THE ANGST AND THE ANALYST
From the Journals and Papers of Dr. MorningGlory Gaeston
(Rated PG-13: Adult themes, mild language, mild violence)
Chapter IX – Part I
“YOU’RE WHAT?” Father’s booming voice echoed resoundingly through the great house. Had the windows not been reinforced, they would have rattled precipitously.
“Father, please, do not yell. Please sit down and just listen,” I calmly coaxed the shaken man to his favorite chair in the lounge and I seated myself on the adjacent footstool. Hendak stood fidgeting near the doorway, fully prepared for any magical retribution Father might send his way once shock subsided and genuine anger settled in.
“Father, I am pregnant,” I repeated, “Or, rather, Hendak and I are pregnant. And the expected date of arrival is approximately three months from now.” He sat and stared at me, still in a quasi state of disbelief, shock, and bewilderment.
I had decided beforehand that I was going to operate on the need-to-know basis with Father. Right now if I told him it was twins, he would want to know how I knew, and it was just not time to tell him. And the news about who the paternal grandmother was, well, it was just going to have to wait, also.
He opened his mouth to speak, but I interrupted him before he began.
“Father, we have moved the wedding up to two ten-days from now. So, I am asking that all the beautiful and wonderful arrangements you have made for both the engagement party and the reception be moved up as well. Would that be possible?”
Still absorbing my announcement, he sat staring at me. “Three months from now? I’m going to be a Grandfather three months from now?” He looked as someone just recovering from a spell of confusion. The color began to return to his face. “When did you find out, Glory? You...you don’t even look like you could be with child at all, much less so close to term. Are you sure?”
“Yes, Father, I am sure,” I nodded as I picked up his hands and squeezed them.
“When did you find out? Were you keeping this from me? Why were you keeping this from me?” His face showed he was hurt at the possibility.
“No, Father, I only found out the other day and I have not been keeping this from you, I assure you. This is the first opportunity we have had to tell you.”
“But how could you have not known before now?” he asked, his shock now subsiding, but his confusion growing exponentially. “After all, as part of your training, you know medical aspects. The physiology of all of this, Glory… You know all of this. How could this have escaped you for so long?”
“Its..its just one of those rare anomalies, Father,” I replied. “They are very uncommon, but they do exist.” Well, that wasn’t a lie. It was rare and it was an anomaly. And I didn’t really want to just unload the whole truth on him at once. His own personal physician and healer, Dr. Bey, had cautioned many months before that his heart might not be as young as it once was.
“And, Father Tabor – “ Hendak began but was cut short before he could continue.
“QUIET!” Father’s ire flared instantly and he glared at him.
“Father, do not yell at Hendak. Think of your grandchild. Think of me.” I paused a long moment. “This is a very happy time for me. And I want you to share it with me, with us, as you have been there to share all the other happy times in my life.”
“But, Glory, this is such a shock. It is so much to take in such a short span of time.” He was starting to appear somewhat calmed. “First, you become engaged to Hendak less than two tendays ago, then you make plans for a union ritual in a Church and forsake your home for the event, then you tell me we’re moving the wedding up because you are with child before you even have benefit of the ritual of union.” He threw up his hands. “Not that I care what the raving public thinks or says, but, by the Gods, it is a lot for a father to take in a very short period of time.”
“Yes, Father, I know.” I looked at him, wanting desperately to help him. To make this easier to understand and accept, it was so difficult for him. “I understand that all you have ever wanted is the very best for me. And what I am trying to tell you, Father, this is the very best for me. I am marrying the man I love and he loves me more than any man could.” I paused again and looked up at my helpless demigod. “And we are going to have a child -- a beautiful baby who will be blessed with two loving parents and the most loving, wonderful Grandfather in all of Faerun. In your heart, you can’t be angry with that, Father. You are far too generous of love and spirit to not see your good fortune.” I waited for the words to sink in and cringed slightly at mentioning only ‘one’ of the babies. Father sat for a long moment without saying a word. He turned to Hendak.
“Hendak, would you…, ” Father began, “Would you mind going to the kitchen and have Drusay or Gernsey make some tea. I would like to speak with Glory alone.” His calmness both surprised me and made me wary.
“Of course, Father Tabor,” said Hendak.
“And, please, Hendak, do NOT call me ‘Father Tabor.’ Just call me.. just call me Tabor.” Under these circumstances, Father’s civility was most disarming. I didn’t know if it was resignation, or the quiet before the storm.
