"Home isn't where you're from, it's where you find light when all grows dark." —Pierce Brown, Golden Son
It is a feeling that has become all too familiar. It starts as a lump in her throat before it grows in size as it threatens to suffocate and spillover and break free. The feeling spreads down her chest and across her shoulders, filling them with a sad but frenetic and tense energy. Her shoulders stiffen, her brows furrow, and she desperately clenches her eyes shut as if doing so would end all of this.
It is sadness. It is anger. It is grief.
In their sessions, her therapist tells her to focus. To listen to her body as she feels different emotions, to observe how she reacts, from whether she starts to fold into herself to how she curls her fingers or she nervously bounces her right leg up and down. The way her body responds as she travels through difficult experiences is telling, he explains, and as they talk about the events of last summer, he asks what she feels currently.
"A lump in my throat," she answers. She is fighting back tears, though she does not know why she wants to cry; just that she wants to do so instinctively and it takes a fair amount of energy and concentration for her to stop catch herself. Unfortunately, however, she also has to talk to the guy with the glasses in front of her, because that's what she pays him a hundred and fifty bucks an hour to do.
"Tell me about that lump. What does it look like? What is it shaped like?" he prods.
She sighs and closes her eyes for a moment. This question again. She can never get over how hokey it sounds or how astounded she is when she leaves and realizes the profundity of the process she has just endured. Every. Time. "Oval. Like an egg."
He nods and gives her another prompt and she wonders if he ever tires of this. "Does that egg have a color?"
"Kind of yellow-ish," she mumbles, and then continues before he can ask her yet another question. She knows what comes next. "It's soft on the outside, like I can poke it, but I can only go so far before I meet resistance."
He nods again as he scribbles his notes onto the yellow legal pad. He looks up one more time, this time with a small smile on his face. "That," he begins. "Is your grief. And this is you living with grief."
Grief walks through life alongside the bearer. Grief never truly goes away but instead ebbs and flows like the tide, with even the smallest change in weather patterns and gravitational shifts having a big impact. Even the smallest reminder of Krypton is all that it takes to throw her off. Kara is used to this, however, and she prefers this to becoming all-consumed with grief. She has drowned in those waters before, sinking lower and lower before fighting the current and finally breaking through to the surface. That is grief that can end her, she knows, and so she accepts its current role as an uninvited but necessary travel companion through this walk of life.
It has been bubbling up for months, since her arrival. In an attempt to make sense out of displacement, she has approached this seventh, eighth, ninth, nth chance as an opportunity to make things right. To do better and be better where she had faltered before. To learn from past mistakes and wrongdoings and move forward with new momentum and grace. And when she learned that she had family around in this world, hope burned brighter that this time, she could get it right.
But as months go by, her friends go through many changes of her own and Boston sees trauma like no other. The world continues to burn. She knows that he is there just as much as he knows that she is there, but they cross paths so rarely and the hope that burned brightly not too long ago has diminished.
It is two o'clock in the morning and she hugs her knees to her chest as she sits on the couch, burying her face in the canyon of limbs as if to hide from the world like a child playing hide and seek. If you can't see them, then they can't see you. If only it were actually that simple. The television is on but the lights are off and the images on screen project their reflection onto the rest of the room, dancing, colorful characters set to a laugh track.
Maybe her hope and optimism are misguided. She hasn't seen him. He hasn't seen her. He hasn't even asked about her, and her attempts to engage and suggest a better relationship seem to fall on deaf ears. Maybe it doesn't matter, she thinks. Maybe none of it matters. What she had seen as a chance to right things and hit reset didn't seem to resonate with him in the way that she had thought it would.
She had tried. She could have tried harder, she knows this. But all relationships are two-way streets she thinks that he could have tried harder, as well. But instead, they went about their own lives, continuing their individual existences without thought for the other cousin.
"It shouldn't take a crisis for cousins to visit each other," he had once told her. She believed him; she trusted him. But that was in another world, and then all of this happened, and everything she had once known was no more and she was starting from scratch.
She sits as the television show comes to an end and another episode begins. She does not pay attention to the screen in front of her but rather loses herself in her thoughts. She knows that as she continues to grieve for her parents and her lost planet, the day will come that she will have to grieve for him as well.