Tears rolled down her weary cheeks: There is nothing like knowing your child is happy. Saana sat proud; she had just finished her conversation with Nyota and Charlene. She took a deep sigh. Her only daughter-her only child-was married, married to a Vulcan, of all things!
I don't know much about Vulcan culture. I haven't even seen many Vulcans, as a matter of fact, she thought to herself.
Saana continued to ponder. She had only seen Vulcans on vids or the documentaries from the libaries. She was aware that they are quiet, polite people, but she thought they had intimadating looks, with their arched eyebrows and pointed years. People have said they don't laugh or smile or express emotions of any kind. But somehow her Nyota married one, so there must be some form of understanding. Saana knew that nothing is easy in life and relationship are difficult to maintain, especially in a marriage. Saana hoped that her daughter would grow to understand that marriage is built on trust, understanding, and, most of all, patience. Saana and Kayode were childhood sweethearts; their love grew from their friendship. Kayode was a handsome man from her hometown in South Africa, and they went through many trials and adventures as a married couple. Nyota, their 'Star', was an added blessing. Saana was now older and alone, but she looked much younger than she was. Her hair was streaked with silver and framed her glowing face. Nyota had inherited her curvy figure and smooth complexion, which, even at her age, caught the eyes of men, who tried to court her. But Saana turned them all down; no man could ever replace Kayode Uhura.
Saana reflected on Nyota, tracing in her mind her only child's path from birth to childhood and finally to adulthood. Nothing came easy for her Star: from her struggles with being an only child to being bullied for most of her preteen and teenage years, to the deaths of her father and uncle at almost the same time, it was a difficult path and it took a toll on their mother-daughter relationship.
"Baba, I don't understand. Why are they teasing me? What did I do wrong?"
"Little Star, because you shine so bright, they want to take the shine from you. You must be strong, Little Star. You are smart. You are important." Saana saw Kayode in her mind, holding Nyota as she cried into his shoulder. Those were hurtful times for Nyota. She excelled in her studies, performing beyond her years, and the other children had punished her for it.
Nyota was multi-talented; her intelligence and her mathematical apitude were the object of jealousy among her peers, but her singing would bring her peace when the bullying became too much. She would dance for her father to express her anger or happiness. Then she learned to play an assortment of musical instruments to keep her light shining. Saana considered that Nyota had had to fight for her place in this universe; her baby was strong.
Saana was happy too for her adopted daughter, Charlene, who seemed to have found someone to share her life with. Saana was happy that those two were stationed on the same ship and even happier that they were best friends. Nyota didn't have many friends growing up, but Charlene was there for Nyota through thick and thin. Saana thought back to when Nyota brought Charlene home to visit-before they both were deployed-Saana had made a special dinner to celebrate their graduation from Starfleet Academy and to have one last chance to hold her baby in her arms before she left on the Enterprise. Saana didn't know how long she would be gone, but the memory of their time together made Nyota's absence easier to bear.
Tears streamed down Sanna's face as she remembered how she almost lost her Star. It was after the death of her husband, when Nyota was 12 years old. He worked in Starfleet as a master sergeant. It was a routine inspection of the space dock at Deep Space Station that rotated around the moon that went wrong; over 30 men and women were killed that day. Her husband, Kayode, was one of them. They told her it was an accident. She remembered holding Nyota's hand at the memorial ceremony. Master Sergeant Kayode Uhura-the love of her life-was gone forever.
The tragedy only deepened three months later when her brother, Zurberi Buhari, also in Starfleet, died on Neptune when he was exposed to the atomsphere during a routine excursion. It was too much to bear; she blamed Starfleet for taking her family and vowed that hell would freeze over before they would get another member of her family.
On Nyota's fifteenth birthday, another storm was brewing. Saana remembered it like it was yesterday. Nyota stood in front of her, nervous and afraid, wringing her hands.
"Momma, I want to join Starfleet Academy."
The words sent terror and anger vibrating throughout Saana's body. She balled her hands into tight fists. "NO!"
"Why Momma? Commander Carson says that I'm good at-"
"NO! You're too young, and I am dead set against it! Now go to your room!"
Nyota ran to her room and curled up on her bed, wracked with sobs. From that day on, the tension between the two of them grew. Nyota was polite and respectful for the next three years; she maintained her grades and all her activities. The subject was never brought up again. I thought I had dodged the bullet, but I was wrong, very wrong.
Just like it happened yesterday, I still she her face, the way we fought, but the things I said. The things that hurt. An orientation officer notified Saana on that dreadful day, that Nyota had been accepted into the Starfleet Academy Communications Program. She read the message on her Padd in disbelief and shock. Then the reality hit her: Nyota is of legal age; I can no longer stop her from going. But she decided to try anyway-with all her might and every manipulative tool at her her disposal.
"I forbid you to go into Starfleet!" Saana snapped.
"But I've been accepted, and I want to go. I want to travel the stars, to see the universe!"
"If you go, you will no longer be my daughter! You will be dead to me!"
"Don't say that, Momma! That's not fair! Please don't make me choose!" Nyota was crying; her heart was breaking.
"Then don't leave!"
