I would be the sunlight in your universe
You will think my love was really something good
Baby, if I could, change the world
“Oh… sorry….. I forgot….. What was I thinking? Yes. I hate myself! I fucking hate myself. And I wish I was dead.” She went to walk away, but Mika grabbed her once again. Sandy pushed her away and ran down the hall and out the exit. Mika stood in the hallway; shaking. She found herself alone as most of the kids had gone to class, leaving a few stragglers. Two boys on one side and another in the alcove of the classroom door laughed. She spun around and shook her head.
“Funny, huh? Go fuck yourself!” She wiped the tears from her face and walked slowly down the hall. Whatever Sandy said, it was out of hurt and not out of determination. And despite the refusal, everything in Mika knew Sandy needed her…wanted her help. She felt a smile cross her face. She would do whatever she could to see that Sandy Richmond would somehow know love…if only Mika could change the world…..
Sandy stood anxiously in front of the closet; its left door slid open to reveal an array of tops, jeans, skirts and such. All in a nice assortments of bright if ordinary colors. But what gained her attention were two clear vinyl garment bags. One displayed a rather mundane hued but oddly exotic designed robe; complete with cowl. The other held a multi-colored gown; almost rainbow-like.
And above them both on the closet shelf lay a clear plastic hat box that revealed a wig/headdress combination. It had probably cost the original owner a pretty penny as her grandmother would say. But she paid only forty dollars on E-Bay. She frowned before closing the closet. Turning around, she gave one last glance at the closet doors before walking to the open laptop on the desk next to her bed…..
Several blocks away….
“No..no…not voice mail… Pick up! Pick UP!!” Mika shouted at her cell phone before walking down the hall in frustration and plea.
“Mom? I… I need to go over to Sandy’s.”
“I know, honey. After the day you two…she had? Let’s just walk over there, okay?” Anya patted her daughter on the back in sympathy before grabbing her jacket off the back of the kitchen chair. She nodded once and kissed Mika on the cheek.
“We will let her know she’s loved, okay, dziewczynka?” They hugged before walking out the back door.
„Let’s see,” Sandy said as she stared ar the blank open document.
„For My People?” Just who were her peo0ple anyway? Her Dad? Her Mom? Mika and her family and maybe Todd and Leela? But who were her people? She sighed as she began to write, imagining a mothering friend to the Queen; just like her own Mom or Mrs. Polokowski....
Theed, early afternoon…
“I hate this,” Jamillia sighed deeply and lowered her head. The older woman nodded in sympathy, but shook her head as the doors closed quietly, leaving the two alone.
“I understand how you feel, but your safety is most important; perhaps now more than ever with the threats increasing even three-fold in the last year. And you know they would do anything for you.” She half-smiled; the idea of sacrifice was not lost on Meanami, since her own sister had made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of Jamillia's predecessor.
“I know. This is so hard. Linadme was such a sweet girl, and I miss her so. She was more than a protector or a companion; she was like a sister to me.” The thought of the death of someone dear was never far from the throne, even if it was necessary to protect the Queen. She sighed and blinked back tears.
Sandy paused. The Queen of Naboo was elected, right? A choice rather than a destiny to be claimed? Every time she closed her eyes, she tried to imagine any of the actresses she had seen in the movies; portraying young women on a faraway planet. Even in the conventions there were a few girls who dressed up as Amidala or the others, but her ‘thoughts betrayed her,’ as a line once was spoken, and the Queen’s face morphed slowly into the visage of Tiffany McKenna; her one-time girlfriend and now the one person in the world who actually hated Sandy more than Sandy did herself. She sighed…
“I’m so glad you’re here after all this time. I…I hate to say this, but I don’t want to become close to whomever we choose. I can hardly bear losing Linadme, and to get close to others, especially now after losing so many to this horror.” She stared out of the large window overlooking the valley below; a vista viewed from a place seemingly safe from harm, but more vulnerable since the people needed an easily-seen symbol. If there came an outright attack, the likelihood was that the city would barely survive if at all. And the lofty symbol of the realm would be utterly destroyed along with the monarchy.
“You said that about Linadme and Perlis before her. I know this is hard, but what makes you who you are will not allow distance and caution to separate you from the people you love, even if it means being hurt once again. You are more than a ruler, my Queen. You lead and your people love you and would follow you anywhere. You are more than a figurehead.”
It was true. Jamillia thrived as ruler because she allowed herself to be more than the Queen. Her strength came in knowing her people, and knowing her people left her heart bare and vulnerable since she could not know without coming to know those for whom she cared. To find and keep someone close for her own benefit struck her as unfair, but all of the young women who had been there for her knew that her life was precious for more than the seat of power, but for the people she ruled. And she didn’t really rule so much as guide with the patience and understanding that can only come from willing to get close enough to hurt.
