June 2, 2016

In Which Meera Hears the Hopelessness

August 4, 1200

"Comfortable?" Farilon, sensitive man that he was, had probably figured out that of all the adjectives that may apply to a thirty-one-year-old pregnant widow at any given point, 'comfortable' couldn't be fairly expected to be among them. But, if there was a more appropriate way of asking how a thirty-one-year-old pregnant widow was doing at any point, then not once in the weeks since Conant's death had Meera heard it.

"I'll be more comfortable once this baby's body is at least separate from mine, but that's a few too many months in the future for my taste."

"I don't know if December's that far away..."

"December is an eternity away, and don't try to tell me otherwise until you've carried two of your own to term." Though, given who her brother-in-law's wife was, it might have been better for his twins if that had somehow been the case. Not for the first time, she wondered if Danthia might have been why Farilon had been a constant collar since Conant had died--to convey what every one of his family members had probably thought at least once without actually saying it.

I wish it had been my wife instead of your husband.

"You're a good man. I hope you know how much your brother loved you."

Farilon nodded. "I know."

"And you and him both deserve better. He ought to have lived longer, and you ought to be living well."

"I don't... not live well, I suppose." The muttered words of a man who didn't believe himself. Meera's father often spoke in such a tone, but his voice was always pure self-pity; Farilon's was the sort of hopelessness that stirred in those who had come to see simple survival as the best they could dream of. "I mean, there are many who have it worse. Like you, right now."

"Like me." Meera sniffed. Obviously, she hated being a widow. She hated that Conant was dead, and she hated that their last child together would never know his or her father. But she'd seen her father widowed twice, and the last thing she wanted was to become... well, that. She would--even if it killed her--rise above it when the time to grieve had passed.

And if she ever found it in her to marry again, then at least she had the freedom to choose better than a male equivalent of Danthia.

"For now, maybe."



Van said...


S.B. said...

How discouraging and useless is hopelessness, but in this case predictable. I like Meera's attitude even though it's unusual and easy to take the wrong way. She can't really help Farilon. She can hope not to become what she despises, the back face of hopelessness is false hope, and I hope for her sake it's not. Maybe she doesn't have to remarry.

Van said...

Meera's experience with death has been pretty weird, since her father has been married so many times and always gets so dysfunctional whenever he has to be single for a while. She loves him... but she doesn't want to be him. If she does marry again, it won't be for the mere sake of being married. She's financially stable and she has no shortage of people who can help with her children, so there's no point in Meera remarrying if she doesn't find someone she actually wants to marry.

As for Farilon... well, Danthia may not like him, but she likes the title "Princess of Naroni" enough that a divorce is not going to be easy. He's pretty much stuck with her until one of them dies. :S