Nyota took a deep breath, she had planned this day for years, she wanted her mother to be proud. She couldn't fight it any more, she needed to follow her heart, the stars. Nyota looked at her mother with her tear stained face.
Nyota gathered up her duffle bag with a tear-stained face and looked at her mother for the last time before she left for Starfleet.
"I have to do this. If I don't, I'll always regret it. There's something out there calling me. I HAVE to go!" The stars and the universe were calling Nyota, she couldn't back. NOT NOW.
After Nyota left, and didn't look back, Saana fell to her knees and wailed.
At first, both the pain and the anger were tremendous. Starfleet had taken another family member from her life. She thought she would never get over it. But Nyota never gave up on her. She regularly messaged Saana to let her know how things were going at the Academy. She never stopped reaching out. And over time, Saana's deep love for her daughter and her need to be a part of her life won out over her fear and anger. It would be three long years before Saana would speak or acknowledge her daughter, pride does mean things to people, even to the ones you love. Saana was hurt, she thought Nyota did it out of spite, a way to get back when she told her ‘no' when she was fifteen. Saana would be laying her bed wondering if her daughter was alive or dead, or safe. She would cry herself to sleep because of the hurt between them.
Saana still worried about her daughter sometimes, but now Nyota had told her that she'd married Commander Spock. A smile started to form on Saana's face. Usually, Nyota would tell her about her boyfriends and how they worked out or how they failed. Several years ago, Nyota had almost married the man with the shifty eyes. He had asked Saana's permission to marry her. Saana told him that if he was good to her and loved her, he could have her blessing. But it was not to be. He betrayed Nyota and Saana with lies. But this time-seeing Nyota with Charlene and how happy they both were-she knew they were building trust again. Saana saw the genuine love in Nyota's eyes. She has given her heart to the Vulcan. He must be some man to be worthy of Nyota's heart. She has so much to give.
A beep came from the vid console where they just has spoken. It was a message from Nyota. Just as she had promised, she had sent pictures. Saana downloaded the file and opened it to view them.
The first picture was of Spock and Nyota standing together with their first two fingers touching each others. He was in a long formal robe with strange writing down the left side. His eyes were pirecing, sharp like an eagle. His head was slightly turned toward Nyota, which gave the apprearance that had eyes only for her. Nyota was a vision in a beautiful wedding dress. It almost looked like a traditional African dress-it was a full strapless gown with gold, green, and white embroidery woven into the bodice. A headress of gold beads sat snugly on her head. It was beautiful. Saana smiled at the image; her daughter looked like a queen.
She noticed images in the background that appeared to show the Serengeti landscape, as well as otherworldly landscapes she had never seen before. She surmised that these must be Vulcan landscapes, with red sand and sculptured cliffs. The next slide was of the wedding party standing in a semi-circle: Captain Kirk, Lt. Sulu, Charlene, Dr. McCoy, and Lt. Commander Scott, in his traditional Scottish kilt, with Nyota and Spock standing in the middle. It was a beautiful wedding party. Charlene was wearing a knee-length green dress that complemented Nyota's gown. Even she looked different from the last time Saana had seen her, right before Nyota and Charlene had left to join the Enterprise crew. Two strong, beautiful women, on an adventure of their life.
Saana knew everyone in the pictures because Nyota would often talk and share stories about them and about some of their adventures in exploration. They way Nyota would tell the stories made it seem as if Saana was there with them. The bond between mother and daughter was renewed and strengthened. The third slide was of Spock and Nyota both seated, strumming Vulcan lyres. They play music together, how nice! Saana noticed how they positioned their seats facing each other. Her heart soared: Nyota wanted to let her know that she and Spock had a love of music in common. It gave her peace to know in her heart that Nyota was all right, even though she was far away from home. More tears came down as she keenly felt the absence of her husband, Nyota's father, at this milestone in their daughter's life. Saana lined up all three photos and looked at them together, carefully scrutinizing Spock. She noticed his eyes, how they looked soft and never left Nyota. Saana was amazed. There is more to Vulcans than I knew.
Sadness hit Saana's heart and she took a deep breath. She was happy that Nyota had found someone to share her life with-that was good. The sad part was wondering when she would ever see them, if they would ever return to Earth so she could meet her son-in-law. It could be years. Nyota was on a five-year mission on an exploration ship. But then Saana realized she would probably meet the commander during one of their every-other-week chats, and her spirits lifted.
Saana and Kayode once had a house full of life, a loving husband, and darling child. With him and Nyota gone, she had settled into a small condo that was close to the university, where she worked as a historian-anthropologist. Saana didn't mind being alone, they became friends, and the little place she has, would have to do for now. Saana wiped her face, took a deep breath. She got up and made some tea in order to relax and reflect on her daughter's marriage. As Saana raised the cup to her mouth, a thought struck her and she sat motionless, with the cup in midair: I need to find more information on Vulcans and their customs, in case I ever meet my son-in-law, Spock.
The most important thing Saana thought as she smiled down at her tea; ‘Nyota has found her place in the universe and the one.' As Saana looked from sipping her tea, another pleasant thought passed through her mind: "Grandchildren!"