Sandy stared at the words; tempted to delete the story, but something compelled her forward. She shook her head and closed her eyes; trying to put words to screen once again…
Meanwhile, across town…
“Mommy? Why did she have to…I mean…” Tiffany held an icebag to her forehead after two plus hours of crying. Eileen McKenna turned off the bedside lamp and sat down next to her daughter.
“She was afraid, kiddo, you said it yourself. She looked?” Tiffany kept quiet and Eileen answered the question.
“Terrified. She was scared, hon. Why do you think she was scared? You’d already yelled at her and even leaned into her, but what did you say?” Eileen kept quiet this time; leaving Tiffany to draw her own conclusions.
“She….when I started to turn…it… it was worse than when we broke up.” At fourteen, breaking up might be only for a day or forever, but it was always the pain that every knows but no one ‘em>you know understands. That dread of a lifetime of loneliness projected onto a week-long drama or even a month long comedy of life. But it hurt worse than she could ever remember.
“You sound as though you’re sad for her?” Eileen said; marveling at the newness of understanding. The pronoun was now ‘wrong, ‘but still completely suited the girl who only two weeks ago was giggling over Inside Out with Tiffany and a few other girls. She? Her? What else could she call the bestest friend ever of her daughter; even if the latest revelation in the tragicomic opera of the girls played out painfully.
“I’m gonna be sick.” Tiffany jumped off the bed and ran to the bathroom; shutting the door behind her. A few minutes late she walked out and cast herself face down on the bed; sobbing. Eileen rubbed her back and said quietly,
“I know, I know.” All the while hoping that the drama of the moment would give way to her daughter’s innate decency and compassion. She may have ‘lost’ a girlfriend, but Sandy probably believed with good reason that she lost her best friend...Tiffany… forever.
She stared at the open window hovering over her story; a picture of Queen Amidala and her bodyguard with the caption “My Protector.” Like the characters on the screen, she and Tiffany had been almost visually interchangeable, and almost as much in their brief relationship. Until that afternoon, even with them breaking up, she felt Tiffany would always have her back. Now she wondered if she had to watch her back. But that was the, and this was a long time ago in a faraway place. She resumed.typing.
Elsewhere, the following day…
“You’re risking so much. I am so worried, and not just for your life,” the girl said.
“We’re the only ones who can help. If I can be of service to my Queen, then so be it. I cannot but help to want to be there for her, but more for you. We have to do this together… We, Areleni…you and me together.”
“I…I know. But what if the Queen learns your secret. She… It would not go well for either of us if she discovers the truth.”
“That’s why I intend to speak to her. If she chooses us, it will be with eyes wide open and no secrets between us and the sovereign of our planet.”
“You can’t be serious. She’ll….”
“She’ll either nod and smile and thank us for our time or she’ll nod and smile and ask us for our help.”
“You can’t know that, T…T….”
“You can say my name, dear sister. If our mother was able to accept me, surely you can as well?”
“That’s so unfair. It hurts that you’d believe that for a moment. You know I love …you…. It’s just….” She paused in thought.
“Dear sister?” Like her other daydreams, real people populated the galaxy. Mika wasn’t her sister, but she was as close to a clone as she could be. Like a twin, almost. Her sister Amanda, had she survived her tenth year, would likely be as much a twin to Mika as to her, even Mandy was born a year later than her? Was Mika some kind of Middle School reward? No… she was just a flesh and blood person of infinite worth; filled with compassion and care in her own right. Maybe Sandy was some sort of Karmic punishment for Mika and Tiffany? She sighed and began to type…
“You’re afraid that I’ll be the one…. If you say my name that means that the Queen might say my name in asking for our help, and that means one of us…maybe both will die. But that is what we were born for, Areleni…. I truly believe that destiny brought us here at this time for this purpose, since it is a purpose that has meaning and benefit for the sake of more than ourselves. Isn’t that what Mother and Father taught us? To look outside ourselves for the benefit that might be a gift to someone else? That laying down our lives; in death or in service, was not only noble but a sacred task?”
“Oh….I’m …. I’m not afraid for myself. I know the risk and I’m willing to take it. It’s just that I don’t want to lose you, my sweet….”
“You can’t say the word?”
Areleni shook her head; not in disagreement, but in acknowledgement for the anticipated consequences of their decision at that moment. She hesitated.
“Areleni? Please?” the young woman before her repeated her plea with a smile and open arms.
“My sweet sister….” Areleni put her hand to her mouth to stifle a sob; not a sad or anxious sob, but a crying gasp of realization that no matter how things would follow, life would truly be complete and whole and happy, perhaps even for them both, as she embraced Taradme. She stepped closer and hugged the girl and the two kissed on the lips as sisters sometimes do in blessing.
