“Maybe, but I want to give it a try. Besides, I haven’t spent much time with that side of my family.” The thought of breathing fresh air, and living without walls always confining her had seemed so romantic. “If I do come back, I’ll have so many things to share with my students.”
Colli could not even tell her best friend about her other endeavor. She’d fought the drafting call to the ‘Protectorary Force’. Her resistance had been ignored. The only way she could avoid service with the ‘Unit’ was to remove herself from the only home she’d ever know. Because all her studies in the direction of teaching, the Force had offered her membership. Colli shivered at that thought. Despite the special training they had insisted she take, it was too much.
I had to get away. Being responsible for the protection of a future monarch, continued to scare her. Inquiries for work as a tutor or nanny on earth had given her the excuse she needed to get away. The envelope held her hope for a response for a new job. For a new life. It was her only opportunity for normalcy.
“I’ll see you in the morning.” Mary promised when she left Colli at the room at the top of the stairs. “Dad’ll be back then. Maybe we can start your first driving lesson.”
“Maybe.” Colli shrugged. “I’m really tired now.” She shut the door, glad to leave fears behind her. At least for now. When she sat on the bed, the soft whoosh of the air conditioner lulled her into a welcome calm. It reminded her of home. Eyelids heavy, she lay back to rest. She thought about the envelope, but sleep claimed her before she could make an effort to find it.
The recurring dream that brought her both sadness and comfort, carried familiarity that overpowered her feelings about this planet.
“Be careful what you wish for.” Once more Colli heard the familiar words. The dream brought more than comfort of familiar surroundings. It reminded her of what she’d left behind. Colli sighed and turned onto her stomach. No use fighting it. The dream drew her in.
Grandma turned from the kitchen area. Condensed in a small corner, it gave her everything she needed to prepare food for the family of five. Colli pictured her sister and brother gathered at the table. Mama and Papa John, her step-father came into the compact dining area. Without looking into the kitchen, Mama took her place at the table. She’d tried to help with the cooking, but the contention between the two women as to who was the best cook always flared.
“Come on Colli,” John, her brother called. Constantly hungry, he couldn’t understand her lack of interest in the food. What he didn’t realize was it was only the food she wasn’t interested in. She treasured the family time. Something her friend Alli instilled in her.
Alli lived with relatives in the communal area of the compound. An only child, she was left alone with various aunts or uncles, when her parents traveled to outlying communities to maintain and install atmosphere units.
“Sit next to me.” Sarah the youngest motioned to a chair.
Colli settled into her dream to vicariously joy the family comfort it brought. Soft and gentle, it carried her into deep restful sleep.
Bright sunlight streamed into the room. Small fingers reached out to tease her eyes open. At first Colli resisted. She wanted to pull the memories of her home on the moon close one more time.
I’m going to miss everyone from there.
She stretched and brought her arm up to block the intruding sun. The manila envelope fell to the floor. Her heart beat faster. She sat up and pulled the blanket, someone had put over her during the night, closer. Morning chill filtered through the small open window.
Colli reached down for the envelope. When she opened it she was relived to find it was a follow up on one of her nanny inquiries.
Dear Ms. GeLacken,
We find your qualifications very suitable for our purposes. Our young son needs an innovative, disciplined instructor. Your references give us additional hope for a mutually beneficial relationship