closest thing to BEING the one. And now I’m running again. Now I’m panicking. And crying. And being so girlishly possessive it makes me sick. If there’s one thing I hate most, it’s crying…and being sick.
And it occurs to me that I’ve never written a blog about Number 1 and how we became…something—sorry, the term “relationship” just makes me queasy, but that’s what we became.
I was much safer in my little dream world with Luke Skywalker, fighting off bad guys, and making love with the Force. You know you’ve always wanted to!
In the Beginning (one-ish year ago)
So here I was, minding my own business, eating a Turkey Cobb sandwich on my dinner break, when someone decided to interrupt.
“Hey, so I hear you’re an actress,” he says. I look up and see Robert, or Bob, or whatever he went by. He was very tall, had black hair, and amber-colored eyes. Of course I wouldn’t notice his eyes until much later. Needless to say, I was instantly attracted to him. Like BAM-in-your-FACE into him.
He was the new guy. I had already introduced myself to him earlier as I normally do to newbies…
“Hey, who are you?” I said, as he busied himself at the beverage station.
“I’m (Robert or Bob or something),” he said. At the time I couldn’t remember his name exactly. I was too busy trying to look and act cool as my insides were bursting with fiery hormones that wanted to jump all over this poor innocent human male.
“Well, I’m Xanna,” I said. “Welcome to hell.” “Hell” being The Restaurant in this instance. And that was it. I sauntered away as usual, trying to recall his name, but all I could remember was his brilliant smile and surprisingly comforting eyes. Mine, was the only thing that went through my mind. I felt a little smile grow inside of me.
Creepy, isn’t it? When people fall for other people. If you think about it…it really is creepy. But sometimes cute and it just makes you wanna go awwwwwwww……
Anyhow, later that evening, he decided to sit next to me on my dinner break and ask me a whole lot of questions about being an actress, to which I responded with “I’m the starving kind” and surprised me with how much he knew about musicals and such.
I figured he must be gay in some way—which was just my luck because I was always either attracted to gay men or married men—but it turned out he wasn’t and that he was just a history major in college and had an obsession about knowing everything about everything. Don’t ask me why that made me think he wasn’t gay anymore—just did.
And then it happened. Mine flashed through my thoughts again. It had been a while since anyone had sparked that inside of me…come to think of it, never had. And now all I could think of was tall, dark haired man named Robert. Going to work was suddenly fun for the first time. I couldn’t wait to see him.
Sometimes while I worked at one of the computer stations, he would come over and work next to me and ask me more questions. I don’t remember what, but it sounded nice, and all I could think of was mine—mine and yum.
Then one day I invited him out with a group of friends from work. A group of us usual go out to Crown and Anchor, a local English pub, after work and try to forget how awful our jobs are.
“Thanks, but I’ve got my daughter tonight,” he said.
Sting in the chest! (Not a stab, those are much worse). I “inner-winced” and remembered when I dated a guy with a daughter. Yeah, Mr. Georgia. And…it didn’t work out too well. Which was a “heavy” bummer at the time. But hey! Why judge this guy the same way? And the way he said “I’ve got my daughter tonight” made me think, soooooo this guy’s gotta be divorced, right? Who says it that way when they’re married?
“Ah, so you’re married?” I asked, assuming he’d probably say something along the lines of “no, I’m divorced,” or “no, I’m widowed,” or “no, I adopted,” or “no, I had a child out of wedlock and I got to keep her, ha!” which would all be perfect answers to my hopeful little heart…or hormones…or whatever!
“Yes I am,” he said.
“Oh,” I smiled…I think… “Well, why would you say it like that? Why would you say, I’ve got my daughter tonight, as if you’re divorced or something.” Then I threw in a little sarcastic laugh like I was being cool or something. “So where’s your wife, then?”
“She’s got class tonight,” he said, still smiling that annoying patient, yet sweet and gentle and so very attractive, but untouchable smile.
“Ah, yes. Ah, well, that makes sense—yes. Well……………maybe next time.” And I turned my focus to the computer…very intently to the computer, all the while feeling my insides—AND hormones—freeze up and go cold. Of course he’s married. Of course…
Spit flew from my lips as I gasped for air. It was cold and the wind didn’t help. Other than a small top and thin leggings, the only thing coating me was sweat. I couldn’t breathe except from my mouth, and that, in of itself, was a struggle. I dodged to the left, clumsily landing on the rugged dirt path. Stones and rock tried to trip me, but I couldn’t slow down. I wouldn’t.
My younger brother was just up ahead, just above the steep hill in front of me. They were taking him. And they were going to kill him. The only person around to stop them was me. I heard him scream out my name. I called back with as much strength as I could spare. I came to the bottom of the hill and sprinted up. Digging my shoes into the soft dirt wasn’t enough. They were faster. I saw them drag my baby brother past the horizon and heard the shot. By the time I reached the top of the hill, they were gone and so was my brother. I returned home, defeated.
But tomorrow, they wouldn’t be so lucky.
This is how I motivated myself to run every day. Imagination is a whole-nother world for me. I had never been a runner up until 2012. My friend Pablo said to me one day, after long hours of lazing around, “Let’s go for a run.”
“I don’t run,” I said. “I’m terrible at it and it hurts my knees.” Excuses are always the way to go with Pablo, since he uses them so frequently it’s almost a second language for him.
“Aw come on!” he said.
Before I knew it, we were off, running up and down steep hills around my neighborhood. And that’s all it took. From then on, I started running every day (or night) and usually had an adventurous time with it too, hence my story above.
2012 happened to be quite an eventful year this time around. Just as I’d hoped. My last New Year’s blog was rather depressing, 2011 being rather a drag. I ended up spending New Year’s home alone watching Star Trek and writing my blog. I promised myself that 2012 would be different. That I’d go on more whims, make better friends, and fall in love, and, as per every year, somehow leave my serving job.
Well, folks, I did make all of it happen!
Getting More Agents
At the start of 2012, I added onto my resume another agent, Brady, Brannon, and Rich. They were to be my commercial agent. So instead of being only submitted for theater projects, I was finally able to go out on non-union commercial projects. I got lots of auditions, landed a few callbacks, but no bookings. Better than nothing, I think. It seemed as if my acting life was finally getting interesting. Let me tell you about commercial auditions….EASIEST THINGS EVER! In theater, you have to be prepared on multiple levels—monologues, 16-32 bar cut music, dancing, cold readings—but commercials? Man, it’s like you don’t have to do anything but show up and look the part!
This year I finally clicked with a group of people I like to call The Rejects. I found myself suddenly with a best friend, Pablo. It seemed after I spent New Year’s eve alone, 2012 decided I wouldn’t spend any more of them like that. So that’s how Tipsy Tuesday was formed. One night, I decided to show up at my work on half-off-wine Tuesday and have a bottle of wine. There I saw Pablo sitting by himself on the other side of the bar. I called him over and we immediately started a long conversation on Metroid and Star Wars. Then others would join in—not the conversation necessarily, but the wine-ing. Katie, Samantha, Stephanie, Justin, and many others would become apart of the tradition known as Tipsy Tuesday. We would start at work, then make our way to Sunset Terrace, a lounge/bar of the neighborhood, and play Shuffle Board, King’s Kup, you name it! It was awesome. And then, one fateful night, I decided to change the name of the game, waste myself on a bottle and a half of wine, plus three whiskey shots, take a dull knife and go at it to my leg again.