“Taradme, my sweet sister. In life or in death, we will do what we were created to do, and that is a good thing,” Areleni said with a relieved sigh.
She almost wanted to love Mika like a girlfriend, but something inside them both prodded them away from each other and along separate but parallel paths; as much as a tween might glean from geometry, they were moving side-by-side. She could only hope her sister would not be hurt too much by being close when the day’s events spread all over school…. Maybe even all over town?
And it was true; death might visit one or both of them before it was all over, but they had realized what their purpose was in life, and that was to protect the Queen of Naboo. They held each other close; perhaps even closer than they had been in their mother’s womb, and certainly with a new appreciation of how blessed they were to be twins and how they both bore a striking resemblance to the Queen of Naboo.
The streetlights were just beginning to flicker on when Anya and Mika walked up to Sandy’s front door. Mika feared the worst even as she knocked on the door. Nothing so tragic and drastic, but even a painful ‘go away’ would hurt them both. The door opened.
“Hi…Hi, Anya... Mika.” Lisa, Sandy’s mom opened the door slowly. She had been crying as well, but her smile indicated an oddly-out-of-place peace.
“She’s in her room. Why don’t you go see how she’s doinf while Anya and I put on some tea?” Mika nodded and walked past Lisa and down the hall. She knocked on the partially open door.
“Sands?” Her voice needed no introduction.
“Heh…hey, Mik…. C’mon in,” Sandy said in a near whisper. She tuned to face Mika and the sister act repeated itself as the twintweens, as Lisa called them, fell into a weeping hug. A few minutes later Sandy pulled away slowly and sat again at the desk; pointing to the laptop.
“I…I got more on paper,” she said as she scrolled down to display story.
The Queen’s chambers, a few days later…
A tall figure stood by the door; looking disinterested but in fact vigilant. She folded her arms and nodded at the woman sitting at the desk. Jamillia bade the girls to stand as she waved them closer.
“Yousa pay heed. Very much danger. Meesa worried about you.” Fensai smiled and used her head to point to the doorway, as if to note the perils that lay just beyond the door. The young woman smiled back.
“I know, Fensai, and I’m glad you’re keeping a weather eye out for my safety.” She laughed even as the door on the opposite end of the room opened to reveal two other young women; both dressed in identical fashion as her. She nodded and they approached; both bowing at the waist before kneeling in front of her. Following them into the room was Meanami, who placed her hands on their shoulders, ushering them gently toward the young woman at the desk.
“I am grateful for the tribute in public, dear ones, but you need not pay homage to me when we are safe and away from the eyes of the people. Here we will remain friends, yes?”
“Oh fuck, Mika… friends? Everybody hates me!” While no one might even hate her, the likely ignorance and, worse yet, indifference of her classmates threatened to push the family into yet another fleeing relocation. Mika grabbed her with both hands and pulled her to her feet. Rather than a consoling hug, Mika instead half frowned in correction; more hurt for Sandy than for herself.”
“Not everybody!” What was meant for encouragement ended up as admonishment instead, and Sandy began to cry; no worth of even Mika’s friendship in a way.
“I’m sorry… I just…. Maybe it would be better if you left…” She went to pull away, but Mika held firm.
“Fuck no!” she said with a half smile.
“You don’t get rid of me that easy. We’re stuck with each other, sis!” Mika had only used the ‘sister’ word once, and only in jest. But this time ‘sis’ struck multiple chords. The sister Mika took after; the sister/girlfriend who hated her; and the Mikasistertweentwin who was really the only person who understood Sandy…. Even after the big reveal about Sandy’s boyhood only a few years before never fazed Mika because Sandy was a girl and that was that. Sandy burst into tears; not tween angst but real dread that Mika alone would ever get her….
In the kitchen…
“It’s going to be hard… the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but it’s what we’re left with,” Lisa gasped at the thought of how hurt her daughter already was. Anya looked away, as if she could see through the wall of the bedroom where the girls must certainly be commiserating.
“We’ll be here for you, okay?” Anya said with a half-frown; feeling incapable of fixing things but thankful that she was doing exactly what Lisa and Sandy needed at that moment; being a friend. Between the four of them they might just see goodness in the land of the living as it says somewhere after all.
Mika lay asleep on top of the covers with Sandy underneath; the girl having a fitful dream…
Somewhere not in Florham Park
Jamillia bade the girls to stand as she waved them closer. Standing up, she pulled them each into awkward hugs. It wasn’t the first time she had embraced the two; literally of course, but figuratively as she and Meanami had settled on the young women as the next in needful if nearly always imperiled servants of the Queen. She stepped back and smiled. Areleni smiled back and nodded; her chin quivering nervously. Taradme glanced over at her sister and shook her head.
“What is wrong, dear one?” Jamillia asked. Areleni lowered her head even as she began t shake.
“My sister is worried over the news we must share with our Queen.”