“Yes, sir, as you wish, Tabor,” and Hendak took his cue to leave, softly closing the large door behind him.
“My darling Daughter,” he sighed deeply as he leaned forward toward me and protectively enclosed my smaller hands in his larger hands. His eyes began to mist over as he began to speak in a soft voice. “When your mother died, all I had left of her was this little crying baby who frightened this wizard more than a shadow dragon at ten feet. I looked at you, and you were so tiny and frail, and so helpless. I was even afraid to hold you at first.”
“But I was even more helpless than you at the time. I had lost my soul mate, the love of my life, and it was all so unfair. We had just started our life together and the Gods took her from me. I resented them for the cruelty they showed to me, but I hated them for depriving you of your wonderful mother. It was inconceivable that so suddenly, and so unexpectedly, our life and our dreams could be shattered into a million infinite pieces never to be recovered.” He sighed a long and heavy breath.
“And, for a long time, I wanted to die. But you were here and you needed me. I was all that you had. I was it. And, you needed my undivided attention, and that is what I gave you.” He paused. “I know I wasn’t the best Father, and I probably should have found a wife that could also have been something of a Mother to you, but I just could not do it. The thought of trying to replace your wonderful Mother just seemed so.. so.. wrong. And, I guess…I guess I just wanted to keep you all to myself.” He smiled through the mist in his eyes and reached up to brush a wisp of hair from my face as he had so often done when I was a child. I could feel my own eyes begin to well with tears as I had never heard my Father speak like this before.
But he was wrong when he spoke of not being a good Father. He was always warm and loving as I was growing up and I could not have wished for more. And, even though I had a nanny, he was always there for me. We always shared our meals together, and he always helped me with lessons and encouraged me in whatever project I was currently involved. But he seldom spoke of my Mother. It was always so painful for him.
“I knew in my heart I would never be able to just keep you locked up here in this big empty house, and I was not without great anxiety when you first went to school, when you first entered the Academy, and even when you first entered into your own practice. And, I must confess I was most unhappy and distressed when you became involved with Hendak and moved in with him.” He paused and shook his head slowly. “But you must understand, dearest Daughter, this is different. You are asking me to willingly and lovingly relinquish you, my only child, to your own family, complete with a husband, and now a child. Letting go of my treasured little girl is not an easy thing for me to do.”
“But, Father, you don’t have to let go. You are not losing me, you are gaining back a small part that left you so long ago. You will always have me. You will always be my Father and I will always love you and cherish you. But now, we will be just a bigger family. It won’t be just you and me. It will be you, me, Hendak, and all the children we will have. That just means there will be more laughter in this house and more children for you to love. Is that so bad?”
“No, Daughter, that is all good. But I must confess that I am afraid.” I had never heard my Father admit fear.
“Father, what is there to be afraid of?” I asked, somewhat in surprise.
“I…I fear for your safety as you bear this child. We did not know of any risk to your Mother prior to your birth and her unexpected death because of the unforeseen complications was, was devastating. The physicians and healers simply said it was not to be predicted. I.. I just don’t know what I would do if I lost you, too, Glory.” He squeezed my hands and his voice was anguished. “I would not recover, of this I am sure.”
“You are not going to lose me, Father. Remember, I have your constitution.” I tried to reassure him. “And, I am perfectly healthy, as is Hendak. There is no reason to believe this will not proceed as it should. You must not worry about this, I promise you, Father.”
“That is what they said about your Mother,” he replied and his sadness deepened and tinged with anger. “This is all HIS fault. Had you not become involved with that ex-slave and fallen in love with him, this would not be happening.”
"Father, you taught me that we don’t choose love, it chooses us. I could no more keep from loving him than the sun can stop shining tomorrow. And, lashing out at Hendak is not going to accomplish anything. It is not his fault anymore than it is my fault, or your fault. If is just life unfolding. And as you taught me, it must be embraced, or it will pass me by.” I was trying to reassure this hurting man with his own words, but it was difficult to argue against a memory of abject loss. He sat motionless for a moment then nodded.
“Would you...would you consider you and Hendak coming to live here until the child arrives?” he asked softly. “Or even longer if you so desired?”
“Father, you’re not trying to manipulate me, are you?” I asked, instantly wary of his motives.
“No, dear Daughter,” he shook his head. “It would give me great peace of mind knowing you were here. Perhaps...perhaps in some small way I could help in attending to your needs. And at the risk of offending you, I cannot help but think this is a better environment than the Copper Coronet for the interim for you and after our little one arrives. Would you please consider it, Glory?” He did not wait for me to answer.