The Cutting Returns
I hadn’t had a cutting episode since 2009 when I was miserable living in Arizona, finishing up my bachelor’s degree. That episode was the start of Whimming Lessons and this blog, come to think of it.
Anyhow, during another Tipsy Tuesday night, I had removed myself from my friends to cut in solitude. The drunk part was not the reason to it either. Cutting is a very fascinating reaction to depression and buried emotions. Getting drunk was on purpose to see if it would deaden the pain. Cutting is the release of that pain, when the drunk part doesn’t work. It’s an embarrassing habit that I somehow stumbled upon during my “crazy days” in 2009. Now it remains in my memory as a type of “way out.” A stupid “way out,” but one none the less. I spent months afterwards trying to heal up my leg. It took longer this time than before and got infected. But it didn’t stop me again. Number 1 had to clean me up the second time.
This year was particularly interesting when concerning men. I had The Bartender, Blue Shirt, Mr. Big, and if there were any others, I hate to say I can’t remember them. Oh yeah! The Old Boss. Now, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t “getting some” with all these guys. I happen to be old fashioned in the way I handle my dating relations with men. Or more simply put: I don’t enjoy sex unless I FEEL something for that person. So I don’t have sex for the hell of it.
I’m quite sure The Bartender and The Old Boss weren’t too happy with me because of this.
The Old Boss was an older man I had been highly sexually attracted to for years. But I make it a point not to get involved with bosses. That is…until they aren’t my boss anymore. So, on a daring and very nerve-wracking whim, I made out with The Old Boss, narrowly escaping being lured into his bed. By that, I mean, it had been a while for me and, boy, were my hormones flying! But there was something quite disturbing about kissing my old boss. It was as if my brain was still in “employee mode” and all I could think of was “obeying” his orders…while he was kissing me….uck! I decided to get out of there as soon as I could. I call it the Boss Whim. Never need to whim that one again, that’s for sure!
Next was The Bartender from Bogie’s. I was totally into him! But he turned out exactly as everyone else said he would, a completely man whore…aka, “bartender.” Three dates were enough for me.
Then there was The Boy, Blue Shirt and Mr. Big both at the same time. These relationships happened at a strange time in my life. I was at a point where I thought relationships were annoying, troublesome, and a waste of my time. Dating was still fun though. But Blue Shirt reminded of someone I had lost a long time ago, someone I had loved. The Boy was a side of attraction and youth I’d never experienced. And Big was the best friend I thought I’d never have. So I had a very intimate relationship with them, trying to decide for myself if either of them would grow into something deeper.
And then it happened one day in my dressing room, fighting off a bad sinus cold, and getting ready for opening night of 1776. I had received flowers from Mr. Big and his eight year old daughter. There was a little note from her as well. My dressing roommate said to me that my eyes were so bright and my face was glowing. It was then I realized who I wanted. I named him Number 1 shortly after that.
The Starving Actor
Whenever anyone asked me what my profession was this year, I said, “Oh, I’m an actor…the starving kind.” But it really wasn’t all the bad. I had become apart of a sketch comedy group called The Movie Guys which kept me busy every month. Then I started doing little promotional events for Cabrillo Music Theatre, the first theater company I worked for since I moved out to California. During the summer, I ended up playing Marian Paroo in The Music Man and in the fall, Abigail Adams in 1776. That’s two leads in a row! I was beyond thrilled.
New Year’s Eve
As I’m sitting here writing this, my friends are laughing, eating and drinking in the kitchen outside my room. I can’t tell you how different this is. California is now home for me. I’ve never written a blog where my friends were yelling at me to get off the computer because we have to go whimming!!!
“Hey, let’s go, I’m starving,” Pablo just said, bursting into my room.
“I’m almost done,” I say, typing as quickly as I can.
2012 was awesome! Despite the cutting returning resulting in birth control being denied to me, and Prozac being apart of my life forever, this year was pretty epic. We went skinny-whimming on a private beach! I whimmed with an old boss! We created Tipsy Tuesdays! I got promoted at work. I have the bestest friends I could ever wish for. I got hired at Marmalade resulting in, hopefully, my ultimate exit from The Restaurant. I got to work with renowned director Nick DeGruccio. And I found Number 1, who is more than a friend, more than a boy, and definitely more than a boy-friend.
Okay, they’re bugging me to get off the computer now, so I have to go. I don’t even have any time to proofread or edit this, so it’s kinda wonky, I apologize. I wanted to put pictures even, but it seems I’m out of time.
2012 rocked, but I got a really good feeling three times a charm! So bring it, 2013!!! BRING IT!
Exactly a year ago, I was in rehearsals for Cabrillo Music Theatre’s production of Annie. I was playing Grace Farrell, my first lead in California. I got to work with Norman Large and Sally Struthers. It was one of the most memorable show experiences I had had at the time and felt so blessed to be apart of it!
Playing Grace Farrell led me to my first agent, Steven Dry, with Connor Ankrum & Associates. He started me out on my first run of auditions. The first one sucked. I completely screwed it up. It was my first audition where I actually knew that when I turned and exited through the door, I wanted to shoot myself and bury myself in a hole. It was stupid-dumb-bad. And to make matters worse for myself, it was the first audition I had that my agent scheduled me for. I wanted to cry.
I redeemed myself, not right away, but eventually. As the months passed, the auditions were few and far between. It was a slow season for the theater world. Equity houses were closing down without hope of reopening. Union actors were leaving the union just so they could get more work. It wasn’t looking good for California theater. It still isn’t…
Nonetheless, the shows must go on…I don’t know how, but they will.
A few months more went by and I finally signed with my first commercial agency, Brady Brannon and Rich. So I experienced my first round of commercial auditions and callbacks. Let me tell you!!! They are SOOOOO easy. You don’t have to prepare ANYTHING. Just show up and look right. Such a change compared to all my theater auditions, where you have to prepare 16-32 bars of an up-tempo and ballad, bring dance clothes, dance shoes, and whatever else they may want you to do.
I didn’t land a commercial yet, but had mostly callbacks, so I thought that wasn’t too shabby.
Around winter time, I had finally made a good group of awesome friends. I hadn’t really made any since I had moved; I got close to some, but didn’t find anyone I could trust yet. So I finally found some people I could love AND trust. At the same time, I also lost contact with my friend and ex The Terminator. The confusing relationship finally reached its end since I had moved out to California.
During this time, I had met William Shatner. I actually got to hang out with him ON SET, being apart of the crew. My life was complete at that point. If I had died the next day, I wouldn’t have cared. I also got asked out by four different crew guys that same day. Overwhelmed would definitely be the word for THAT.
