A DAY TO REMEMBER
(Leia's telling the story.)
It's a pretty morning here on Coruscant. It's still quiet; soon, sentients and non sentients all over the planet will be rising, making breakfast, grabbing kafs, racing to work and school. Our kids will be awake soon and the mad dash to assemble schoolwork, clothing, shoes, and supplies will burst on to the scene with a screech.
I feel very emotional today. It's an anniversary of sorts. Namely, the tenth anniversary since Grand Moff Tarkin gave the order to destroy my home planet of Alderaan. I hope he's enjoying his eternity in the bowels of the nine hells. Yes, I'm still angry about it, but more than anything, I'm deeply saddened. This is always a hard day.
I think about my father, where he was that day, what he might have been doing. I suspect he was working, talking to colleagues, joking with friends, filling his mixing bowl sized mug with kaf, worrying about me silently. And it occurs to me how much he would have loved being a grandfather. He would have had so much fun with his grandchildren. He would have cherished them. It saddens me that he will never know them, nor them he.
I've never told Han how I feel about this date. I'm usually far too busy to allow myself a few minutes of wallowing in self pity, and as for remembering dates, there's a reason I programmed birthdays, holidays and anniversaries into Han's datapad. All come with sufficient lead time. That way, he has no excuses. (To be fair, I think he has our anniversary memorized. I think this is because we usually go to a tropical location that involves little activity outside of the dance of the ancients.)
He does know how much I miss my home planet. It was a beautiful place, prosperous, peaceful, and with seasons that flowed into each other effortlessly. I would have loved to have Han and I live there after we were married, close by my father, having our children there.
Coruscant is nice, although the climate is more sharply demarcated. We have long, very hot summers with lots of sunshine and winters that are short but wet, windy and icy. There's no gradual warming in spring or cooling in autumn; Coruscant simply doesn't have those seasons. It's largely desert. What is truly amazing is that out of that desert sprang homes, businesses, institutions of higher learning, symphonies, tavernas and cantinas, brothels, industries, all the elements that societies create. Moisture farmers coax every bit of water they can from the dry ground, and thus, what could have been every bit as inhospitable as Tatooine is a thriving environment. I've heard Luke describe his life on Tatooine. I'm grateful I was sent to live with the Viceroy and his wife, even if it meant that my three crazy aunts were in cahoots to push me to the brink of insanity.
Time in the New Republic is measured around the Battle of Yavin. It's either BBY or ABY. But for me, it will always be Before Alderaan and After Alderaan.
I don't talk about it even with fellow Alderaanians. Everyone has his or her own way of dealing with grief, and I respect that with my silence.
My reverie is interrupted by the sound of Han's chrono going off. Time to face the day, I tell myself. I'd love to sit and be miserable but we've got three kids to pack up, breakfast to be made, hair to be styled..._________________________________________________
I receive word from Najia that Mon Mothma is out today. At first I reacted by thinking I'd get some actual work done, but she handed me Mon's schedule and I blanched. No time for self pity today.
I wonder if Mon Mothma feels as I do about this day. She and I have an uneasy relationship. There's no love lost between us, but our hyperactive gossip mill claims she lost someone she loved in battle. I know that she lost many friends. I know the feeling, trust me.
I don't know what I would have done had Han been lost to the war. Thinking about this reminds me of how close I came to losing him at Bespin, and I shudder. If she did lose the love of her life, she most assuredly has my sympathy.
It's probably a good thing that my day is as full as it is. I'll go to bed later tonight, totally exhausted, and then I'll get up tomorrow and realize life goes on.___________________________________________________________________
It's late when I get home. I'd warned Han early on that he and Chewie were going to have to be in charge. Han took is as he usually does, which is to say well. One of the things I cherish about him is that he's a practical person and has a way of rising to the task at hand. He'll grumble sometimes, but he'll do it, and do it well.
The house is eerily quiet when I enter. "Han?" I call out. I turn the corner and realize the dining table has two long burning tapers lit. There are two place settings, and the smell of my favorite soup from my childhood is simmering on the stove. I can smell fresh bread heating. There's a bottle of Emera wine on the table.
I feel the tears well up in my eyes. How did he know?
"Hey sweetheart," he said, emerging from the 'fresher. "Welcome home. Let's have some dinner." He takes my hand and leads me to my chair.
"Where are the kids?"
"With Chewie. He'll give 'em back in the morning." Han smiles at me. "Long day, eh?"
"Since I was doing the work of two people and I'm only one, there are a lot of loose ends."
"Don't worry about it," he says, pulling out my chair for me. "Work gets done when it gets done. In the meantime, the galaxy is not likely to crumble from it."
"All right, here goes. Your favorite soup from Alderaan." He serves it up and I inhale the fragrance of tomo-spice and catabar. He then brings the bread to the table, redolent of boontaspice. And then the Emera wine.
I look up at him. "How...did you know?"
"Did I know what?"
"That it's the date Alderaan was destroyed."
He shrugged. "Well, it was the day we met. And Alderaan was exploding as I was coming up on it. You're always sad on this day, which is why I didn't do it sooner, but I figured, ten years. You lost your home ten years ago, and while it may not be the happiest thing to commemorate, but I like to think that it was one of the best days of my life." He grins at me. "Okay, that's stretching it some. I did NOT enjoy the trash compactor."
I laugh in spite of myself. Of course that was the day I met him.
"So, I got you something." He hands me a reasonably sized box, and I open it up to find a vase, clear glass with t'iil flowers embedded within it. I gasp. It's incredibly beautiful -- and old.
"You didn't think I was just going to Nenmo's to buy guitars, did you?" he asks, his tone playful.
"Actually, yes," I admitted, but I'm laughing.
"He had a case of Emera wine. I bought that."
"I don't think we should drink it all tonight," I joke with him.
"And something else." He hands me yet another box. "Sorry about not wrapping. Nenmo's doesn't gift wrap and, well, okay, I just don't like wrapping."
I open it up, and inside is my favorite perfume, and the container is the one I remember my mother having. I feel my eyes tearing up.
"Thank you," I say to him. I'm speechless.
"There's always good and bad mixed together."
I laugh. "If that isn't the truth." I breathe in the perfume's ladalum fragrance, one of the most cherished on Alderaan.
"I ordered some plants of ladalum and t'iil and allute, but Lando's handling that, so of course they're late." I laugh. When it comes to Lando, he likes to say he's always late but worth the wait. And, for the most part, he keeps his word.
I've never said a word about this to Han before, about this date. And yet, he knew. He gave me space to grieve.
A part of me will always grieve for Alderaan. But now I have something to celebrate on this day.
The day I met Han Solo.