“ I could have the suite in the east wing renovated for you and include a nursery. Surely that would be more comfortable for you, Hendak, and our new little one. And I would promise you that you would have all the privacy you would want and need. I…I would not interfere. And..and if you two decided the arrangement was uncomfortable for any reason, I would not try to stop you from returning to the Coronet.”
Father had actually succeeded in surprising me. It had never crossed my mind to move back to the great house. From a practical point of view, it was actually not a bad idea, all things considered, but I didn’t know if Hendak would be agreeable. I did not want him to even remotely feel intimidated or uncomfortable.
“Father, your offer is very generous, but this is something I must discuss with Hendak,” I said, “and it is a decision we will make jointly. But, Father, your attitude and behavior toward Hendak must change if you wish us to be here. He is a good man, Father, and he is going to be my husband and the father of your grandchild. He deserves your consideration and respect just as you deserve his. If for no other reason, for my sake and our child’s sake.”
Father nodded in agreement. “I thank you, Daughter, and I will respect your wishes in this matter,” and he offered a faint smile. “And, Daughter, I will try to be more cordial to Hendak. I know I have not always been terribly civilized to him and I admit it is much to my shame. Your dear Mother would have cast a ‘silence’ spell on me long before this had she witnessed some of my more boorish and childish outbursts.” He paused. “It..it’s not that I harbor animosity for him in particular, it is just that I have wanted only the very best for you. I just never believed he was it.” He hung his head. “But, it is now inevitable and I must respond to the reality. You have my word that I will curb my tongue and do what I can to promote a more harmonious relationship.”
“Thank you, Father. And, please know he is the best for me. You might even grow to like him, Father, if you would give him a chance. He is a good man.” I tugged gently on his short beard. As a child, I would do this to get him to agree with me by making him nod his head. He smiled remembering those many times so many years ago.
Hendak appeared at the door tray in hand. “I trust everyone would like a cup of tea?” he smiled.
“Hendak,” Father motioned. “Please come and join us. We have party plans to discuss. Time grows short.” Although I didn’t expect his attitude transformation to happen overnight, I sensed he was starting it now, just as he promised.
Hendak sat down and we began to discuss the plans. Father always surprised me with how creative he could be. My engagement party was to be nothing less than a costume ball.
“Yes, Glory, I know a costume ball is not traditional, but there are all ‘sorts’ on the guest list and I just thought it would be particularly festive. Just imagine – Gregorio the shape shifter. You remember him. He can assume any number of animals.” He thought a moment. “Er, though I guess that is not necessarily a good example.” He said scratching his whiskered chin.
“Father, a costume ball is fine. It will add a little diversity considering we are going to have the reception here a week later,” I said.
“And, Hendak? Do you agree?” My Father was asking him his opinion. I thought I was hearing things.
“Yes, Tabor. It is a wonderful idea,” Hendak smiled and nodded.
I knew this was not easy for Father. But I could be assured he would make a very concerted effort. I would have to give some devoted thought to addressing his fear of loss. It would have to be dispelled through my own reassurances that I wasn’t leaving this plane anytime soon. I also needed to constantly remind him that his family of ‘one’ was going to grow precipitously and almost immediately. Once we got past the birth, the fear would be totally abated and he could relax and enjoy his new expanded role.
“It’s another carriage ride, my love,” Hendak smiled as we were leaving for the Coronet.
“Maybe we should just take the short way home, my love. I think after today I just need to get home and into bed.” I kissed his cheek. Any other time I would have taken him up on his offer.
‘What a wonderful father he will be,’ I thought. ‘What a wonderful husband he will be.’
I awoke feeling totally refreshed and invigorated. Hendak was sitting by me on the side of the bed.
“You are so beautiful when you sleep, my love,” he said and brushed the hair from my cheek. He leaned over and kissed my forehead. “And, I have breakfast for you, complete with potion.” The food actually smelled very good and I was ravenous.
We sat in the middle of the bed sharing from the tray.
“Hendak,” I said as I stuffed the last of the berries into my mouth. “How would you feel if I asked you to consider us moving to Father’s just until after the babies are born? We would have the east wing and our own privacy, of course.” I didn’t know how else to ask him but point blank. He looked at me for a long time as he debated the issue in his own mind.
