May 29, 2016

In Which Dora Fears the Lying Mind

June 7, 1200

"That cat seems to like you," Thetis's voice sounded from the couch, her having apparently returned from putting the tea set away. "She doesn't usually like new people. Or even most familiar people, really."

This sweet animal? Thetis may have been the one who lived with her--but Dora didn't quite believe it. Thetis must not have seen the way she'd allowed Ceidrid to grab at her tail, swat at her nose. An ill-tempered cat wouldn't have had much patience for a toddler's antics. "She must like you."

"She tolerates me. She and Florian are the bane of each other's existence." The older woman chuckled to herself as Dora returned to her own seat, Roux trailing after her skirts all the while. "Maybe she'd be happier living with you and Ceidrid and Adonis."

Dora glanced down at the cat, now perched by her ankles, starting up at her with love in her eyes. "Are... are you seriously offering?"

"Why not? She obviously adores you, and she seems to find Ceidrid much more agreeable than the other children around here." Thetis shot one of those warm, motherly smiles down to where Ceidrid played on the floor, but a sudden melancholy sigh eased the curve of her lips. "Really, I don't doubt that Florian would have given her away years ago if she hadn't been Teodrin's cat."

"Oh." Dora stiffened. She'd been an acquaintance of the Tumekrins long enough to know who Teodrin was, but she'd never asked about the details. She wasn't sure she wanted to know, for all the family must have ached for any hint of closure. The circumstances of such an event couldn't have possibly been pleasant. "I'm sorry."

"It's quite all right. Roux misses Teodrin too; maybe it will be easier for both her and us if we can miss him separately."

Dora turned to her own son, busy by the hearth with Thetis's children's old toys and his own imagination. If--God forbid--Ceidrid ever vanished, she failed to see how any cat or lack of cat would have done a thing to console her. "Maybe..."

"And she'll never really know, the poor thing--not being able to read or speak or understand language. At least we can hold out hope for a letter, some story somewhere, anything.

"Though, it's been long enough that I suppose it's foolish to really believe it's coming."

Dora swallowed. None of the Tumekrins liked to talk about Teodrin much, though Alina had once described him with loving exasperation as a 'mama's boy', and Severin had muttered something about his little brother being scarcely able to walk to the market alone, never mind run away. How had such a gentle, timid young man suddenly up and left? And without so much as a note for his poor, worried mother?

Or what if he was like her? What if something had happened to him, something had made him forget his own mother? For him to remember bits and pieces of some other mother, some woman who didn't exist, just enough inconsistent details to know his own mind was lying?

And what if--somewhere--her own mother ached for her too?

"I... uh, we can talk about something else, if you'd like."



Van said...

So in today's edition of "Van's Body Does Annoying and Inconvenient Shit That Is Nonetheless Not Serious Enough to Be Deemed an Actual Problem", I'm about 90% sure my left foot is developing a bunion.


Ekho said...

Poor Teodora, I have to wonder if she did know the truth would she wish she didn't, if that makes sense.. I don't think her family would have any real issue with her transformation, I mean they already know he wasn't happy - that's why he left right?
Either way, it's painful enough to read knowing the truth.
Oh don't get me started on your body misbehaving. I haven't been sick all year then the day before a job interview I get a tsunami of illnesses all at once. Bloody typical.

Van said...

That possibility was exactly why Dora opted for the new set of memories in the first place. :S

At this point, I think all Thetis and Florian really want is to know she's okay. The details don't really matter any more (and for Thetis, at least, they probably never would have).

Bah! Figures. Illnesses have the worst timing. Why can't they show up when we need to get out of things? XD

S.B. said...

I've always wondered about closure, particularly if the answer is bad. It would be wonderful to know if she was okay.

And cats are a great comfort, as are dogs. Mine keep me sane.

Van said...

Yeah... without closure, you can always imagine a happy ending, but you can't move on. With closure, when the result is undesirable, you know for a fact that the worst happened--but, you can eventually move on. It's a trade-off.

Good closure, of course, is always... well, good.

Cats and dogs are both very comforting! I don't have any of my own--I don't really have the right energy or emotional capacity to give a pet the life it deserves--but hanging out with other people's animals is always a stress reliever.