TITLE: Letting Go
AUTHOR: Jos Mous
DISCLAIMER: I own none of these characters, I’m not making any profit out of this, blahblahblah.
NOTE: For those of you who don’t know, I have been told that Robin is, in fact, the name of Harrison’s mum. Even though she didn’t appear in many eps, she did manage to make a lasting impression. I did consider Jane/Glass, but I was unsure if my writing skills would manage to break through Glass’ appearance and cynical behaviour. Was there anything else? Oh yeah, since I am far from being an adult, I admit that I just have to ‘feel my way through’ as they say. So it could be that these two responsible female adults act a little bit like teenagers.
The small room was moving. It moved up and down, from left to right, forwards and back again. If Jane had been anywhere else but here, this would have been distressing. But, since she was currently on a ship, it seemed pretty natural. Jane’s cabin was rather small, and was little more than area where she would store her clothes and spend the night. There was a bed, a small table with a small lamp standing on it, a closet and two chairs. There were a few curtains hanging on the wall opposite of the door to cover up the fact that the room had no windows. There was also a second, smaller door that lead to a small bathroom with a toilet and shower. It wasn’t much, but then, Jane couldn’t really afford much.
Jane walked over to the low bed, put her suitcase on it and opened it. She then opened the closet doors and started transferring her clothes from the suitcase to the closet. Until she stumbled across an old photo. A photo of her, her daughter and her husband.
Her late husband.
>>It’s been two years, mom.<< Sam had said when she had seen the photo lying in the suitcase. >>You have to let go.<<
Sam was right. Maybe it was time to let go. But letting go was just so hard.
Jane stood for several moments, looking at the photo in her hands, wondering what to do with it. She then put the photo on the table and finished unpacking.
The boat, or cruise-ship as Jane supposed she should call it, had left the harbour a few hours ago and was now going around in circles on the water. Even though Jane’s cabin was the cheapest one on the entire ship, she did have normal access to all decks. Except the business deck, since there was some sort of conference going on there. So Jane decided to make full use of the free deck-access and go sunbathing. The sun was shining, after all, there was practically no wind and it was still a little early to go drinking in the bar.
Jane soon noticed that she had not been the only one with this idea. The main deck was large and littered with chairs, almost all of them already occupied. Jane felt rather embarrassed as she searched for a chair. All the women here just seemed to be younger, in better shape and already with a nice tan. It made her feel like a big, old ghost. But Jane persevered, found a chair, draped a towel over it, rubbed suntan oil over those uncovered parts of her body, lay down and closed her eyes. The sun was nice and warm, and the sound of soft inane chattering filled her ears. It therefore didn’t take long for Jane to doze off.
Slowly, Jane woke up again. She looked up to see that the sun had already moved somewhat. She must’ve been asleep for something of an hour. She also noticed a woman with short blonde hair, carrying a towel standing rather close to her.
“Excuse me?” The woman asked again. “Is this chair taken?”
Jane rather groggily looked over to the chair next to her. “No… no I don’t think so.”
“Oh, sorry, did I wake you?” The woman asked, sounding slightly concerned.
“I just nodded off for a while.” Jane said. “No need to be sorry.”
The woman gave a small smile, then lay down on the chair next to Jane’s. She put on sunglasses and stared up at the sun.
Jane looked at her. There was something… familiar about her. Very familiar, in fact. Jane knew she knew the woman, but she couldn’t figure out who it was.
“Excuse me,” Jane asked. “Have we met before?”
The other woman smiled, then looked at Jane. “I don’t think so.” She said.
“Oh. Sorry, you just… sorry.”
The woman nodded, then stared back up at the sun. Jane decided to do the same thing.
Sunbathing all on your own was not a problem. Dining in a fancy restaurant alone, surrounded by young couples feeding each other food, was a problem. Jane absentmindedly tapped one finger on the table while she waited for the waiter to come and notice her. In her boredom, Jane looked around. The room was tastefully decorated in green and every single table supported candles. The atmosphere was perfect for romantic dinners. And just one too many couples had also noted that fact.
“What am I doing here?” Jane muttered to herself. “I might as well just skip dinner and get drunk now.”
Jane remained seated, however, ignoring the people around her, ignoring the glaringly empty chair in front of her. It took her a while, but at long last Jane noticed someone else who also here by herself. It was that blonde woman again. Jane bit her bottom lip in concentration. She _knew_ that woman from somewhere.
The woman looked up and caught Jane staring at her. Jane quickly looked away, embarrassed.
“Is madam ready to order?”
Jane looked up at the waiter who had suddenly materialised next to her. She forced a smile and hoped it seemed convincing.
“Yes, I’d like to order now.”
Jane placed her order and, after being left alone again, her eyes inevitable wandered over to the table where that woman was sitting. Fortunately, the blonde was busy reading the menu and didn’t see Jane staring at her. Again.
Jane disliked alcohol. She also disliked being drunk. But sometimes, when she felt really crappy, she thought she’d give it a try. And she always ended up feeling even crappier. Now men, they could have a big pint of beer and stare at it for hours at a time when they were feeling down. She didn’t have that luxury. She had to have something unpronounceable, served in a small glass dish on a stick with an olive in it. Jane stirred her drink for a few seconds with the olive. Then, with a courage that comes from having nothing to lose, Jane drank the thing in one quick gulp.
