Once upon a time, many, many years ago, I had a very strange book. Or at least I thought it was very strange….in that cool “I don’t know what it’s about but it weirds out my parents, so I’m keeping it” way. It is called Help, Help, the Globolinks!
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to keep it back then. My mother was very adept at making certain books disappear. Of course, now that I’m older and know about the opera it was based on, I sort of understand why she did it. Not that I agree with her reasons, but I understand them. And fortunately I did just find it via Amazon and Google, and now it’s on my wishlist for anyone who might be interested!
But I’m still looking for a few other books from my childhood that I would love to have. And unlike the Globolinks, I don’t have a cool name or title to search for. But if anyone recognizes a story that sounds something like this summary, please let me know:
The main character is a lovebird, kept by an old man. He’s sad, wishing he had a friend. Then one day lovebirds from the moon come and he wants to go away with them, but the old man cages him out of fear of losing his friend. Eventually the bird gets away.
I wish I could remember more of it. I do know that it was because of this book that I fell deeply in love with the idea of someday having a pair of lovebirds. Never a solitary bird…
So, if you have a clue as to what this book was called, please… Please let me know.
And now another installment of that nameless story, continuing where we last left off (and again, if you have an idea for a title, don’t be shy! Tell me):
‘Mara took his mother’s expression to heart when she came back. He rose and fetched a shot glass for her.
Her part had been no harder in the long term, but it had been a lot for anyone to bear at once. The rest of them had been preparing for years.
His uncle looked up from pouring himself a glass of water. “He’s made his choice,” the man said succinctly, no inflection marring his voice.
His mother shrugged. “I suspect so.” She looked at the shot glass he offered her with raised brows, then accepted it. “Thank you, ‘Mara.”
He picked up the bottle and filled it for her before regaining his seat. He waited until she’d swallowed the drink and had shaken off the initial burn before asking her what had happened.
One brow rose this time. “You know better than to ask that, ‘Mara. What we said to each other is our business. Just accept that whatever choice your father’s made, he made it with a clearer conscience.”
‘Mara blinked, and barely heard his uncle’s satisfied “Good” for his own shock. “Whatever choice? You were supposed to stop–“
His mother paused in reaching over for the whiskey bottle. “I was supposed to help him resolve the problems between us, ‘Mara. Nothing more than that.”
“But…” He looked to his uncle in hopes the man would help him argue his case.
His uncle’s expression was bemused, but the man answered his unstated plea with a shake of his head. “‘Mara, it’s your father’s choice. I didn’t agree to come out here to talk your mother into forcing the man’s decision. I came because they needed to talk and…” The man paused to look to his mother wryly. “…to put it bluntly, if I hadn’t, the only thing they were likely to say to each other was a stream of curses and false consolations.”
His mother’s expression lost some of her amusement at that. “I’m saving that for tomorrow, ‘Listii. I may love the ass, but I still intend to make sure he knows I mean it when I call him an ass.”
His uncle shrugged. “Fine. What you say to each other is your business. As long as he can make his decision with a clear conscience, I’m content.”
‘Mara watched their exchange dumbfounded. Finally he managed to choke out “Are you both crazed? He could choose to die.”
His mother’s nod was subdued. “Yes, he may have.”
“And you want that, Mother? Uncle?”
They looked at each other, traded a sad smile then turned to him.
“Of course not,” she said quietly. “But part of loving someone is accepting that they have to do what is right for them, even if it is not what you may like. Your father has gone through a lot and tried to protect those he loves by bearing it all alone. He’s not young. He’s tired. And if he truly feels that he needs to Rest, I’d be a poor love if I couldn’t respect that.” She glanced to his uncle. “‘Listii?”
The man smiled to her, though there was no joy in his expression. “You said all that need to be said, Atyr.”
‘Mara looked from one to the other and cursed inwardly. They were right of course. He knew that. He didn’t have to like it.
Besides, although he wasn’t going to get angry this time–he’d accepted it years ago–it still hurt to think that his mother and uncle would console each other the way they would when his father did die.
Still, given the choice, he’d rather see his mother in Valistii Mirniia’s bed than that of Alanii Vestimiir.
He sighed. “Excuse me. I need to check on the progress of dinner.” He rose, giving his mother a quick peck on the cheek and left to think alone.