For a while there, I wasn’t landing any shows. I was getting callbacks, but nothing after that. It was a serious dry spell. But a part of me was grateful for it. I had time for other things in my life that I normally wouldn’t have if I were in a show. The show-life takes up MOST of your time. Eventually, I was invited to audition for The Movie Guys, a comedy webisode about movies ‘n such. I got in and was able to become SAG-eligible, something I had been thinking pretty close to impossible considering I wasn’t really doing any union related stuff until then.
I was ecstatic that I had the ability to call up SAG and say, “I wanna sign up and pay my dues!” I couldn’t believe that doing New Media was a way in.
And then, just to mess with me, my “dark side” decided to come out and be a pain, and I started cutting again. I hadn’t sliced up my leg since I was in college, so it was a serious wake-up call when it happened again at 26 years old. I finally accepted the fact that I was born with something I had no control of. I wasn’t allowed to take any more birth control, according to the nurses, because of the severe depression I was feeling again. They took me off it, and then put me on Prozac again. I hadn’t been on it for a while, but after my bad cutting experience (taking a butter knife at work and going at it on my right leg), I decided it was best to stay on the Prozac indefinitely.
Once I accepted my “craziness,” (as I like to call it), I felt a sense of equilibrium. And, funny enough, things started making sense and being good again. I got cast in The Music Man, playing Marian Paroo, which was one of my dream roles. A friend of mine told me to audition, and I got it. It really is about WHO you know. I wouldn’t have known about the audition if my friend hadn’t told me about it. Needless to say, I was thrilled when I got the part.
From there, I got another lead in a show, Abigail Adams in Cabrillo Music Theatre’s production of 1776 the Musical. I COULDN’T believe it! I wanted to play her so badly, I was beyond shocked and thrilled that I actually got cast.
I began a working-out life style I thought I’d never have. I started Cardio Barre with my roommate. I started running, something I used to HATE all my life, and now love it! I FINALLY achieved my Victoria’s Secret stomach goal, which I had been wanting to reach since I was 14 years old. Took living with a stunt woman with rock-hard abs to actually push me.
And on top of all this, my romance life became interesting after nearly a year of zilch. Sure, I had been meeting people like The Bartender from Bogie’s, and the crew guys from Shatner’s shoot, but no one I actually felt like spending time with.
But then came Mr. Big (MY version, not Sex and the City’s version). And then Mr. Spock. And then Blue Shirt (aka, possibly Skywalker). All of which I have very unusual relationships with. Two of them are close friends, one of them closer in a more physical way, and the third is one I’m technically dating (as in a date once a week kinda thing). ALL wonderful!!!! I’ve become sort of a Queen Bee, giving my love to all my little worker bees…although I’m really not sure what I’m doing at all. In all honesty, at this time in my life, I admit I have a serious problem with monogamous relationships. But we all go through this at one point or another, right? I panic at the idea of being tied down to just one person right now. And not one guy in my life that I’ve been with seriously has deserved my loyalty, so why try to be loyal at all? I guess I’m answering myself with this one…the one who does deserve it will be the one to marry. WELL I’m not even CLOSE to that, so game on! Time to really live out my loving side. I might as well be a futuristic hippy.
Last night was a perfect ending to my 3 year anniversary with California: a whim on the beach that only happens in your dreams. I had a found a secret entrance to a private beach in Malibu, and a small group of friends and I ventured out into the dark of the night, stripped down to our skimpies and played in the ocean, all the while, of course, wondering if Jaws was laying in wait. It was the whim of the year!
And so the adventures continue! By the way, Cali, did I ever tell you that I love you? Well, I do. Happy 3 years and may the fourth one be ever in my favor!
There are people in this world that I cherish more than life itself. I would rather die before their own deaths because I know living without them would mean dying anyway.
Some people ask me why I don’t have a boyfriend or why I don’t just start dating someone. “You have so much love to give,” some say. Well, I do date, if you consider it as a verb. But I can’t even fathom the idea of committing myself to someone. Some children, when they dream up their future, see themselves with some type of family. I had never been that child. All my life, I pictured myself, in the end, alone. Sure I imagined I would have many great lovers, and wonderful friends, but there was never someone standing beside me on my great adventure. Sometimes I would even imagine myself as some sort of superhero and that I couldn’t possibly be involved with a mortal human being. Sometimes I would dream of my wedding day, dancing with the faceless man I knew to be the One, and suddenly blood splattering onto my white dress as a bullet penetrated his skull. Two things would happen: I would lay next to him cradling his head in my lap, my white dress soaking red, or I would go into a rage and hunt down the person who shot him.
I thought, as I grew older, this fantasy would dissolve. That, of course, I would have someone in my life to share everything I love. But the older I got, the more I realized the things I fantasized as a child were coming true…minus the superhero part, sadly enough. I have many lovers and care for each one, but panic when the thought of choosing just one enters my mind. That I would rather be alone than choose any. And that if I did choose, giving myself fully to that person, letting him come into my special World-of-All and sharing with him everything that is wonderful to me, I only see darkness following. The fear of him dying in my arms. The fear of him leaving me, disappearing from existence. All these fears are rooted inside me for reasons I can’t explain. All I know is that I haven’t changed since I was a child. The number of people I care this deeply about has grown by about less than a handful since then, but the strength of this emotion hasn’t changed. The people in my World-of-All know who they are. My Papa lives there now.
What is love to you? Am I alone in this?
I can’t express just a sense of love, but a commitment and loyalty that will last until I die. This is why I won’t give myself over to love until I know it is right. But I can promise you, that even if I don’t fall for you, my feelings will be deep enough to satisfy any loneliness you may be enduring. If you need someone, I will be there. Just call for me.
So many things can happen in one summer. If we could all remember every little detail we experience, maybe we would finally realize how exciting and interesting our lives really are. We all are living an adventure deserved to be written about. This is why I write. This is why I nag my grandmother, whom I call Mana, to write her story. This is why it saddens me that my grandfather, Papa, never wrote his before he passed away. And this is why I write about the people in my life, because they have an adventure deserved to be documented too.
This summer, I made friends. Good friends. The closely-knit kind I’d been wanting badly. Samantha, Pablo, Katie, Helena, Monique, and many more. They will always be apart of my life story.
This summer, I got to play Marian Paroo in the The Music Man. Of course, I got a horrendous chest cold during the callback. Somehow survived it, but was out from work the following days. Still got the part. Weird how that works. Anyhow, she was one of my dream roles. I grew up with The Music Man. My family grew up with it too. The musical felt more apart of me than usual. It felt like being home. During the run, I met some wonderful people that I’ll never forget. And, of course, I am madly in love with my opposite, Kristopher Kyer, who played Harold Hill. One of my favorite people ever, truly.
This summer, I got to be apart of The Movie Guys, a comedy group that previews and reviews movies every month. I specialize in the sci-fi stuff, of course. I love working with Paul Preston, Karen Volpe, Lee Kias, Adam Witt, and many others. I’ve met some very wonderfully funny and interesting people throughout the months.
