At sunrise I climbed the newly refinished maple stairs in bare feet, delicately balancing in front of me a steaming mug, full to the brim, of Spock’s favorite tea, the spicy scent of the tea mingling with the aroma of polyurethane. The stairs creaked slightly, in an old comforting way. I could hear Spock’s movements as he unpacked boxes, wrapping paper crisply tearing, removing objects, mementos of his life, our life together.
The crow’s nest was already well lit; four walls of windows and a large skylight saw to that. Spock’s eyes were already trained on me as I emerged from the stairwell. “Morning,” I croaked, my first word of the day.
“Good morning, Jim.” He straightened from the box that he was currently emptying.
I strode across the room and handed him the mug of hot tea.
I roamed about the room taking in the view that I don’t think I’d get enough of anytime soon.
Spock took a sip of his tea and strode over to the window seat where he sat, perching on one hip, body turned to view the sun rise over the horizon. I shifted my gaze to him, and watched him, feeling an immense sense of satisfaction from watching him revel in his surroundings.
I’d bought this house for Spock because of this room, this crow’s nest that overlooked the San Francisco Bay. The house was the highest point in the neighborhood and sat astride an exposed stone outcrop. On a clear day we would be able to see our old condo down in China Basin, which now seemed a world away.
This room we were in was Spock’s and Spock’s alone; I had insisted on it. It was a place for him to get away from the world - his haven to meditate, read, listen to his music, do yoga – whatever he wished. I respected and appreciated his innate introversion and didn’t take it personally that he needed time and space from which to escape all things, including me.
I liked that the previous owner had referred to the room as a ‘crow’s nest’ and thought how apt the descriptor applied to Spock – although he was more of a raven than a crow – bright, dignified and graceful. Spock was bird-like, now that I really thought about it. His long thin fingers, the face so strongly defined by prominent bone –
“What is it?” he asked while still gazing out at the glowing sunrise. He had sensed my intense gaze on him.
Looking at the boxes tidily placed throughout the room, stacked where they would soon be unpacked, wadded paper from previously-emptied boxes stuffed into the vacated ones, I said “I was just thinking that you look like a raven, Love, here in your nest.”
He turned then, quirking one corner of his mouth in a casual quasi-smile. But he could only spare the second, his gaze inexorably pulled back to the sun’s bright glow. He moved to cup the mug in both hands, warming himself. The tiniest prick of love stabbed at my heart at the gesture. No use to resisting the impulse.
I purposefully strode across the room, bent, and kissed the back of his neck, just below the hairline. His skin was so warm there. I couldn’t resist kissing him once more, this time just behind his left ear, as I loosely wrapped my arms around his neck, careful of the mug. Spock squeezed my right wrist with his free hand, sending me a wave of love and reassurance. “I thought I’d cook tonight,” he murmured. “What would you like?”
We stayed like that for a few seconds more before I released him. “See you later,” I said.
I went back downstairs to get ready for work.
Now that we had moved farther away, I was too far away from the office to walk to work so I now took the shuttle. That shuttle now carried me, and two dozen other citizens, down the hill into the heart of the city.
In this part of town it was mostly civilians, which is another reason why I bought the house. It was nice to separate from Starfleet at the end of the day. Our condo on China Basin always felt like an extended part of campus, it was that close to the Academy and HQ. But our current home on Bradford Lane was separate from all that. The entire neighborhood, including our home, was nestled in a two hundred year old forest of mature trees, our crow’s nest rising above the canopy of trees to peer into the city and bay below.
I let my mind wander as the shuttle proceeded, enjoying the last lingering moments of my time off.
We had just moved on Saturday, so last night was only our second night in our new surroundings. We timed the move to coincide with Spock’s semester break. Classes were off for the next three weeks, thereby giving him the extra time to set up our new household. Just barely, though.
He still had his full time job as head of Computer Science in addition to independent course study for his next PhD, which he anticipated completing in half the time as most candidates. The fact was that his Starfleet career with its deep space missions had put Spock behind the rest of his peers in terms of both academic credentials and independent research and Spock felt compelled to not only catch up but to exceed his peers; I’d never realized how competitive my husband was, although he wouldn’t call it that. He cannot stand not being at the front of the pack, I’ll tell you that much – call it what you will.
I smiled to myself as the last few years of life flashed before my eyes. Everything was so much changed and it was good. No. More than good. It was great once we had gotten past the era I now thought of as The Great Upheaval – that time when I had the Enterprise taken from me, thanks to the machinations of a number of people, including Spock, and was mad at the world, mad at him. I’d taken my bitter pain out on him – punished him, made him hurt as I was hurt. As I always did when thinking back to those times, I inwardly cringed.
That time when Spock was on the psych ward…I rephrased the thought to hold myself accountable-because he hadn’t somehow just casually ended up there-when I put Spock on the psych ward, that was the worst time of my life. He had had a psychotic break and I was the agent of that trauma. I did that to him. What I had done was unforgiveable but even so, Spock had forgiven me, to my profound relief. But thanks to his eidetic memory, he’d never forget and could recall the time as though it had happened yesterday, and I couldn’t ever pretend otherwise. I had to live with that. And because of it I have dedicated my life to counterbalancing that with expressions of my most profound devotion.
I bent over backwards to serve him – to deliver to him whatever he desired. It was the first time in my life I’d put anyone but me first and it has been the most satisfying thing I have ever experienced. I was fine without the Enterprise in my life. It was Spock that I needed, that I craved, that I could not do without.
This summer we celebrated our five-year wedding anniversary and I had taken him to the battered old three story Gothic house on the hill that morning, an old place that Matthew Pratt had told me about that had sat empty on the market two years because the price was so exorbitant. I had guided Spock up to the crow’s nest, and asked him would it be alright if I purchased the house, if he thought we could turn the old place into a home for the two of us. He had agreed and we had closed straightaway and then I immediately hired a remodeler to customize the home to our tastes.
All the funding came from my private savings account and not our shared currency; I supposed I felt the need to literally pay penance, although he fought me on it because he knew the price, even though we had negotiated it down quite a bit, was a hell of a stretch for me. Even my father-in-law had pulled me aside, secretly, after dinner one evening at the Consulate, and offered to pay for all or at least part of the cost. I would have none of it. It took some convincing, but in the end, Sarek understood and accepted my need to demonstrate the sentiment to his son. I think he may have even been proud of me.
The shuttle slowed to a halt at our stop, a half block away from the grand marble steps of Starfleet HQ. I disembarked with a handful of other passengers, mind already shifting gears to full day ahead of me. I sighed.