Two seconds later she realised that had been a mistake.
After burning her throat, the alcohol set her stomach ablaze and launched her into a coughing fit. The barkeeper walked over to her, looking concerned. Jane managed to wave her hand and utter a few words that sounded something like: “I’m fine.”
The barkeeper nodded and said: “Perhaps you would like a glass of water?”
Jane nodded. Water seemed like a very good idea right now.
A few moments later a rather large glass of water was put in front of her and Jane drank it quickly.
<<Well, let’s see now.>> Jane thought. <<I’m too pale to get a tan anytime soon, I don’t have anyone to have dinner with and I can’t even get drunk properly. Maybe I should take up gambling?>>
Jane felt that someone had sat down at the bar next to her.
“You were right.” Said a voice next to her. Jane quickly identified it as belonging to the mystery woman. “We have seen each other before.”
Jane nodded. “On the main deck.”
“You’re Sam McPherson’s mother, right?” The woman asked.
Jane nodded again, surprised. “That’s right. How do you…?”
“I’m actually Harrison’s mother.”
“That’s why I didn’t you recognise you at first.” Jane said. “Harrison looks nothing like you. I- I mean, in looks, of course.”
The woman nodded. “Harrison looks more like his father.” She said. Jane sensed there was something more behind that statement, but couldn’t quite figure out what. “I’m Robin, by the way.”
“Can I get you anything to drink?” The barkeeper asked.
“I’ll have what she’s having.” Robin said.
“That would be water.” Jane said.
“I’ll have a glass of water, please.”
The barkeeper nodded and walked off.
“Not much of a drinker, are you then?” Robin asked.
“Not really, no.” Jane said.
“Here’s your drink, madam.” The barkeeper said before disappearing again.
“Well, look at us now. Two single women, on a cruise-ship, drinking water. We must be quite a sight.”
“It could be worse.” Robin said. “I could be here with my husband.”
“He was not a good husband, I take it?” Jane asked.
Robin smiled. “Let’s just say, he didn’t turn out to be my type.”
The women drank their water in silence for a while.
“So how’s Harrison?” Jane asked, more to say anything than out of genuine interest.
“Same as always. Still having a major crush on some girl.” She said smiling. “How’s Sam?”
“Stubborn as always. She practically kicked me onto this boat.”
“Think she’s planning a party right now?”
“I don’t think so. Sam can be a very responsible young girl. From time to time.”
“That’s more than I can say for Harrison, in all honesty. God, I hope he’s alright.”
“I’m sure he is.” Jane said reassuringly.
“I really hope so.”
Jane silently sipped her water, until she noticed that the glass had become empty.
“Jane…” Robin started, her voice soft and nervous. “Would you like to dance?”
“Forget I said it.”
<<Well Jane, how to proceed? Accept? Refuse? Forget? It’s not like there’s anyone actually interested in you here. And besides, she is… rather… pretty.>>
“I’d love to.”
Robin looked up, surprise on her face.
The two women walked over to the small, improvised dance floor. The sea was calm, so the deck was barely moving. The music played, however, was rather soft and slow.
Jane and Robin took each other’s hands and danced.
<<Jane McPherson, what are you doing?>> Jane wondered, somewhere halfway during the song.
Jane noted, with no small discomfort, that she rather enjoyed dancing with Robin. She also rather enjoyed the way she looked, and the way she looked at her. She even, and this was cause for a hint distress, rather enjoyed the way Robin smelled.
“People are looking.” Robin whispered.
And there it was. A way out. An opportunity to leave and never look back at what was happening here. All Jane had to do was take it.
“Let them look.” Jane answered. “At least half of them must be enjoying the sight.”
Robin smiled at her. Jane found that she liked Robin smiling at her.
Liked it a lot, even.
“And here is my cabin.” Jane said as she and Robin stopped outside it.
“Mine is a little further down.” Robin answered. “It seems we’re both travelling economy class.”
“So it would seem.” Jane said, simply because she couldn’t think of anything else to say.
The women stood next to each other in the small hallway, unwilling to move. Jane looked at Robin and didn’t manage to find any words to say that would prevent her leaving.
There was, however, one other thing she could think of.
But that would be like crossing the bridge and then burning it behind her.
Jane wondered if she had the guts to do it.
The small cabin was only dimly lit, but fortunately Jane wasn’t really interested in looking at anything. She was thinking. Thinking about was going to happen next.
She didn’t know. She thought, but no answers presented itself.
Jane looked at the small table and the photo standing on top of it. And there, smiling at her, was the one man she had ever loved.
The only man, in fact.
Jane took the photo and smiled. She pulled out her suitcase from under her bed, carefully put the photo in it, then closed the suitcase and once again placed it under the bed.
The past was the past. And maybe now she was able to actually let go of it.
And the future?
Jane didn’t know.
But if that kiss had been any indication, then the future looked bright indeed.
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