This summer, I got to sing with the Prescott Pops Symphony orchestra once again, conducted by my father. A year ago, he wanted to book me to sing as one of his soloist, and I kept telling him I couldn’t commit because I didn’t know if I’d have a better gig by then. As the months passed, things worsened for my father at the Prescott college. He was disrespectfully, and without warning, fired through an email by the newest head of the music department at the college, reason being simply a difficulty in communication. And then other soloists were dropping out at the last second for the concert my father was putting on in July. I decided to commit to the concert, not only because I couldn’t abandon my dad, but because I wanted him to know he still had the respect and the support of other singers.
This summer, I developed an unexpected but fully embraced sense of love and support from my aunt and uncle who live in California. There was always love within my family members, but now I feel a sudden closeness to them that I only rarely feel for a handful of people. This feeling is hard for me to describe, but to put it simply, it is the feeling one might feel for their own child…they would kill for them, or die. I’ve felt this way about my parents and my Mana and Papa. There are just a few others I’ve had this feeling for, but now my aunt and uncle have joined this circle in my heart. Sometimes I laugh and brush this emotion off as a fault of my “artistic” side. But it’s there, nonetheless. Now my uncle is leaving for Afghanistan…I can only hope it’ll be boring.
This summer, I also met someone. The man with the blonde hair and the blue eyes. I caught a glimpse of him in the audience during my show. The blue shirt is what drew my attention. And I thought, “he’s cute.” Then I saw him again at dinner with a friend. Coincidence? I don’t know. But I thought it was cool. Because I remember details like that. Just like in a movie. And then he asked me out.
But that’s all I’m gonna say. This story deserves a separate blog.
There’s a little story in all of this, but I think the most important thing to understand is that this was a happy time. I want to remember it well. That’s why I’m writing it now. Because I know when there’s an up, there’s always another down. And the dark side of my brain likes to take over during those downs.
So I hope for the happy times like now to last a long time, and I write to keep it real.
There’s an adventure in all of us, so don’t take it for granted, and remember all the details down to the last blue shirt.
It’s nights like these when I am reminded of the phrase, “Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,” which is quickly followed by, “Try it” in my romantically cynical head.
Well I have. And I might be hotly in agreement with Men In Black’s Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones to those who have no idea what I’m referring to).
I thought at first that it was a miracle that I could ever feel the overwhelmingly wonderful emotion of “in love,” and I was surprisingly grateful. But now I take it back. It has made me lonelier than I thought possible. I am pickier than I thought imaginable. And I can’t go back to the way I was before.
I am stuck. Really stuck. And if there’s one thing I hate most, it’s being stuck.
So what do I do? I distract myself with unending work. When the unending work runs out, I distract myself with numerous friends, surrounding myself with as many companions as possible to hide the imminent isolation I would feel. That works for a good while, until my brain realizes the tricks I’m pulling on it and drags me back to reality again.
Then I distract myself with books. Books on top of books. Deep books filled with rich descriptions of worlds I will never smell, touch, or see.
I know what I’m doing. Because I am more than scared to admit that I am so human. More than scared to give my feelings a sense of reality. They, my feelings, scare me more than a demon or devil created in the Bible, more than the evil things that walk this earth, more than sharks and zombies that can eat people, and much more than death. It is they that I try so hard every day to smother into submission.
I bought a book on a friend’s request. Fifty Shades of Grey.I thought maybe the sexual nature of this book would give me the distraction I needed most: distracting the heavy, despairing loneliness which threatened to suffocate me. The book did nothing for me. And so I am left with my nights alone. Nights where my brain tries desperately to entertain me and keep me company with fantasies and pleasuring images. Dreams of seductive vampires, evil and beautiful, drawing me in with every last moment of my own breath. Dreams of the Phantom of the Opera, the true Phantom who sings to me, and hypnotizes me until I melt to his will, ‘til I succumb to his whim. Dreams of dominating men who demand my obedience simply through their tenderness.
I am craving. And it feels like I am tearing myself in two. Because I am not the type of girl to find companionship through a quick twenty-four hour time period. I am not interested in just a whimsical night with a stranger. It is my curse that I had experienced love once.
And thisis why I am on Agent K’s side. It is not better to have loved and lost. Because if you have, then you must be me, lying alone in your bed, hugging your cat, or your pillow, burying yourself beneath your covers, and hoping somewhere, someday, someone will be holding you again, wanting you again, and loving you without the losing.
Shatner: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship, Xanna D, her continuing mission to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no girl has gone before.
THAT’S RIGHT, KIDS! I FINALLY MET WILLIAM SHATNER!!!
And I pretty much nearly died from euphoria.
You all know I am the biggest science-fiction female freak in the entire universe. And if you don’t, then what the heck are you doing reading this blog? I write Star Wars books (that someday I hope to make into a television series), I write sci-fi reviews for movies, I read sci-fi novels, I play sci-fi video games, I have Star Wars posters all over my room, my movie collection consists of 99% sci-fi. Even now I am currently watching ALL the Star Trek series—EPISODES IN ORDER.
Now, I don’t wanna start up a war on who’s more sci-fi-nerdy than the other, but I just wanna prove that I am, indeed, OBSESSED with all things to do with space, truly the final frontier.
To this day I still want to be buried on the moon when I die, or be put in a capsule and shot into space. That would make all my dreams come true.
But, first things first. I met the man himself, Mr. William T. Shatner…sorry, I just had to throw in the T. Forgive me, Bill.
Let me just tell you, my life is officially complete. I can die tomorrow and by okay with it.
So let me tell you how it happened…
One day I posted my status on Facebook saying “I still can’t get over William Shatner…sexiest man ever!” Or something like that…
The next morning, I woke up to a Facebook message from a theater friend of mine saying, “You know Shatner’s going to be at my house filming in two weeks, right? Why don’t you come over and just hang out?”
I bolted out of bed and a slew of shocked profanity flew from my mouth. “Are you &*^@$#$&**&%*@ KIDDING ME?!?!”
Of course I said yes. But there was a little voice inside my head saying it’ll never happen, you want this too much. Anytime I really want something, it usually evades me. So I tried to forget about it. Then, a few days before the shoot, my friend contacted me again to remind me to come out. Yeah, sure, okay…
I wanted this so badly I could feel the bad karma finding me.
The day came for me to hang out during the shoot. Also, on that day, I had a scheduled audition later that night. I wondered ironically, How is it that everything happens on the same day?…
I went to my friend’s house around lunch break, ate delicious halibut, gourmet steamed veggies, mashed potatoes, and pineapple slaw, finishing it with Perrier Lemonade. I met most of the crew members, all of them extremely friendly and welcoming. But William Shatner was nowhere to be seen. He was having lunch privately in his room.
A few hours went by and I anxiously kept checking my phone’s time. I was cutting close to when I needed to leave for my audition. The location was two and a half hours away.
I finally came to terms with myself: when will you get another chance to meet William Shatner??? Probably never again. So I decided to sacrifice my audition for Mr. Shatner.
Many hours passed. I got to see Shatner shoot his scenes. I even caught him glancing at me sideways, which thrilled me to the bone. I smiled at him and he smiled back. He seemed like such a nice person, pleasant and good humored. He laughed with the filming crew and his voice was a deep bass, husky and sweet.