“News?” Jamillia tilted her head in question, even as she tried to suppress a grin. Meanami nodded and stepped closer.
“You have nothing to fear, dear child,” she said as she kissed them both, pulling them closer.
“Our Queen is perceptive, and sees much that others miss. But your secret came to her in a dream just last evening.” She nodded and Jamillia spoke.
“You …” She looked back and forth between the two.
“You are brave and my heart sings gladly over the loyalty you have shown us. And know that your secret is safe. I promise no one outside this room shall ever know.” Now it was time for Taradme to shake; her bravado was gone; replaced with humble gratitude.
Sandy looked up at the ceiling; the same plain grayish white made a bit yellowish from the glow of the hall light. She sighed and put pen to paper in her mind; smiling at the contented coo that escaped Mika’s sleeping form. She closed her eyes; seeing with fear and bliss the figure that stood before her; smiling in acceptance that came from the imagination even if it escaped display in real life. Jamillia/Tiffany….
“You began life in one manner, but your life has turned in a way; perhaps taking a path that was chosen for you before you were born. This I know because it was revealed in the dream. Two children born to believe and trust and take that path. Areleni, the sister and first born. Taradme…second born…as Tarran; the brother who wished so long to be exactly as his sister.” The two looked back and forth between each other and their faces darkened in shame.
“No, dear ones. Please?” Jamillia stepped closer to Taradme.
“There may be some even in our home world who don’t understand and even find fault with you. But created in the image of our makers you are, no matter what is on the outside. Shiraya be praised, dear woman. You are who you are and it is all good.” Taradme’s blush deepened and she began to cry. Areleni pulled her closer and she wept in her sister’s arms.
“I… am ….please forgive me, my Queen. I shall withdraw immediately. I am so sorry,” Taradme pulled out of Areleni’s embrace and began backing slowing away toward the door.
“No!” Jamillia hadn’t meant the word as a rebuke, but perhaps a rebuke was exactly what Taradme required.
“You are my servant, and I trust that you wish to become my friend, just as I wish to become yours. But you cannot set aside your calling, even if you feel incapable or miscast.”
At the last word, she sighed. It was a drama to be played out daily before the people; only a precious few were aware of the task that women like Areleni and Taradme had been given. There would be times when that task would be availed in tragic manner; too many times already with too many sad farewells said hastily if at all as both Jamillia and Meanami could attest.
“I am not worthy of service, my Queen,” Taradme protested even as shameful tears fell freely. The Queen of Naboo waved away her protest in dismissal; more angry at the shame that had been placed upon Taradme’s shoulders than at the young woman herself.
“The time for shame is over. It matters not to the Goddess nor to your Queen how you started. You are here now, and you are worthy because you were created that way. I know you fear that your beginnings disqualify you, but you are a woman in every way but one, and that one way matters not in the scheme of things. Perhaps even your beginning is part of a divine plan? Come…. Please?” The Queen was not known to ask, but she asked none the less; a peek under the curtain of the monarchy to reveal the compassionate woman.
“My…my Queen?” Taradme stammered and Jamillia stepped closer once again. Mianami sighed and nodded at Fensai. The Gun woman smiled weakly before putting a large hand before her face as she wept unashamedly at the love her Queen had shown. Mianami smiled back and swallowed hard as tears fell from her own face in admiration for display of true royalty. A monarch of Naboo wasn’t given rule in succession, but rather was bestowed the task to lead by the people themselves, and they had been blessed with the servant’s heart of the Queen.
“No shame….no doubt. We are pleased with both you and your sister, dear one. And together we will do what we must to serve our people.” She beckoned Areleni closer and the three embraced as one; triplets in a way as the Queen welcomed the latest in a long line of loyal, valorous women whose calling served to insure that the monarchy would continue. Sacrifice on behalf of the people of Naboo. And before it was all over, there would be yet another sacrifice…
In the livingroom
Anya looked at Lisa. Her friend had been crying all day, but had recovered enough to remain strong for her daughter. Her only child and now? While the morning would bring new challenges as every day begin for the parent of a transgender child, nothing would have ever prepared Lisa Richmond for the task at hand; to tell her beautiful baby girl that fate had once again visited upon the Richmond household as Sandy’s father would not be coming home to his second daughter because that morning, in an ambulance in Stuttgart, Germany, he had been reunited with Amanda Richmond.
I could reach the stars, I'd pull one down for you
Shine it on my heart, so you could see the truth
That this love I have inside, is everything it seems
But for now I find, it's only in my dreams
Change the World
Words and Music by
Tommy Sims, Gordon Kennedy, and Wayne Kirkpatrick
As Performed by
If you liked this post, you can leave a comment and/or a kudos!
Click the Thumbs Up! button below to leave the author a kudos:
And please, remember to comment, too! Thanks.