I had begun work on my final, most important book. “The Mermaid Sisters of Oasis Springs” was completely fictional – as far as everyone else was concerned. Me and Milan knew the truth, and I was very excited to see it hit the shelves and people’s reactions to it. Writing it felt right, and for the first time since I had decided to become a writer I knew that I was doing the idea in my head justice.
However, just like with every other book I had written to date I needed breaks every now and again. Lilliana had a lot of energy, so on my days off I took her to the park where she loved playing and even made some new friends. I wasn’t happy with her talking to just about everyone, but I explained the dangers to her and believed that she understood what I was trying to tell her. She had a lot of fun playing away from home for a change, and I enjoyed being outside. With all the stress from work I hadn’t considered it so far, but now I was wondering if it might be worth investing in a garden. I had a large financial safety net tucked away and knew that we could afford it easily, as well as re-decorate the house and Lilliana’s room once she was a teenager. Which was still a few years away, for which I was very grateful. She was growing up too quickly as it was.
My little girl was doing well at school. She wasn’t an A* pupil and often needed reminding that she still had her homework to do, but she wasn’t doing badly and had earned a very proud B thanks to all her work. I knew if she didn’t love chatting with her friends and playing around on her monkey bars as much as she did she could easily have gotten an A, but I was also happy to see her get on well with the other kids in her class and to see her apply herself this much to a hobby. I knew that some of the other parents weren’t satisfied until their children were top of the class, but I was happy for Lilliana to be a child and have fun while she could.
I had explained to her why she didn’t have a daddy, like most of the other kids in her year. I hadn’t told her everything – she was too young to be told that the fate of the universe depended on her – but I had told her that her Daddy didn’t know about her, and that I had thought it best to let him move on to Monte Vista with his wife. That I had wanted to tell him but that I had felt that it would have been unfair to tell him something that would undoubtedly have made him stay, when he seemed so happy with the direction his life had taken. Lilliana had nodded, saying that she understood but I wasn’t sure how happy she really was with my explanation. She never asked me whether she could meet him, or whether I could try calling him for her. She simply seemed happy to know why she hadn’t met him, and why he wasn’t living with us now.
The day I sent my final book off to my publisher I felt… strange. Like I was watching my every movement through someone else’s eyes. To finally have written it and to be sending it off seemed unreal to me. I had worked my whole life for this, and now, finally, I had achieved everything I had ever wanted. Nearly, anyway. I did still want to be at the very peak of my career, and I knew that I wasn’t far off, but to have come this far felt amazing nonetheless.
I felt old. A lot had happened since I had left my parents’ houseboat and had made the long journey here! I had written a book of incredible importance to myself, I had a daughter who was bright and clever and who was going to grow into a beautiful young woman. I hadn’t known love as most other people knew it, but I had a child who I had a very good relationship with. In a way, I had known love better than some other people knew it, even though I wasn’t married. I had liked Malcolm, and maybe I could have fallen in love with him if Milan hadn’t interfered when he had. I had been angry at the time, but now I was glad that he had done it when he had done it. If I had actually fallen in love with Malcolm… Everything would have been so much more difficult.
And then one day Milan paid me a visit with unexpected news.
He explained it all so well. Like it was everyday, common information, and I supposed that to him – to someone who had studied what he had studied for this long – it really was.
“It has enjoyed watching you, Morrigan. Trust me, they don’t offer something like this easily, to anyone! This is a rare opportunity!”
I had no idea what to say. I was still partly bewildered by how easily I believed him! “But what about you? Shouldn’t you be the one the spirit offers this to?”
“I’ll already live for as long as the spirit wants to keep me as a host. You won’t. I know you’re unsure about this, but please think about it. You could watch Lilliana fuflill her destiny, and her child do the same. And your great-grandchild.” He made it sound so easy. Was it? What he was offering me… A potion that would allow me to live forever. A potion that would set my age to the very beginning of being an adult. Surely this was a dream come true?
“I don’t know, Milan. Do we have the right to accept something like this?” If my simple existence was a danger, how would immortality compare?
“As I said, they don’t offer this option lightly to anyone. The spirit inhabiting me may sees this as mere entertainment, but there are others who know what this means for the future. They know what you have made possible. This is their way of rewarding you.”
“Will Lilliana…?” My unfinished question hang heavily in the air. The look which entered his face told me all I had to know before he said the words out loud.
“No. I’m sorry, but again, this is a rare opportunity. If they gave every future child born into your family the same potion we would have a lot of immortal people walking the earth. The universe won’t overlook an insult as big as this.” I nodded, understanding what he meant.
“I’ll think about it.” I didn’t tell him that at the moment, my answer was no.
I also didn’t tell him that I was very tempted to accept every time I held my baby in my arms. One day she would die, and I hoped with all my heart that it would be because of old age, after a long, happy life. All humans faced that fate sooner or later. It wasn’t right for me to cheat all of them by prolonging my own life for selfish reasons. But if I did accept… I would be there with her, during her final moments on this earth. One last time I would be able to comfort her and be her mother. I’d be able to watch her child, my grandchild, grow up and change the world in ways I couldn’t see yet. And then I’d be able to see my grandchild’s child do the same. I’d be able to watch my family grow and strive, until one day we’d arrive at that beautiful future Milan had spoken off. We would be able to reach it together.
Most days, those thoughts were too heavy for me. It was only one decision, but it felt like it was all too much to take in, so most of the time I did my best to distract myself.
Now that my book was finished and I had achieved my dream, I had a lot of free time to fill. I had never played a lot of video games – my parent’s didn’t own a TV on the houseboat, and I hadn’t bought any for myself either – but once I had tried it it was easy to lose myself and forget the rest of the world. So much so that on more than once occasion I left a little late for work, stunned and shocked to see that I’d be late if I didn’t leave immediately.
Lilliana still loved her Monkey Bars, and spent a great deal of her free time on them. Some of the moves she pulled had me worried sick for her safety, but she was so flexible and fast that she hardly ever injured herself any more. Her last scraped knee had been a few years back, and she seemed to enjoy the challenge of coming up with new, heart-stopping moves which kept me on my toes.
She also still adored her doll house which Alisha had bought for her. I knew she tried to be one of the cool kids in her year, but when she thought that no one was watching she’d go into her room and play-pretend with her dollies. I was grateful to still have that childish aspect of her and was secretly hoping that she’d never grow out of it.
Oddly enough, she also liked to help me tidy up. Unprompted. She gladly washed up or took out the rubbish, without needing as much as one word from me. Grateful as I was for the extra help I couldn’t help hut wonder if she was up to something, or if she was trying to make up for something I hadn’t discovered yet.
Thanks to her help I was able to focus more on work, and then one day it was time.
I received my final promotion.
I had officially achieved everything I had worked for since before moving to Oasis Springs.
Now the only choice I still had to make was whether to take that potion Milan had offered or not.
Note: So this is it! Morrigan has achieved the end of her Aspiration and the top of her career! She is officially finished, and Lilliana will take over 🙂 The next chapter will be 2.1 ^^ They both have five or six days left in my game before their birthdays (if Morrigan ages up 😉 ) so I will do another update between the generations with info on Lilliana 🙂