Finally, they wrapped at 5pm. I knew I had missed my opportunity to audition at this point, considering my scheduled time was 6:30pm…again, two and a half hours away.
But then I finally got to meet Mr. Shatner. Handsome, charming, gentle and polite, he was.
I got my first picture with him, in which I very much noticed how strong a grip he had around my waist. More thrills to my bone.
But when I checked my camera to see how it turned out, I noticed he blinked.
Oh no, I need another! I thought. I had to have a perfect picture. Who knew when I had another chance like this?
Finally I worked up the nerve to ask him again.
“Mr. Shatner?” I said meekly. “Is it okay if I have another picture of you?”
And he said, with his deep bassoon-like voice, “Well, it depends on with whom?”
And I said, “Well, with me.”
“Well then, get over here,” he said, smiling with arms wide open.
With that, I nearly died, falling into his arms and into the stars of the universe.
I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I was. I was beaming the rest of the day and more. I have had so much admiration and respect for this man. I’d seen things he’d done even before the Star Trek series aired, aka Thriller’s Grim Reaper, which is one of the most frightening episodes I’ve ever seen. This was mostly due to William Shatner’s performance, selling the horrific image of the Reaper purely through facial expression (you never got to see the actual Reaper) as Shatner went to his death.
After the picture was taken, I said, “It was truly a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Shatner. Really a pleasure.”
He smiled and said, “No, no. It was a pleasure for me.” Which, of course, made me blush as red as my jacket and I had to escape. So I nodded, smiled and walked away.
I said goodbye to the film crew that I had mingled with for hours, thanked my friend for inviting me out to enjoy the day with them, and made my way to my car.
“We’ll see you next week, right?” Shatner’s assistant called out to me.
I turned, startled. “What do you mean?”
“You’re coming back next week?” she repeated.
I looked at my friend, confused and not sure what to say. My friend nodded and smiled encouragingly.
“Is that allowed?” I asked finally, turning to the assistant.
She said, “Of course!” Then she leaned in closer, saying, “Trust me, all the guys here want to see you again,” and winked.
I was tempted to say, Does that include Bill?, but I knew better. The man was spoken for, of course.
In any case, being invited to hang out with the crew is a big enough thrill for me to not turn down. How could I say no? And besides, I’m a whimmer. And that’s what whimmers do.
And so begins another whimming adventure. In a galaxy far, far away…oh wait.
P.S. I DID make my audition later that night, only I was an hour and a half late. I decided to go anyway for the hell of it. I ended up getting a callback for Sweeney Todd.
The air was cold and cutting up here, ripping past my face and through my hair, tangling knots that I would never forget. Stirring up, lifting up, until I thought I couldn’t go any farther. But I didn’t stop. It was exhilarating and addicting. Every moment was filled with fear, but I never fell. The air was pure up here, tasting like ice crystals from a fresh fall of snow, and I inhaled it slowly so as not to freeze up my lungs. My skin prickled everywhere in the thrill of the speed. I pushed ever so slightly, pushing forward, going faster. I hovered horizontal, then shot vertical, and horizontal again, pulling farther and farther from the ground. You can’t have me, I said. I’m too far from you now.
“You’ll fly someday,” she said, “but not today.”
I vaguely remember her. She had long black silk hair, sharp features, wide black eyes, and was very tall. At least it seemed that way from a child of six years. She would wake me at six in the morning sometimes. This was not easy for a six year old girl who was born a night person.
“We’ll get donuts,” she said to me as I grumbled in bed. “And then we’ll walk to school.”
That did it. That always does it for a child. Sugar. Well, why the hell not! I’ll get up. I didn’t even hear the school part. She’d brush my long golden hair with slow and gentle strokes. She was always careful with me, as if she was afraid she’d snag a knot somewhere and force a cry of pain from me. Then we’d walk to the donut shop a few blocks away from home. The donut shop was through the tall green trees and across the busy street. I was never allowed to cross the street by myself. But Gretchen was with me. It was okay this time.
She held my hand tight as we crossed, her long fingers wrapped around my tiny hand. Her fingers, long and thin. I would look up at her, her hair flowing long and black and straight. She was always so pretty, I thought.
We walked into the donut shop and ordered a box of donuts, some cake, frosted, crème-filled, bearclaws, and my favorite, glazed rope twist. We sat down on a bench near a park by my school and she handed me my glazed rope twist. I finished it in seconds. I was about to reach in for another donut—I had my eye on the chocolate frosted one—but she held me back.
“These are for everyone else,” she said. “You have to share.”
I pulled my hand back silently. I was tempted to say that nobody else eats donuts, but I couldn’t help but feel a sense of guilt. I could have eaten the entire box, and the idea of sharing was so frustrating.
I looked up at my aunt. She didn’t have a donut. She never ate, not that I saw. She sat quietly, with one arm around my shoulders, staring across the park. The park was empty, which was something I rarely saw. Normally it was filled with kids running, playing tag, with bouncing backpacks on their backs. There was nobody out this early. This’ll be my first day not late for class, I thought vaguely. My father usually took me to school. I always got up too late and we always arrived too late…or barely on time. I’d always be the last to walk in.
Not this time! I thought happily. But it would be my last time.
“You know something?” Gretchen said, breaking the silence. I almost forgot she was next to me.
“What?” I responded.
“We are very special,” she said, but she didn’t look at me. “You know why?”
I shook my head no.
“We are flyers,” she said. “You fly sometimes.”
I opened my mouth to say something, to say how did you know?, but shut my mouth. I always felt like I could fly, and that I did sometimes, but never told anyone. How did my aunt know that I could? But she said she could too.
“I’ll be flying again soon,” she continued, still staring across the empty park. “But I won’t be coming back.”
“Where are you going?” I asked curiously, looking up at her. Her face was pale, always pale and colorless.
She didn’t answer. Her black eyes glazed over and I didn’t understand.
I followed her gaze, across the thick green grass, the soft brown dirt outlining a child’s baseball field, the silver metal swings, but saw nothing out of the ordinary. My aunt continued to stare, however.
“I want to fly there too,” I said absently, if for no other reason but that I didn’t know what to say.
“No,” she said, turning to look at me finally. But her body remained still and cold. Her arm around my shoulders never felt soft, but boney and hard. “You can’t go there. Not yet.”
“How come you’re going then?” I said.
“Because it’s my turn,” she said. “I don’t belong here. Neither do you, but that’s okay. I just can’t stay anymore. You’ll understand, someday.”
“But where are you going?” I pushed. I hated never having all the answers.
“Far away,” she said. “Just for a little while.” But that last comment seemed like an after thought, as if she was saying it just for me.
A blew out a puff of air in frustration. Bad enough I couldn’t eat another donut, but now my aunt wasn’t giving me straight answers. Adults always did that. And I hated it. I crossed my arms in defiance.
She laughed and pulled me close then. “It’s okay, hunny,” she said. “You’ll fly someday. But not today.”