Atyr looked as her son left, watching the doorway for several moments after. She sighed and downed the shot.
“He’ll get over it, Atyr.”
She nodded blankly and started refilling the shot glass.
‘Listii pushed his water at her.
“You don’t need anymore right now, Atyr.” When she looked to his eyes, so much the mirrors of his brother’s, he nodded. “Later, if you want, we can raid the house bar. You don’t really want to get drunk yet.”
She would have preferred to argue her case. She didn’t. He was right. She set down the bottle after closing it and took the water. Halfway through the glass, she set it back down. Then she collapsed into the cushions.
The aftershock had finally come.
She sighed, although to her ears it sounded more like a moan, and mimicked Val’s perusal of the rafters.
She spared a glance sideways at his brother, covering him with an appraising gaze and putting his features over those of the man upstairs.
Were Val well, there’d be little difference.
‘Listii had cut his hair since she’d last visited. Now it was only a few inches long at its longest. Val still had a ponytail.
Both of them had kept the mustache. ‘Listii’d kept the imperial as well. Val had shaved his. Still, his stubble had been an almost identical salt and pepper pattern.
Fitness-wise, ‘Listii was in as good shape as she’d ever seen Val in.
He was watching her with an amused glint in his eyes. She smiled. It wasn’t worth the effort to feign embarrassment. They both knew better.
“Finally did something for your vision, I see,” he said quietly.
She blinked for a moment, then realized that he’d meant her glasses. She hadn’t had them when she’d last seen him. “Oh, well, yes. I had to. I normally wear surface lenses. I was wearing them when I last came here.” She shrugged. “I need something all the time now.”
His brow rose. “Oh. I hadn’t heard. Vision’s that bad?”
She removed the glasses and reached them over to him. A blur removed them from her fingers with a gentle tug. Moments later she felt them pressed back into her hand.
“Worse than I thought it was,” he said. She heard him shift in his chair.
“I wear surface lenses most of the time, but I wanted to rest my eyes.” She looked at him wryly. “I knew I’d be doing a lot of crying here.”
He gave a small grunt of either agreement or sympathy. “He’s chosen to stay, you know.”
She hadn’t. She’d expected as much given their parting exchange, but she hadn’t known for sure. “I’ll be going up to talk to him after prefast. I assume you’re coming also.”
“Not this time. You and he have a lot to catch up on.”
“He wants to know where you’re staying tonight.”
She blinked. She hadn’t though about it. “What are my choices?”
“‘Mara has a room prepared for you.”
She waited for him to continue. When he didn’t, she sat back up. “And?”
“You know. Are you going to Katsdaniis, or are you staying here?”
“He’d have done better to ask that before he made his choice,” she said dryly. She rose to find herself another water-glass on the liquor shelf. “I’m staying here, of course. Was there ever any doubt of it?”
He smiled. “Not in my mind.”
She snorted as she sat down and then poured her drink. “He worries about the wrong things.”
‘Listii nodded. “That he does. So where are you sleeping tonight?”
This time there was no question of what he’d really meant. She looked at him through narrowed lids. “I don’t yet. I have to talk with Val first.”
He glanced at the mantel and nodded. “If you need to talk with me after the two of you are done, my room is in the new wing, fifth door on the left. It’s time to prepare for the meal.”
She gave a murmur of agreement but made no move to follow him out. She needed to think.
He went the bath to wash down his face and hands. And to think.
She hadn’t changed much. He wasn’t sure he was happy or not about that. Something had to change or this would be another disaster to mirror the last one.
As much as he wanted to believe his brother was the finest man alive, he was too afraid that the man had become too hidebound and foolish for his own good.
Which left Atyr.
He paused before running the water to stare at his reflection. Did Val look so much worse?
She rarely seemed to notice their similarities, rarely seemed to notice more than the fact that he was Val’s brother.
She almost never spent time staring at him. And to stare as if she needed to dispel a horror….
He gave himself a small shake and turned on the faucet.
Again, I hope you went entertained and are enjoying the story so far. If you have any opinions of what you’d like to happen in this story, let me know. Since it really has been a series of exercises, I could be willing to test the waters (or continue to post the storyline(s) as I have them). This is a purely pleasure piece for me (and I hope you as well).