“I know it would make you happy, my love, and it might make things better for Tabor, as well. I know he has missed you terribly since you moved here with me. After all, you are all he has.” His sensitivity to my Father’s feelings did not surprise me. Regardless of the insults he had endured at my Father’s hands over the past three years, Hendak seemed to always understand the real reasons behind his behavior. “And since Bernard is here after hours, there is no reason we should not,” and with that this wonderful man agreed to move into his future father-in-law’s house. He was doing this for me, and I did love this man so very much for it!
“Father said he will completely refurbish the east wing and outfit it with a nursery,” I repeated. “And, he has given his word not to interfere in any way. He is fearful he will lose me the way he lost Mother and –“
“You do not need to convince me,” he smiled and put his fingers to my lips. “I understand how he feels and why. If it begins to be a problem for us, we will simply return here, or buy our own house.” He smiled and shrugged. “And, as long as I have privacy with my wife that I may perform my husbandly duties, I am not particularly concerned with much else.” And he laughed at his own over-simplification of the matter.
We discussed it further and dependent upon when Father could complete the renovations, we decided to move after the brief honeymoon we had scheduled. I had to admit that I would feel more secure being in my childhood home as the time for birthing neared.
We had spent so much time talking and planning, the sun slipped up and over the east bedchamber window.
“What time is it, Hendak?” I suddenly remembered I had agreed to meet Riona at my office in the early afternoon.
“It’s almost noon,” he replied. “Were you not meeting Riona soon? Wedding things?”
“Yes, and if I don’t hurry, I will be late!”
“While you are doing that, my love, I will go and visit Tabor again,” he said. He immediately sensed my anxiety. “Not to worry, but this visit of man-to-man is long overdue and it is my obligation to go and speak with him about marrying his daughter. It is the right thing to do.” He sensed my unspoken question. “Do not worry, the subject of “Mother” will not be discussed. I will leave that to you, my darling.” He squeezed my hands and put my mind at ease.
I sprang from bed and hurriedly dressed. I noticed my dress already slightly tighter around the waist. In another month I wouldn’t have a waist.
“Oh, Hendak, do you think you could find some dried cloudberries and maybe some dried applidots from someplace? I just have this terrible craving….Oh, and some sardines, and maybe some of Cook’s pudding to go with them for tonight??”
“Oh, Glory, am I going to have to watch you eat all of this? I might have to borrow some of your potion for myself.” He grimaced and sighed.
Another beautiful day and a lovely walk to the Promenade. I barely arrived before Riona. Charona had been busy all morning rescheduling patients for the next month. She had also summoned my dressmaker for later in the afternoon.
“How are you feeling today?” Riona asked upon her arrival.
“Wonderful, thanks to Anomen’s elixir. Maybe he should produce it and sell it to the Mart next door.” I was perfectly serious.
“Good. And things went well with your Father?”
“Better than I had hoped,” I replied and told her what had happened.
“And how is Anomen,” I asked turning the conversation to a more professional concern.
“He’s digesting what occurred yesterday and is grappling with it all internally. I am sure you will hear more at your session tomorrow. But for now, and with me, he has said very little,” she smiled but the concern was very evident on her face.
“Do not worry, Riona,” I patted her hand. “He has survived the initial shock, now he must assimilate what he has learned. That cannot be done overnight. It will take time and I will be here to help him. But eventually it will be you who will help him through this.”
“I just hope that I am up to the challenge,” she said. “He is still so guilt-ridden over the death of Saerk’s daughter. It concerns me greatly. Some of his moods are darker than midnight.” She shook her head.
“I know you are concerned, but Anomen loves you, and his feelings for you and his loyalty to you are the greatest motivators in his life. It will take time to mend the damage from his childhood and free him of his false beliefs about himself. Finding the truth – the real truth – about himself has only just begun. He is going to be forced to re-define himself and I have implicit faith in you and your instincts that you can, and will, help him sort through this. No, it will not be easy, but always let him know you are there for him and that you believe in him, no matter what.” I paused. “And, don’t forget, I am here for you, too, if and when you need me. This will be as difficult for you as it is for him, but it is going to have to be a concerted, joint effort if he is to succeed.”
“I know you are right, Glory. I just needed to hear you say it.” Her face lightened.
Our attention returned to the wedding plans as my dressmaker stood at the door with a most puzzled look on her face.
“Jershua, this is my friend, Riona. Riona, this is my longtime friend Jershua. Jershua has always made sure I have been appropriately dressed by the talent of her expert needle.”