Later, not long after, she died. Shot herself. At least that was what I had heard. A part of me imagined she wasn’t really dead, that she had flown off like she said she would, and that the body in the coffin was just her doppelganger or something.
She flew away to the other side, wherever that may be.
At six, I decided I’d try to follow. It was windy out, so that would help lift me, I thought. The trees’ branches swayed and brushed against the roof of the house. I stood on my bed, leaning out the open window. The wind, warmed by the summer sun, gently played with my long golden curls. My blue-green eyes widened in anticipation. I stepped out the window, my bare feet gripping the rubbery black-blue shingles, and jumped.
I didn’t need a running start, like I thought I would. I hovered a few inches above the roof of my house. I felt heavy, like the ground was trying to pull me back down, but I pushed away with my hands and lifted higher. I pushed again and again until I was a good distance above my house and the trees. I averted my gaze from the ground to the sky, overcast in grey-white clouds, as was typical of Chicago. The sun glowed brightly behind them.
That’s where I was heading. The sun. I pushed hard this time with my arms and flew straight up. The air instantly cooled around me, tugging at my hair, clothes, stinging my eyes as I flew faster. I was aware that I had stopped breathing and couldn’t catch my breath as I continued farther up. I didn’t care. I didn’t need to breathe. I had the air lifting me instead. I pushed through the clouds. Cold moisture immediately layered my body, prickling my skin. The clouds slowed my progress, so I pushed even harder until I broke through the grey and into the bright gold light of the sun’s rays.
Warmth engulfed my body, drying my wet skin and hair. The air was barely a whisper up here just a few feet above the roiling clouds. I stared at the sun.
“You can’t come here,” she said. “Go back.”
“But I can fly there and fly back,” I said.
“No,” her voice echoed from somewhere all around. “It’s not your turn.”
“But I don’t belong here either!” I shouted to the sky. “I want to leave and go where you are!”
“It’s not your turn. Not today.”
“I can’t stay here! I can’t stand it! I’ll fly far, I will!” My feet brushed the tops of the clouds as I said this, briefly catching moisture on my toes. That’s when I realized I was sinking. The pull was strong on my ankles, and then it reached my knees and soon I was waist deep in the grey clouds.
“No! Don’t take it from me,” I cried helplessly, trying to push away from the deep of the clouds, flailing as I was falling through. “I want to go too, I want to go too!”
“You’ll fly someday…but not today…”
And I dropped. I fell backwards, watching the sun vanish behind the roiling grey-white clouds, watching as the puffy moisture swirled as I cut a path through its travels, watching as I broke through only to see a darkening layer of rain cloud forming above me. I reached out as if to grab a hand, but there was nothing there to grab. I continued my fall, my hair clinging and whipping my face as if it were desperately trying to reach out to the sky as well. The air was colder now, cutting through me like icicles. And then I finally landed, flat on my back, in the cushion of green grass. I laid motionless for what felt like forever.
Then a little droplet of water fell into my eye, strangely warm and soothing. I blinked it away and propped myself on my elbows. I was in the park near my school. And it was starting to rain.
But I didn’t care. My wings were gone.
The rain came hard then, soaking my gold hair to dark, sticking my clothes to my skin. And I sat there in the green-brown grass, letting the rain flood my eyes, staring up into the sky, waiting for the day when I could fly again. Someday.
I was sixteen years old and I was standing on Endor’s fourth moon, surrounded by the dark jungle of giant trees, smelling the damp earth rise from beneath my shoes, and the warm air, still and clingy, engulfing me as I watched Luke finish building the fire pit. He didn’t want help when I offered.
In the distance, I could hear the Ewok and Rebel Alliance celebration: singing, cheering, the clanging of instruments.
I was still in my shimmery red gown, smelling of burnt skin and silk. My flesh felt like it was pulled so tightly over my frame that if I dared to move, it would split and spill my insides out.
Luke didn’t seem to notice his similar injuries. He had finished the fire grave and was levitating his father’s body on top. And then he lit it with a torch. Fire enveloped the wood and soon Darth Vader’s body, the terror of the galaxy, his ashes floating up into the sky.
Luke stood watching in solemn silence. I moved to stand next to him. He didn’t seem to notice me there. I felt his sadness, but beneath it was a sense of hope. It was finally over. And he hadn’t failed. He saved the only father he’d ever known to have, even if their reconciliation lasted for only a few minutes. There was hope still, for him, Leia, Han, and the Alliance. Where they would go from here, who knew?
“I’ll be leaving soon after the celebration,” I said quietly. I had decided my time in this universe had ended. But Luke wouldn’t know that. He would only think I was to disappear somewhere in his galaxy. It didn’t matter what he thought, after all. My adventure—my experience—was over. I had learned what it was like to be outside my world and that I couldn’t change the things to come.
“I’m sorry—“ but that’s all I could make out. What I was going to say sounded stupid and pointless. He won’t care that I tricked him into thinking I was someone else (and I really was someone else anyhow) because he wouldn’t remember me after I left.
I looked at him, his melancholy profile shadowed in firelight. He didn’t look back. This was as close as I’d ever be. And he hated me. I didn’t sense it, so to speak, but I might as well have guessed it.
Without another word, I turned and left Luke alone in the red-orange firelight and returned to the Ewok village. I wanted to feel what the others felt (joy, love, real happiness) before I left.
The celebration was wild and jumping. The bearlike Ewoks singing in a language I could not understand, but it felt like victory words. Leia, Han, the Wookie Chewbacca, and Lando Calrissian all gathered in a tight circle, laughing, embracing. Wedge Antilles and the other Rogue Squadron pilots stood off to another side, clapping each other’s backs, playfully pushing each other around. They paid no attention to the girl in the red dress, obviously overdressed and sticking out like a warning beacon in the midst of browns, greens and greys. They didn’t care. The battle was won. But the Empire wasn’t beaten yet. It still had control of the capitol planet, Coruscant, and it was the Alliance’s job to overtake it. That would happen on another day, though.
Tonight, they drank, ate, and cheered each other and their survival.
I stood off to the side, watching in wonderment. R2-D2, the silver and blue astromech droid, bumped into my leg. I glanced down and smiled. R2 tweeted and cooed at me, and remained at my side.
“Luke!” I heard Han call out.
And there he was, smiling and embracing his sister Leia, coming in for another by Han Solo. Everyone gathered around Luke, relief flooding through those who hadn’t known if Luke had survived the destruction or not.
It was time, I thought. I turned away, but then in front of me, flickering into view were the soft white-blue silhouettes of Ben Kenobi, Yoda, and then, finally, Anakin Skywalker. They were looking right at me, smiling. I thought they wouldn’t have recognized me, but somehow they knew who I was.
Then I noticed Luke standing directly beside me. I hadn’t even realized it until he turned to smile at me. All the hurt was gone. He seemed more at peace now.
“Where will you be going?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” I said, although I knew exactly where I was going. “Somewhere away from all of this. To start a new life, I suppose. The Empire will think their only other rightful heir was also killed in the destruction of the Death Star. The Moffs will be fighting for power. It’ll be the perfect time for me to disappear.”
