A distant night bird mocks the sun
. I wake, as I have always done,
To freshly scented sycamore,
And cold, bare feet on hardwood floor.
My steaming coffee warms my face.
I’m disappointed in the taste.
But there’s a peace the early brings,
The morning world of growing things.
I feel the moments hurry on.
It was today, it’s died away,
And now it is forever gone.
And I will drink my coffee slow.
And I will watch my shadow grow,
And disappear in firelight.
And sleep alone again tonight.
Two days had passed since she’d returned to Coruscant—four days early. The strange, screeching call of some type of bird told Andriya that her brother had lied—he had taken on another pet. This one wouldn’t last at all, though. It was far too noisy to be allowed in the Temple. She would have to talk to Myndex about this.
Myndex knew his sister would find his bird sooner or later, but had been hoping for later. Hoping and scheming, to be precise. For example, he’d been sure to find a few very fragrant potted plants to keep throughout Andriya’s offices and rooms, as well as the children’s playroom and bedrooms. He didn’t care if it annoyed his sister—green was not her favorite color . . . or maybe it was . . . Myndex had never checked to see if she had one.
Andriya stumbled into the kitchen and looked at him. She was not used to waking up before the Coruscant sun and didn’t look too happy about it.
“Does your wife know you’re here?” she asked.
“Don’t bring her up, for the Force’s sake, it’s just a bird.”
“You can’t keep it here. Maybe she’ll keep it for you.”
“She could hardly stand me around.”
“Like I said, maybe she’ll keep it for you.” Andriya sighed. It was too early to lecture Myndex on the evils of his marriage right now. Besides, he was certainly familiar with those.
He handed her a warm drink. “So you’re back early,” he stated.
Andriya nodded, then held her face over the cup he’d handed her. She inhaled the warm, rising steam. It was a pleasant change from the cold, refiltered air circulating in her apartments. The taste, however, was . . . lacking. Glancing around, she wondered if any of the frivolous, decorative plants Myndex had seen fit to scatter around her home and office would appreciate the drink, but decided they might like it even less than she did.
“Why are you back so soon?”
“The person who was helping me with the Nursery—Obi-Wan Kenobi.”
“That doesn’t tell me much.”
“His Padawan ran away.”
“So you left the Padawan on Alderaan? You really are harsh.”
“His Padawan was here. He was supposed to be studying under Master Yoda while we took the Nursery on their little excursion.”
“Oh, I see. You didn’t tell me you had help on this mission.”
“You,” Myndex said, beaming triumphantly, “have fallen in love.”
“Now, Myndi, I may look like I’ve fallen down a flight of stairs or something similar, but that’s all.”
“You can’t fool me, Andi, we have the exact . . . same . . . parents,” he said, dramatically emphasizing the last three words.
Andriya looked up, pretending to be alarmed. “That would make us . . . cousins?”
“Yes, yes, cousins. . . . No, wait. That makes us—.”
“Brother and sister,” they finished together.
“Anyway, Andi, you like this Obi-Wan guy, don’t you?”
She shrugged. “He seemed nice.”
“Birds are nice, Andi. Personally, I’m glad you’re finally taking a little interest in men.”
“So I can end up like you, little brother? Estranged from my spouse and dreaming of divorce?”
“I met this Obi-Wan,” Myndex continued, ignoring her pejorative remark. “He seems like an okay guy. But isn’t he a little bit older than you?”
“I wouldn’t know.”
“Ten years older than you?”
“If you’ve done the math, I’ll take your word for it.”
“Andi, you have to pick up your life sometime. I know you’re on the Jedi Council, but you’re still a person. You’re still an individual.”
“No, I’m a group,” she said sarcastically. “Drop it, Myndi. It doesn’t matter how old either one of us is, he’s in a distant star system right now and I have my life right here.”
“So live it sometime.”
Andriya set the now-tepid drink down and headed back to her bedroom. “Get rid of that filthy bird, Myndex!” she called over her shoulder.
As soon as she sensed her brother’s departure, Andriya relaxed. “Really, that boy can be so bothersome. It’s not a wonder his wife . . . whatever her name is—won’t keep him around. He shouldn’t have married her, though. Myndex is reckless. He’ll never amount to anything if he’s not more careful.”
“Amount to anything?” she asked herself slowly. “What about you? Sure, you’ve made the Council—beyond your wildest dreams. But isn’t there something more? You’re young yet. Twenty-two is plenty green enough. And you still look like you’re twenty, just like your father did—listen to yourself! Myndex and his plants have gotten to you!
“But what if he’s right? Life is running away without you.
“Even if he was right, my future couldn’t possibly be with Obi-Wan. He’s ten years older than me. . . . And even if he wasn’t, he’s half a galaxy away right now. My chance has slipped through my fingers like so much sand. I had a prime opportunity in the park—I’m such an idiot! How could I let that get away?” She glanced over at her unmade bed. It was a double bed, which she regarded as an unnecessary comfort. Then again, Andriya realized, many Jedi before her had been married. One day, perhaps, she’d join their ranks. “No,” she said, shaking her head. “I don’t foresee that happening. Not ever in this Temple.” Saddened by the insight the Force had given her, Andriya quietly made the bed and tidied up the room.
“Master Andriya?” ventured a voice accompanied by a knock at the door. Andriya didn’t recognize the voice, but she sensed it was her new assistant, Halsten Tuurku. So far, her first few weeks—or had it been days?—on the Council had been full of little perks like that one.
“The children are awake.”
“Thank you. Go get them breakfast.”
“When is my first meeting today?”
“Nine hundred hours.”
That only gave her an hour to entertain the “Jedi Nursery” before meeting with the Council. Life really did seem to by racing past her. Andriya’s thoughts fled to that night, when she’d be able to sleep again. Alone, she thought bitterly. As always.