“Oh, Madam Glory, you embarrass me,” Jershua blushed. “You are very easy to sew for.”
“Well, Jershua, up to now. But things have taken a turn and we must make some changes.” I told her very briefly of the change in plans.
“But, Madam, the silks won’t be ready,” she protested mildly.
“Yes, I know, Jershua, but we will just have to find what we need here from whatever stock is available. It is unavoidable. And, we will have to modify the style slightly to do away with the fitted waist. Maybe a less defined line from the breast-line down.” Oh, the hell with it, I thought. I might just as well tell her the truth.
“Jershua, I’m pregnant and in two ten-days I am going to look as though I swallowed a small melon. We need to accommodate my stomach.” There, I said it.
“Oh, Madam! I am so happy for you!” she bubbled. “Of course, we can disguise the little ‘melon’ problem! It will only take a few minor alterations to the original design. I feel positively inspired,” she said and sat down to re-sketch the dress in record time.
She stood up, her face flushed and showed me the drawing. It was magnificent.
“Madam,” she began terribly flustered, “I do not know from whence this drawing came, although it was my hand that drew it. And I do not know from whence I will procure the many pearls and rare silks that are included in it, but it is the most beautiful dress I have ever seen. As the Gods are my witness, it was not I who did this!”
I looked at Riona. She looked at me. ‘Waukeen.’
“Not to worry, Jershua. I know where we can procure the materials. You go back to your shop and await my messenger and they will be delivered to you. Your rendering is exquisite and it will be perfect. Now we must do a dress for Riona as well. And whatever you include, I am sure the materials will arrive with the other bundle.” I didn’t think Waukeen would be one to do anything half-measure, and Jershua sat down and just as quickly drew an equally exquisite design for Riona.
“Do you need to measure?” Riona asked.
“No, Madam Riona. I know what needs to be done,” slowly replied Jersua. “I do not know how I know, but I know….” She packed her sketchbook and shaking her head slowly from side to side, she left, far more baffled and perplexed than when she arrived.
“What can I say,” I shrugged to Riona. “It’s all beautiful and it is exactly what I would have picked myself. Who am I to argue?” She nodded in agreement. I just didn’t know if Waukeen was trying to help out, or take over. That would have to be later determined.
There was not much else to be done and the day was fading. So was my energy, and I suddenly found myself ravenous. I bid Riona goodbye and invited Anomen and her for the evening meal two nights hence as I knew Hendak would enjoy seeing them again. Charona had already left and I fed Ki and locked up to go home.
Hendak and I had dinner in our suite. As he put it, the other patrons might find it quite objectionable to watch me gulping down sardines and pudding.
“And did you see Father today?” I asked as I stuffed my mouth with the delectable little fish followed by spoon after spoon of pudding.
Hendak turned his head so not to watch me engage in this feeding frenzy. “Yes, I did, and it went extremely well. I told him we agreed to move to the house with him and we, very civilly I might add, worked out some simple ground rules. We even got so far as finalizing the working plans for the renovation of the east wing. The laborers will arrive tomorrow to begin the transformation.” He was pleased with himself and the ‘peace’ he felt he had negotiated.
“And your man-to-man chat – that went well, also?” I asked.
“Yes. I explained that I was not here to take away his daughter, but I was here to marry the woman I loved who also loved me. That we were going to be parents and I wanted him to be a part of our family. I explained that I did not have a family for most of my own life – and never had a grandfather or a grandmother. And, I did not want our children to be deprived of his presence. I told him you needed him very much, that we needed him, and that our children would need him.”
“And did he understand you?”
“ I believe he did.”
I nodded. I was proud of Hendak. I reached over and tousled his hair forgetting my fingers were saturated with oil from the tiny fish. He shook his head and gave me a rather disgusted look. “Oops! Sorry, love,” I giggled, my mouth half full with the last little odiferous morsel.
“Oh,” he said as he rubbed a half a lemon in his hair, “and, if you have no objection, we will be moving into the house next ten-day. Two days before the engagement party. The work will be done by then and I thought it would be better for you now rather than after the honeymoon. And I would kiss you right now, but I don’t think I could stand it.” He chuckled.
“That is perfectly fine, the moving part. As for the kiss, I would be expecting too much,” I smiled. The idea of moving in early made me very happy. The idea that a peace between my Father and my future husband had been struck, made me even happier.
TO BE CONTINUED……
The Angst and The Analyst IX (Part I)
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