Luke nodded slowly, then said, “You could stay here, with the Alliance. They could use someone with your knowledge. It will definitely help the tide of the war.”
I shook my head no. “I’m not sure if that would be a good idea. If I were discovered alive…well, let’s just say the Moffs won’t stop to try to kill me and anyone near me.”
Luke then turned me to face him, his blue eyes full of sincerity and confidence. “You are now exactly how I met you. Alone, your family killed. If you stay with us, you’ll have somewhere to be. You can start again. Think about it, Christalee. And if you still don’t think it’s a good idea, you can always leave any time you want.”
I wanted to stay, more than anything. Looking into his ocean-blue eyes, I felt suddenly like I belonged, that this was where I was meant to be…maybe…possibly. I smiled and Luke embraced me in a warm hug.
“Come on,” he said brightly, “I’ll introduce you to Leia and Han.”
I decided to try it for a couple of days, to see how long I could stay in this universe. Days turned to weeks, weeks turned to months, and before I knew it, I was apart of a culture I only ever dreamed of. Luke and I had agreed to keep my identity as the Imperial Princess a secret, even to Leia and Han. I became a Rogue Squadron leader, fighting alongside Wedge Antilles, helping break through the security defenses of Corsucant and fighting the Empire into a little corner of the galaxy. This took years, of course, and before I knew it, I was in my late twenties. I had helped bring up the New Republic after the Empire had been finally beaten. I became Leia’s personal aide and guard when she became Chief of State. When I wasn’t with Leia, I was with Luke, helping him create the Jedi Academy. There were many times when I tried to leave, or when I thought it was a “good idea” to leave. Luke and I would have an argument about his decisions. I would tell him not to do something, or not to trust somebody, and he would fight with me on my reasons. Those reasons being because I couldn’t give him one. I couldn’t tell him how I knew certain things were to happen because I would give away my real identity: which was that I didn’t belong there.
I knew bits and pieces of the future, but it didn’t help. I would save Luke’s life in extremely impossible situations, and he’d wonder how I did it. It pained me that I couldn’t let him know who I really was, or how I was able to seem invincible. And I wondered on that too, how I was able to have nearly unlimited power. The longer I stayed in Skywalker’s world, the more powerful and knowledgeable I became. I slowly began to forget home, becoming fully integrated into this other world.
Before long I was in my thirties. Luke and I had become very close friends, but there was something else. There was romance somewhere, but we both buried it far below. I knew Luke was afraid to let anything more happen between us because of his bad luck with women (every romantic relationship he’d ever had either ended up in betrayal of the worst kind: assassination attempts, death, or mysterious disappearances). I was afraid because I knew I’d have to leave someday.
Luke and I were two of a handful of Jedi Masters at this point, with an academy going strong. Leia and Han had been married and had three children who attended the academy. I was still involved in the political affairs of the New Republic, splitting my time between the Jedi Academy and the capitol. Lando wanted to sweep me off my feet, much to Luke’s annoyance, and I let him take me out on a few wild space nights. Nothing that amounted to anything but a good friendship in the end.
By the time I was in my late thirties almost forties, I had resigned as a personal aide, left the academy temporarily to embark on some “legal” smuggling missions with Mara Jade and Talon Karrde. A year flew by and I had been out of touch with Luke, Leia, and Han. Then a rescue mission forced Luke and I back together. That was when we had decided to forget about our inhibitions (that made no sense anyhow!) and allow ourselves to grow into more than just “close friends.” This rescue mission had me nearly drowning in cave of water when Luke openly cried out, “I love you.”
I found it to be perfect timing.
In all this time, I had been kidnapped, tortured, stabbed, brainwashed, seduced, shot, enslaved, hunted, and exiled.
And in all this, I had fallen in love.
Then the Yuuzhan Vong came, an alien race from another galaxy that existed outside of the Force, and they nearly wiped out our civilization, changing our planets to adapt to their lifestyle. The darkest years of our lives painfully crept by. Every day knowing you survived was a day to be grateful. But then you feared to sleep. Leia lost her youngest son to the Vong. Chewbacca was also lost. Jacen, Leia’s oldest son, and I were captured during a near-fail mission to eradicate one of the Vong’s most brutal weapons to the Jedi: acid spitting wolf-like creatures undetectable by the Force. Jacen was tortured, but after a year, he escaped. I was tortured as well, and became the plaything for the fleet commander Warmaster Tsavong Lah. He was fascinated by the Jedi and the “magic” we could wield. So he kept me as a pet on a leash. I eventually escaped, stabbing the warmaster straight through the heart with his own amphistaff.
Through the years of fighting for our lives, our homes, our planets, Luke and I had a child: a boy we named Ben. I couldn’t believe it! I had a little boy with little blue eyes and a little nose and a little mouth, little feet, hands, toes and fingers.
I never felt anything like it. The feeling of overwhelming love. The connection I felt with him through the Force was unimaginable. He was mychild. Every day was a wonder—and a nightmare, because the war hadn’t ended yet. An animalistic side in me grew when I fought against the Vong. I wanted to wipe them out, one by one, so that my baby could grow up in a safer place. I refused to lose my child the way Leia lost hers.
Suddenly the tides had turned, and we finally had the upper hand. After finding a solution between our two peoples, that solution being a living planet called Zonama Sekot, which seemed to be a portion of their homeworld, a wary peace finally spread across the galaxy.
Sitting across from my child playing in our apartment on Ossus, the new home for the Jedi Academy, I watched him attempt to levitate a ball off the floor. He was barely two years old. It reminded me of when I was two years, sitting next to my cousin, fighting over a doll she thought best to pull away from me. My mother surprising both of us. I froze, thinking I was in trouble for “not sharing.” But then my mother pulled out a camera and flashed us with a bright light. Just a picture. She only wanted a picture. So I’m not in trouble after all—
Mother?What mother? I was grown in a tube. —No you weren’t, you were grown in a womb.
I sat, watching my son lift the ball successfully into the air, smiling and giggling as he let it bounce back to the floor.
“I could never do that at two,” I said to Ben, smiling. Ben looked over to me, a wide smile spreading across his face, a few baby teeth glistening in the pale yellow sunlight which flooded the room from the large viewport.
“Momma!” he burst, then crawled towards where his ball rolled away to.
Of course you couldn’t at two because there is no such thing as the Force where you’re from.
I frowned. Where am I from? Coruscant. No. Corellia. No!
I was forty-six years old, with a two year-old child, and—No you’re not! You are not forty-six. Forty-four? No. Forty? No!
Well then WHAT AM I ???
I sat in silence. Ben was staring at me, a tiny little crease indenting his forehead. His big blue eyes showed worry. I gasped in air suddenly, realizing I had not been breathing for a handful amount of seconds, and tears began to burn my eyes. I’m not from here.
“Ben—“ But I stopped, my throat closing in on me. I already knew what needed to be done. I had stayed too long, far too long. I took Ben into my arms, pressing him tightly against my chest, and rushed to a neighboring apartment, one where Ben had spent many nights when Luke and I were away on missions.
