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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 11 page 05

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“You need to be putting your affairs in order, not traipsing across outer space,” the doctor grumbled.

“Your bedside manner sucks! My affairs are in order, thank you. All that remains is to pick the date. Let’s arrange the termination now, shall we?”

She packed her bags, engaged the laser locks on her home unit, and summoned a shuttle to take her to the space station where Colin lived and worked. He had met his bride there on a work detail. They were both engineers, they fell in love, the rest was history.

Colin had grown from an awkward, lonely boy into a strong, capable man. He had been working at the station for a few years now and Annie had never stopped missing him. She had hoped he would find a good person to partner with and even dreamed of having the requisite one grandchild but her time had run out. With Termination Day scheduled for the following month, she steeled herself for the inevitable. She chose to concentrate on the fact that she would soon be seeing Colin and Marin and she would dance at their wedding. That was enough.

Moments after her landing Colin drove up in a runabout. Already her eyes were brimming with tears.

“What’s this now?” he murmured. “C’mon, mum, no crying allowed till the ceremony.” He hugged her tight and her heart ached with the unbearable feeling of love. She knew she should have told him of her condition some time ago but the timing was never right. First his engagement and now the wedding. It was too late to bring it up. He was so content and excited, she would not spoil that for anything.

After the wedding celebration was over, she held her son’s face in her old and wrinkled hands. “You go enjoy your life now with Marin,” she said. “She is really beautiful and you both look so happy. Me on the other hand, I’m getting so old and tired. I need to get back home and rest after all this dancing and partying. But I want to say a few things to you before I leave.”

“Oh mum, stop. You’re only tired ’cause you couldn’t pass up a dance or the champagne. You still look beautiful to me and you have many good years ahead of you!” he laughed. “And I shouldn’t say anything, but...” — he brought his mouth to her ear, — “You didn’t hear this from me but if you still remember how to knit, you might want to consider some little booties. Blue, I’m hoping! We kind of jumped the gun a bit but we’re all legal now so don’t go all 21st-century on me.”

“Colin, you couldn’t have given me a better gift! I have had the most wonderful life and the best part was caring for you. You have given me more happiness than I dreamt possible. But promise me one thing, if you ever have the chance to be of help or give a kindness to another being, human or otherwise, do not hesitate to extend a hand or a smile. It just might be the start of something wonderful. You and I have been blessed but everywhere on Earth, there are people suffering, homeless, in exile, in need of a friend.”

“Of course, I will. You have taught me well,” he said, his eyes wet.

“Go now and grab your bride before she changes her mind!”

Three weeks later, Annie was sitting at the termination centre as the robodoc placed the desist pulse to her heart. She closed her eyes. Her last vision was young Colin trying to eat his chocolate ice cream before it melted in the hot Spanish sun.