Corran Horn’s son, Valin answered the door. Valin was a Jedi Knight. I told him I had to find Master Skywalker quickly and that it was very important. Ben’s little fingers gripped my shirt-blouse and wrapped into my long golden blonde hair. When I tried to place Ben in Valin’s arms, he pulled a part of me with him.
“Mommy,” he called out. He could sense my despair and knew something was wrong. His tiny fingers reached out for me. Valin held Ben tightly, but was becoming worried himself. Valin must have been only thirteen or fourteen.
OR MAYBE SIXTEEN!!!
“No!” I barked. And I realized I made Valin jump away, scaring Ben too. “I’m sorry, Valin. I’m sorry, Ben. It’ll be okay,” I said. My eyes began to burn again. “Valin, I want you to contact Mara Jade quickly. Tell her that—“ My throat closed again. I swallowed a couple of times until it cleared somewhat. “Tell her that I need her to watch over my son.”
I turned away as fast as I could before the look on Ben’s desperate, round face changed my mind. I had to go home. I felt something was wrong there. I had to get back to my family, to my life that I once knew, but couldn’t seem to remember too well.
You don’t belong here. You never have…
I kept going, even as I heard Ben crying for me to come back, and made my way to my ship, the Starfire. From there I sent Luke an urgent message with coordinates for a meeting place.
When I finally arrived on the Sanctuary Moon of Endor, I landed my ship in a field clearing. Exiting the Starfire, I walked up to a hill that looked over into a valley of forest. The breeze was cooler for Endor this time of year. I could still hear the distant tribal hunting calls of the Ewok, the smaller, more subtle clicks of the insects, and the rustle of leaves and creaking tree trunks as the wind played gently through them.
“You know I can feel your panic from thousands of kilometers away,” Luke said from behind me. “’Urgent’ message is rather redundant, don’t you think?”
I smiled. He was nervous. He knew I was thinking of doing something. I could barely hide anything from him these days—these years!
“Where are you going, Christalee?” he said. He was now directly behind me. I could feel his warmth radiate off of him. And I was going to have to give this up?
I turned slowly to look at him, his deep blue eyes accented by subtle creases of age, his mouth bent into a soft smile, but there was tension behind it.
“You know how you’ve always wanted to know how I know things?” I started. “Things that I knew would happen and did happen. And I said to you that I couldn’t tell you. It used to drive you crazy.”
“Yes,” he nodded, still smiling. “I remember. And I decided to stop pressing you about it because I figured eventually you would tell me.” He pulled me in close, wrapping his arms around my waist. “Is this that time?”
I looked up into his eyes, my throat constricting on me again. I swallowed hard, my face hardening as I did so.
Luke’s smile melted away. But his body stayed calm, no twitching of nervous muscles, and he kept a solid grip around my waist.
“Yes,” I barely made out. I cleared my throat again. “Yes, this is that time.”
Luke stayed silent.
“I am not who you think I am,” I continued, and as I spoke, I slowly slipped from Luke’s embrace. “I wasn’t supposed to be here this long.”
Luke kept quiet, but I could see the multitude of questions forming on his face.
“The night we met on Endor was supposed to be it,” I said. “But I stayed because I wanted to know what it was like to be a part of this—your—world. The longer I stayed, the harder it was to leave. I fell in love with this place. And I fell in love with you. And it seemed as if everything was okay here, that I was allowed to be here. I forgot about where I came from and the life that I had had. I made a life with you. With Leia and Han. Chewie and Lando. I didn’t want to let it go.
“But the longer I stayed here, the more my world fell away. My world is in danger now and I have to go back. I have to help save it.”
Luke was dumbfounded. “I don’t understand,” he said. “What world? What danger? Let me come with you to help you—“
“No, that’s the thing, you can’t,” I said, and a sudden serenity fell over me, even as I saw the panic grow in Luke’s deep blue eyes. “Where I’m going, you can’t follow. Our two universes can never meet.
“Let me show you who I really am.” I took a step back and a white-gold shimmer haloed around my body. My face, lined with the same age as Luke’s, dissolved into my younger self, and the jumpsuit I wore was replaced by jeans and a simple t-shirt. Then I pointed towards an empty spot on the hill. White light shot from my fingers and opened up a portal. Inside the portal was, at first, black with stars, then, rising into view, my home planet.
Luke stood in completely awe, watching a blue and green planet merge into view on the other side of the portal.
“This is where I’m from,” I said, wistfully watching as the image moved past the planet’s atmosphere, through thick white clouds, racing over the blue-black oceans, reaching city-scape, forests, rolling dunes, deserts, mountains, and then—
“My home,” I said, as a medium-sized house flew into view. “I’m from Earth.” I turned to Luke.
He stood there, unable to move, a deeply sad understanding sinking onto his visage.
“And I can’t come with you,” he said, and it wasn’t a question.
I shook my head no. “It’s too far away from here,” I said. “Luke, I never belonged in your universe. I have to go back and save my world.”
“Don’t do it,” he said suddenly, moving forward ever so slightly, as if afraid one more step would make me run. “Don’t leave us. You can’t.”
I went to him, wrapping my arms around his neck, knowing that this was it, that this was my last chance to feel this, before it all went away.
“Luke, when I leave…” my voice trailed off. I cleared my throat. “After I leave, you won’t remember this.”
“No, you can’t—“
“You won’t remember anything and all will be as it should be,” I said firmly. “The way it was meant to be. But I will always love you. Know that.” I choked and my eyes burned so hotly that I couldn’t stop the tears this time.
“You and Ben will always feel loved,” I continued brokenly, “even if you don’t know where it’s coming from.”
“Don’t…” And then I kissed him before he could try to say anymore. I knew this was my last chance, my last kiss, my last moment to feel this way, before reality sucked me into the portal. It was beyond anything I could imagine, this feeling. Kidnapped, tortured, stabbed, brainwashed, seduced, shot, enslaved, hunted, exiled, and loved.
And loved back.
I broke the connection. I stepped towards the portal. My home was in there. The sun was shining bright in both worlds. The wind picked up, a burst of pine rode with it, and it was even cooler this time in my Earthling t-shirt. I looked back at Luke one last time before stepping through. Clad, still, in all black, his lightsaber dangling at his side, his brown hair ruffled by the wind, and his blue eyes glittering brightly in the sunlight.
“Christanna,” he said. How did he know my real name? “Will you remember?”
I smiled. “I’ll remember everything.” I stepped through the portal.
I was back.
I was nineteen years old. I stood standing in the gravel outside my parents’ house. Time had passed by, but not a lot. The sun beat hotly on my skin and I felt a trickle of sweat trail down my spine.
“Mom? Dad?” I called out. No one was home yet. That was usual. I wondered if they even knew I was gone. That I went to the stars and back.
I looked behind me where the portal had been. There was no trace of it. As if it never happened. But I remembered everything.
Sweat built up on my brow, I made myself move towards my parents’ house and go inside—shut the door—waited for them to come home—and never looked back.